This is the Photo 365 project, which involves a taking a photo every day. Each photo could be representative of that day, something interesting, or just a photo to meet the requirement of the project.
Posted at 2012 October 17 12:00 am
A pre-meeting social was scheduled today in the morning, so I thought I’d go there without breakfast to take advantage of the food. I got near the auditorium and didn’t see any food, so I went back to my cubicle and made some instant oatmeal. Then everyone started heading to the auditorium, so I followed. Once I got inside the auditorium, I saw the food was in the back. Rats! So, I ate the fruit, yogurt, granola bar that was actually more like warm bread, and orange juice in addition to my oatmeal. This was a full breakfast.
Later in the day, my project turned pretty much into a nightmare because since the requirements basically changed, a bunch of other parts needed to be added to enable these features, and many problems arose because of this. At the end of the day, I decided to worry about them tomorrow and Friday. But, tomorrow I’ll be going to Seattle University to recruit new people for the Advanced Engineering Program. I’m really excited because recruiting looks fun. Now I’m on the other side of the table heh heh.
The soccer game today against Salt Lake City was pretty cool. We had really good seats in the family and friends section of Century Link Field. The final score was 0-0, and the game wasn’t extremely exciting, but still good.
Here I am, the last day of Photo 365. I’m sure many people who embark on this project give up, but I didn’t. It’s indeed a great project that surely will step up anyone’s photography because with effort comes improvement. I got more out of the project than photography, as I’d mentioned on Day 365, so I won’t repeat myself. What could I have done better though? Try harder still. There have been many days that I could have put in more effort to compose a photo, but this is a lot to ask because there were a whole lot of things going on in my life. It’s going to be a bit weird not writing journals and uploading every day, but it’s going to be a welcome relief. This was a very rewarding project, and surely I will do it again during a transition year. I recommend everyone to try out a Photo 365, for those of you reading this. Anybody reading this?
Of course. How could I forget you crickets?
Posted at 2012 October 16 12:00 am
I came home and plopped down onto the bed. Soccer today didn’t happen because I was tired. At the end of the workday, I told myself to go and run when I got home, but clearly I was lacking motivation. I called a friend to see if she could convince me to run, but the call went straight to voicemail, so I went straight to bed.
Today was supposed to be the last day of my project, but I didn’t take a photo. It wouldn’t have been that interesting, and I didn’t want to end this Photo 365 project on this note. So, I’ll end it tomorrow, since I’m going to a soccer game tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 October 15 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 October 14 12:00 am
I was going to buy tickets to the IMAX showing of “Skyfall” on November 9, but the tickets are sold out! I was super angry at myself for not buying earlier. Ugh! I guess I’ll just have to see then non-IMAX version with commoners. Man, I didn’t anticipate that movie being so…highly anticipated.
Most of my day today was making photo books. Shutterfly has a half-off deal, and new members get 50 free prints. I got 3 books and 45 prints for $57.47. They aren’t making much money off of me. Well, they actually probably are, but definitely not as much as if things were regular price. This project has been in my queue for a while, and I’m glad to get this done.
Today is the first day of Seattle Restaurant Week. I went to eat at Maximilien at Pike Place Market, and it was delicious. We didn’t get a good view though, but that’s ok because it was super cloudy. And, I was perfectly fine without the bright neon ferris wheel in my field of view. It would have probably been annoying. This photo is a pretty common one, I suspect, because it’s so easy to take. I think some people have found better ways to compose the front of Pike Place Market (I didn’t put in very much effort).
Posted at 2012 October 13 12:00 am
Simply hung out at a friend’s new apartment. We played with his cat and then played Uno. Tired as heck after coming home and messing with photo organization. Didn’t bother to compose a photo. Good night.
Posted at 2012 October 12 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 October 11 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 October 10 12:00 am
One of my mentors is in town today, and after work, we went to have a beer. But, it was actually eating. I expected to have a quick drink and be done with it, but since nobody else was able to come along, I was the only one with my mentor and consequently had to entertain him. My phone was in my coat pocket, and I didn’t feel it vibrate, which made me miss an important call. There was one call I did hear, but since my mentor was a talking about his personal life and sort of in a more serious moment, I didn’t take that call so that I don’t interrupt impolitely and seem insensitive. It turns out that my mentor had trouble finding a wife several years ago and was talking about how he even went to a marriage counselor to talk about it, even though he wasn’t even getting married. Even though he’s the head of product development, and even though it seemed to me that he’s been living a very happy life, this is not the case. People higher up have their own problems. As we get older, our lives get inevitably more complicated and filled with more responsibilities, so for now, I shall savor the relative simplicity and happiness I have in my life.
Posted at 2012 October 09 12:00 am
After work, I went to return a book, but then I ended up reading it at the library and renewed it instead. It’s called “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”, which is about how the product development approach that companies and start-ups use is wrong. Well, actually it’s saying the product development approach alone would be seriously flawed and needs customer development in addition to it.
Posted at 2012 October 08 12:00 am
The scuba diving photos came back, and they aren’t good. First, the quality sucks because the film sucks. I have a feeling that the film’s very old. Additionally, the composition is bad because the camera’s viewfinder isn’t aligned correctly to accurately reflect what will be captured.
I’m kind of down on motivation. Just slightly. This super messy desk is partly to blame. I’ll clean it later this week, since I don’t think I have a busy week. Friday I’m going to play basketball at UW’s IMA though (if I can get my cousin’s ID). A friend wants me to go clubbing (yet again), but I’d rather play basketball.
In other odd news, I have, yet again, this ridiculously long nose hair. I think my cells are mutating, you know, like when cancer cells mutated and then start wildly producing more of itself. My nose hair cell is now wildly producing more hair, consequently bugging the crap out of me. Yet, I haven’t cut it… It’s a good thing only one hair is doing this. Empathy for those out there who have a lot of nose hair.
The writing quality is low too. It’s all so choppy and unrelated.
Posted at 2012 October 07 12:00 am
Yellow Aster Butte is an amazing place to visit during Autumn. It’s a slope that’s not to difficult, and it’s only from the trailhead to the junction where the trail splits and goes different places. From then on, it’s pretty much flat, until the part to ascend to the butte. That was steep. The view at the top, although good, is not amazing. The views along the way were the best because as I walked past the shrubbery, the leaves glowed red and orange, bright, simply magical. This is because I walked in the direction of the sun. When looking back, the leaves were dusty and not brilliant.
I didn’t expect it, but my friend brought his friend’s dad, who’s probably in his 50s. Surprisingly, it was he who waited for us at the top because we went exploring and got stuck. Well, actually my friend went exploring and got stuck. We originally went to a cave like area where a large sheet of ice met the mountain, and he climbed up on the mountain after he got out instead of coming back down. He said it would be hard to get back down. So, he said to meet him on the other side, but after I gathered all his and my stuff and took forever to get down from the slippery snow, he called my phone. He was stuck, so he had to find a way down, and I waited for him.
Posted at 2012 October 06 12:00 am
This is my adventure pack. I use it whenever I do stuff like travel or hike. Tomorrow I’m hiking Yellow Aster Butte.
I had a discussion today about traveling. Prior to that, I was with friends planning a trip to Japan. This trip to Japan was hatched quite a long time ago, although now it’s not a destination high up on my list. Developed countries should be lower on the list because exploring these countries even older people can do. When young, we should be having adventures in wilder places, places older people won’t have the motivation nor energy to fully experience, places older people will even fear of going. Fear, I say, because as people age they become more resistant to change, less willing to explore and do adventurous things.
Additionally, as people age, they get more stuck up. They want 5 star hotels, luxury this, luxury that, and this clouds the view of reality because this is not what the people there actually live like. It would be ideal to be able to speak and live like the average person in the place you’re traveling in just for a while, for this is the way to really see how life there is like. If we always lived in 5 star hotels and had luxury this, luxury that, how would that be different than what we already see in the United States? How then could we have a better understanding of the world?
Young people have more humility, in large due to the fact that they have been used to modest living, modest food, modest everything. Even more reason then to explore less-developed countries when young.
Anyway, I’ve talked enough about traveling. I still haven’t complained about how all I did today was firefighting (TVPad installation & trouble, MATLAB installation, hike selection, etc.), but it’s time to get some rest for tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 October 05 12:00 am
Damn it. I forgot to take a photo after coming home from the PNK, which bumps the last Photo 365 day to 35.
After work, I had dinner with an EE friend who is going to move to San Francisco to work at a start-up. After that, I had some free time before meeting with two other friends at the club, so I visited different couple of friends. They (she) tried to get me to read essays, but I didn’t do it. Unfortunately, it’s unescapable because she going to email them.
The club outing was meant for my one friend to learn how to get girls. Actually, the other friend is an expert, and his purpose was to get girls for himself, not just to help. Helping was on the side. I’ll refer to this friend as OPP. As OPP was talking to me about how there wasn’t a big turnout tonight, we saw my friend taking a photo for a couple girls. He then left, like a nice guy. Just did his job and left. OPP went over and then told him what a prime opportunity that was, and he put his palm to his face in disappointment. We started dancing, and I eventually helped us join a group of girls. But, as I tried many, many times to push my friend in and dance with the girls, he didn’t go in. Eventually, he suggested to leave and go eat, so we did that. OPP, of course, didn’t want to leave, as I could clearly tell, but came along for the sake of friendship.
Posted at 2012 October 04 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 October 03 12:00 am
At work, I finally understood what the professor 3 years ago was trying to say. He was like, “Op-amps are useful because they have high input impedance and low output impedance.” At that time, I was like, “Lol wutever.” It totally makes sense now that I see the application. I won’t go into detail because it would get technical, but now that I think about it, the concepts in the first 3 EE classes were more important than the later ones. The math I forget, but the concepts and intuition is what remains and is important.
Nothing much went on at home. Shot hoops for like 15 minutes then got tired of my crappy ball.
Posted at 2012 October 02 12:00 am
I listen to KPLU, and it just struck me that Miles Davis gets a lot of playtime, which led me to think, “Are we stuck?” Of course, I’m talking about progress of jazz that’s listenable, for there is a lot of development in the avant-garde jazz that is appreciable mostly by artists and musicians. Undoubtedly, musicians still write new hard bop, bebop, cool jazz, and other flavors that are still listenable, but I still think that the stars of today are greatly overshadowed by the giants of the past. I donated money to KPLU. I remember last year I said that once I earned money, I’d donate, so I did it today.
The best thing during work today is scoring my first goal in soccer. Finally I rid myself of intern status (in my eyes). When I was an intern, I wanted to score a goal and never could, but today, I got it. It was from a give and go, and I nailed a hard one through the goal. Felt great. I’m a full time employee now.
At home, my time was mostly consumed by revising an essay for a friend who is applying to medical school. Especially for application essays, I take time to consider the nuances of wording as well as the major things like content. The good thing is that I don’t get bugged by having to read essays because it’s not very difficult for me. What does sort of bother me is that I feel a bit of responsibility in the feedback. When I give it back to the person with the revisions, I feel like I’ve said, “Fix these problems, and the essay’s great,” even though I don’t actually say it. Of course, some people I can trust that they know revising is an ongoing process, but not everyone who asks me to revise thinks this.
Posted at 2012 October 01 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 September 30 12:00 am
I ate lunch with basically strangers (a friend’s friend(s)). My friend knew the girl, and the girl brought her husband. She’s working in Bellevue, and the husband works in California. He wants to move up here, of course, so I’m to help refer him to Fluke. From a very preliminary probe, which is all I really need because I’m not the one interviewing him, it seems he’s a fit for the positions open at Fluke. I’d be happy if he got a job at Fluke, since I can imagine it would be painful to be so separated from his wife. Oh, I’d also get a referral bonus, but that’s not a very big driving force for me. I can see that reason in that study on income and happiness. The extra thousand some dollars won’t make me a lot happier than I am right now. Although I’m not past that limit of $75k a year, I can really understand how raises past that don’t particularly make one happier, especially given that more responsibility comes with that raise.
After playing tennis today, I picked blackberries. After picking blackberries, I poured water out of a bottle near a tree to wash off my fingers. Getting into the car, I noticed it was really stinky, so I checked my shoes, and lo and behold, I’d stepped in poop. It was in that tree area where I washed my fingers. I had to wash my shoes as well as the car mat in the tub. Gross.
Posted at 2012 September 29 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 September 28 12:00 am
I was an average person today. Came home from work and did average person things. I watched a couple Youtube videos, went on Facebook, chatted with my brother who came back from his first week of college. I’me not sure if I like this though.
I’ve created a fake landscape here in this photo. I don’t know if I like this. Since there’s doubt, it must mean I’m probably leaning toward dislike. It’s definitely a departure from my typical photography.
Posted at 2012 September 27 12:00 am
Due to exhaustion of ideas, I’ve decided to experiment with lo-fi photography. Because lo-fi really takes out details, the shapes and figures are more important than ever. Although I haven’t found any particularly interesting shapes yet, I believe I can seek out some more interesting shapes.
I ordered my iCamera today, and it’s expected to come in on 10/26. So, I’ll be a caveman for another month.
Posted at 2012 September 26 12:00 am
Rough day at work today because I was really tired from the get-go. There were a lot of questions I asked my mentor, and I learned a lot of stuff. The hardware knowledge I’m accumulating is helping me build confidence as an EE, although after this project, there is a high probability that I’ll be on software due to the sheer number of projects requiring software work0. Even ping pong at the end of the day didn’t wake me up, and after I got home, I took a nap. I only got stage 1 or 2 sleep, so it wasn’t a good rest at all.
Out of sheer lack of motivation to do anything productive, I went onto Facebook to see what videos people posted, and a Singaporean friend chatted with me. It was great to be able to chat with this person I met on my travels, since we’re far apart. I think I ought to use Facebook more often to chat people up. We’ll see how that goes : P
Posted at 2012 September 25 12:00 am
Bland day. Played soccer today and had some good shots that didn’t make it in. Played a bit of tennis as well after work. Even though I ate a full dinner, I still felt really hungry and could probably eat 150% normal capacity.
A friend emailed me a few articles today, and the most interesting one to me was the article titled “How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us” on the lack of transparency of hospitals and the health care industry. The journalist gave examples of what the lack of transparency has produced as well as what happened in some hospitals that addressed that problem. The problem that the article exposes is something worth fixing (sounds like a possibility for a business venture), but the problem is how to get into the field. I have this hunch that hospitals are reluctant to change, especially with adding systems that are so much more involved.
Posted at 2012 September 24 12:00 am
When I twisted the final piece into my friend’s headphone cable, the connector wouldn’t twist in, so I had to cut the end piece correctly. I then discovered the heatshrink was intrusive, so I cut that, which resulted in fraying the outer sleeving as well as breaking some solder joints. So, I cut the cable and basically re-did that end. After finishing it and having everything fit, I went to test the cable. The right channel didn’t work. Testing revealed that two holes in the connector were connected, and this shorting was causing the right channel to not have sound. Since the connector’s bad, I have to order another one, prolonging this project, and I hate when projects are prolonged.
So, there went all of my personal time. At work I expected to get a bunch of stuff done in the morning, but next year’s AEP manager came over and discussed recruiting for 2 hours, so my morning was shot. There was some breakthrough in my project though of how to connect parts in the schematic. My mentor answered questions I had from datasheets.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
Posted at 2012 September 23 12:00 am
Going back home from tennis, I saw a gigantic red ball that is the sun in my rearview mirror. After getting home, I immediately went to get my camera and drove to the elementary school that’s about 2 minutes away. On the way, I saw the sun as big, round, and red as ever. By the time I stopped, got out of the car and walked about 50 meters away, the sun was already setting. The photo didn’t turn out well neither. Furthermore, the sun’s redness isn’t accurately captured probably because it’s out of the camera’s spectrum.
I didn’t do much today, just organized photos, went to a friend’s place to pick up clothing (Nike store order), and played tennis. I’m content with the clothing. They were very cheap, as it was clearance + her employee discount. The running shirt was indeed thinner than my original one, as I expected. It’s still ok though. The “golf shirt” was ok as well, not good, not bad. I’m very happy with the hoodie though. I wish I bought more of the old running shirt, same with my sandals. I think I’m the kind of person who gets stuck on things he likes, although I’m not the kind who resists change.
I looked up what the consequence of getting reported on the HOV hotline is, and it turns out that if you are reported, you will be sent an educational packet about HOV lanes. So, my effort 2 days ago was rather useless.
Posted at 2012 September 22 12:00 am
The insect was still there when I woke up, and then I forgot to kill it. My day today involved mostly making a headphone cable. I expected to take 30 minutes to do it, but it ended up being like an hour and a half because the individual wires inside were too small for my wire stripper. I stripped them all very carefully. My friends came and hung out. After we all ate at our respective homes, we reconvened at my house and sat in the living room, not knowing what to do. This is the typical indecision we face. We decide best when we are outside in the cold. One friend wanted to get something to drink, so we ended up going to Central Market. Getting out the front door, my friend noticed the moon was orange, so I brought out my tripod and took the photo. I composed the shot with trees, but they don’t show up.
More and more of my friends become unavailable to hang out, and this is the sad reality as everyone becomes adults. I hate being an adult. There’s this small stack of mail about managing my benefits, health coverage, and other adult crap that I don’t want to deal with.
Posted at 2012 September 21 12:00 am
After work, I went to see a ballet called Cinderella. On the way there, I encountered traffic and looked longingly at the HOV (carpool) lane every time I was stuck. I noticed that there were single passenger vehicles zipping by. This is not right. Seeing the sign with the hotline to report violators, I called in. After knowing what information they want, I took down the license numbers, car models and makes, times, and locations of 4 of these assholes and reported them on the hotline. I don’t know how the punishment works though.
Anyway, I met up with other people at Bellevue Square and carpooled to Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. The person who drove had a Scion FR-S, and all 4 people were very, very cramped. That coupe was NOT meant for 4 people, even if it had 4 seats. The main dancer playing Cinderella was good. The kids were cute, as their small forms danced imperfectly and missed formations. The prince didn’t do much dancing; he only got the part because he was tall.
I took a photo of this insect before I slept.
Posted at 2012 September 20 12:00 am
I was at work for almost 11 hours today, holy shit. The part that put me overtime was actually helping an intern out. After his report out presentation, I went and finished up odds and ends with my mentor for about an hour, and then talked to the intern. He wanted to know about finding a full time job, how different it is, and just general advice on industry. This is why I talked to him for about an hour and a half. It was nearly seven when I left the office. I did a good deal of helping today because at home, I helped a friend find an autosaved version of an important file by having her remote access to her work computer and then using join.me to gain control and find that file.
There was an awesome, awesome sunset I saw in my rear view mirror as I drove home from work, but I didn’t have my camera and wasn’t in a good position to stop and watch it. A beautiful sunset, but it means there’s a quite a bit of pollution to cause this redness. I wonder if it’s from the wildfire. It’s also been curious that the past two days had fog in the morning.
Posted at 2012 September 19 12:00 am
Training was boring today, and I started actual work during the teaching. I also slacked off a lot because the training was really broken up. When I don’t have blocks of time to work, I can’t get any real work done. I had to tune in once every 5 or 10 minutes. Good thing there’s only a half day of it tomorrow. At home, I ran 2 miles at a leisurely pace because I haven’t run in a long time. I didn’t want to strain or hurt anything. The muscles and joints weaken faster than the breathing organs and the heart. So, I’m going to build those back up before going harder. Running is much more enjoyable at a leisurely pace, so perhaps I was going too hard every time in the past.
This is my new notebook, a souvenir from the Galleries Lafayette in Paris, France. It’s Lego inspired, which is very cool and matches my watch. I wish it was just blank instead of a calendar, but it’s still cool and useful.
Posted at 2012 September 18 12:00 am
Sunrise in Washington is definitely not as good as up in the mountains or on the sea. Today there was the reddish orange light from sunrise, and I took a photo of its color. Apparently, the camera cannot accurately capture the color. There’s even a ring around my shadow.
But of course, this won’t be an issue with an iCamera 5, which I’ll be getting fairly soon. You know, I don’t even know why people use those big clunky, black, ugly cameras. They’re so hard to use! There are these dials that make numbers go up and down, and I don’t even know what these numbers do. My picture still looks the same. It also says ISO and a number next to it, and I think the company must be stupid. They must have been trying to copy Apple but misspelled iOS. Idiots. And they forgot to load iOS on the camera too. The numbers on the screen can get big too, so big, like 6400, that I can’t even count to that number! I once sat down and counted to 1000, and then I stopped because it would have been so hard to get to 2000. I don’t like numbers. Companies should just make things simple and use short words, maybe even shorten words. Like G, everyone knows it’s Gatorade, duh. And Nat Geo, everyone knows it’s National Geographic, duh. It’s not one bit confusing to non-English speakers. Furthermore, those ugly big cameras only have a 3.5 inch screens, and the iCamera has a 4 inch screen – with Retina Display (don’t know what that is, but I know it’s good because Apple told me it’s good)! We all know bigger is better – this is America. A final thing about the iCamera is that it’s super convenient. If I decide I want to take professional photos, all I have to do is open up Instagram and take pictures. If I’m feeling casual, I just open up the regular camera to take some casual photos. It’s that easy to switch back and forth between being a professional and being a casual photographer.
Anyway, today was Cadence training at work. It’s the schematic and PCB layout software that I have to know how to use in order to finish my project. I discovered that the software is antiquated and has big usability issues. The people giving the training don’t normally do this, so the training was of low quality. One guy says, “Ok, show them how to do X,” and then the guy up front just whizzes by and gets it done without explaining. This left everyone confused about what things he pressed. I had to keep asking what he did.
Posted at 2012 September 17 12:00 am
Work sucked today, since I had to go through 2 weeks worth of emails and go through compliance stuff. The compliance stuff is basically company policy, such as policy on bribery, trade secrets, company values, etc. It’s all common sense, but they make you go through this interactive web application that they very apparently spent a lot of money and time to make. At the end of it, there are 10 question quizzes that you need to answer correctly. If you select a wrong answer, you can answer the question again. Since these were multiple choice questions, I clicked through all the material to get to the quizzes. Coming home, I receive 3 new voice mail, 2 of them from last week. I had phone service yesterday, so I don’t know why it took so long to deliver these voicemails. I ended up talking to friends for a whole bunch, and at night, I updated this Photo 365.
Posted at 2012 September 16 12:00 am
Finally, the cruise is done, and this is what I think about cruises: do them when you’re old and have little taste, little motivation, and want to eat average food that’s presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. Otherwise, you’re better off flying to a country you’ve never been to before and exploring. Cruising isn’t a good thing to do with kids neither because they can get fat off the unlimited junk they serve in buffets.
At the airport, I checked my email and basically did other firefighting type stuff. Oh, this airport had very thorough security checking, as they scanned bags, patted me, and checked for harmful substances on my stuff by swabbing and testing. It might be because the security line was short, in fact, the shortest I’ve ever seen. The service people here are in general more friendly too, and I suspect it’s because it’s not very busy at this airport.
On the plane, they were blasting air conditioning, and it looked pretty cool, as fog poured out of the holes by the windows. My camera didn’t catch it very well though, and I couldn’t capture video because my battery was low. I chatted with a woman on this ride to Houston. We talked about food and nutrition, which is something I’m sort of interested in. I kind of want to explore hydroponics so that I can grow my own vegetables. The woman was flying to Houston to interview for a position in United Airlines and wanted this position for the perks. She’s 50 and hasn’t been out of the country, which makes me thankful that I’ve been to many places and am in my early twenties. Haha, she also told me about how she had she helped lift a 715 pound fat person into the ambulance that she drove. They had to take out the ambulance bed, put the guy on a tarp, and lift him into the ambulance where he lay on the floor. This story stemmed from nutrition and obesity talk we were having.
For the last leg of the journey, I had about 10 minutes of layover time at Houston, which was efficient. The plane I rode in was a new 747, and it was pretty nice. Nice interior looks, screens for everybody (but you have to pay to use them to watch stuff), power outlets under the seats, which don’t provide power, and larger stow compartments.
Posted at 2012 September 15 12:00 am
Being a day at sea, there’s not much to do. I saw ice carving, which was not that cool; the person carved a native American head. I also went to the total body conditioning class at 6:00 p.m. instead of going to dinner, and it turns out it was just a 15 minute thing. After warming up, jogging in place and stretching, the whole “class” was how many sets of 3 specified exercises I could do. Each set contained 10 burpees, 10 squats, and 10 push ups. The burpees were the most time consuming and toughest, and they were the ones that wore me out. After 10 minutes where I was able to fit in 8 sets of these, I was really tired. I went back to my cabin and lay down, which was a big mistake. I felt miserable because blood rushed to my head, and I ended up taking a quick nap, which resulted in further miserableness. This has been the most exhausted I’ve felt in recent times. I’d rather play basketball or run. Run! Yes, I’d rather run, and I hate running. Anyway, this shows how out of shape I am.
At night, I saw the stars from the back of the ship, and it was like what I saw in the desert in Bolivia. Although, it wasn’t so awe-inspiring because there was the sound of the water being churned up by the motor, the exhaust that sounded like a factor, and a bunch of lights around the back of the ship, forcing me to cup my face to see the stars. So, the mood was quite lacking. I couldn’t get any sharp photos due to the rumbling of the ship, which vibratesd the camera mounted on my tripod. I had some nice time alone at the back of the ship though.
Posted at 2012 September 14 12:00 am
Scuba diving was the event today, and it was awesome! The instructors (2 instructors and 7 people total) first told us about equalizing pressure in our bodies and about the different parts of the scuba vest. Afterward, we put everything on in the small pool and learned how to clear our masks underwater, clear our respirator mouthpiece (forgot what it’s called), and equalize ear pressure. This training wasn’t a breeze, especially the mask clearing part. Water still got into my eyes. During the ear equalization, I understood at the last minute what it was supposed to feel like. It would have been bad if I didn’t really know how to equalize pressure when I got into the sea. After the training, we walked out of the pool, and the gear is pretty heavy. Along with the weight belt, I had about 40 lbs of gear on. Because we had a small group, we did the real scuba jump into the water instead of walking down ladders. My cousin flopped ungracefully into the water hahaha. Once I adjusted a bit, I was comfortable scuba diving. The hardest part is the breathing and minding everything associated with that because I had to not exhale too much or the bubbles sort of get into the mask, blow out my nose once in a while to get the water out of the mask, remember to not breath through the nose at all because there’s always water there, and hold onto the breathing thingy firmly with my lips so that water doesn’t get in. At the very beginning, I sort of forgot to exhale (noob).
The fish, coral, plants, etc. underwater was really cool. These ocean fish are really pretty. The whole experience was amazing because it’s another world down there. I don’t think I’m cut out for more scuba diving because I think I’m still sort of tense and rather fearful that water will get into my eyes, freak me out, inhale water, press the inflate vest button, shoot up and out of the water and get hurt. It’s a very cool experience to have though. The instructor pointed out a Moray eel near urchins we saw, but I don’t think I saw it. She said later that she’s only seen these eels twice out of a couple hundred times she’s been out in this area. I took a photo with the waterproof film camera I bought, but I don’t know how that will come out. Hopefully all the underwater photos come out nicely. I’ll have to scan them though to have them in digital form.
Posted at 2012 September 13 12:00 am
It’s a relaxing day today, as we played on the beach of Mahogany Bay. I don’t really like water, so I didn’t jump in to play. The bathrooms of a restaurant on the beach had doors marked “Mon” and “Womon”. I forgot to get a photo of that, but I thought that was funny. After the beach, we went souvenir shopping. My cousin wants to buy stuff for his coworkers, and my parents want to buy stuff for a couple friends. In the gift shop, I saw stuffed frogs in sexual positions, which I thought was funny, since souvenir stores should be family friendly. I didn’t bother finding presents for friends, since there wasn’t anything particularly good in these Caribbean areas. The good stuff is exotic wood, but it’s way to expensive. There was good stuff in Italy, but it was super expensive. I wanted to bring home cheese and salami, but I didn’t have enough room.
At night, my mom, dad, brother, and I took photos with the pros. They told us how to stand, which is a hint to me that if I’m to step my game up in the portrait photography space, I’ll have to learn modeling. We’ll see how much time I have to read about modeling people. The pros were using Nikon D300Ss with Tamron 17-50 lenses. I have a hunch that they cheaped out on the lens, but it’s not a big deal at all since all they’re doing is shooting staged portraits.
The last thing I did tonight was go to a show. It was a band playing and people dancing. What I was really interested in was what the guy on the sound board was doing. I was actually going to leave the show but decided to stay so that I could talk to the guy. He was constantly twisting and sliding things on the board during the show, and I was extremely curious what all of that was. We talked a bit (more like he talked a whole bunch to me) and he told me to stop by tomorrow night so he can explain more.
Posted at 2012 September 12 12:00 am
Since I missed a few days and didn’t take photos, today is the first makeup day of 34.
It was a 7 hour shore excursion today to Xunantunich, a Mayan ruin in Belize. We bussed 2 hours, and then rode a shitty ferry across a creek, rode a van up a hill, and then walked not very far to the ruins. I want to comment on the ferry; it was a big wood shack sort of thing attached to a cable that connected the two sides of the river. A person cranked a wheel, and the ferry rode along the cable. Despite being government built, it was shitty. They could have just built a bridge. Anyway, the tour was good, since the guide explained some facts about Belize in addition to the ruins. Belize is a very poor developing country. The government takes a lot of taxes, and most of the money nobody except the government knows where it’s spent. Its main industry is agriculture, and people don’t get paid much, about $90 USD a month. People who have money drive cars, otherwise, bicycle is the poor man’s vehicle. Schools are all private, run by churches. The students have uniforms, and kids 5-16 are required by law to go to school, which is not free. Most houses have metal bars over the windows, probably because it’s not that safe of a country, which would be even worse than the countries I visited in South America. The national language here is English, since Belize is part of the British Commonwealth, but most people speak broken English. Everyone knows Creole though.
Posted at 2012 September 11 12:00 am
It’s been a year since I started doing this project, and although it started as a project to improve my photography, it evolved into something more and better – a diary of my thoughts and documentation of whatever that happened each day. I’ve realized that writing my thoughts down each day makes me aware of what I’m doing with my life, and I also think more. This introspection…I don’t know how to explain it, but I believe it’s helped me grow into a slightly better person. Moreover, I’ve realized how much I’ve done in one year – trekked around in third world countries, hiked and saw world-class sights, biked down one of the most dangerous roads in the world, paraglided, got head-hunted (recruiting) for jobs, made my first mobile app, designed and printed my first photo book, gave sad goodbyes to old friends, met new friends and amazing people along my travels, fell in love, ran out of gas while driving, scuba dived, and I’m sure there are some things I missed. It’s only been a year, and I’ve done what many people don’t have an opportunity to do in their lifetimes. Granted, this year is a transition year for me, and transition years are bound to be full of surprises. Many times, life goes by so fast that we don’t cherish all that we have and all that we’ve done, so sometimes, it’s good to take a little time, just a little, to ponder and reminisce. But, don’t get stuck on it because we look to the future in order to grow ; )
Well, that’s my extra bit for the sake of it being a year since I started this project. Who wants to hear about my day today?
I’ll talk about it anyway.
We woke up today at 6:30 a.m. to see the sunrise. It was supposed to be at 7:00, but because there were a lot of clouds, we could not see the sun rise from the horizon. About 10 minutes later though, the bright red sun emerged from the clouds. It’s a very nice color, a color that cannot be accurately captured by a camera.
The shore excursion was decent today. We went kayaking and snorkeling in Chankanaab, a national park in Cozumel, Mexico. The kayak was more like a canoe, not the slim closed-top ones I’m used to seeing. Kayaking wasn’t that good; we just went along the beach for a while and saw some fish underneath, since the kayak was clear. Snorkeling was pretty cool though. It’s my first time and seeing the fish up close was awesome. Snorkeling is pretty easy and something you don’t need to book a tour for. I had to get used to it at first, since I don’t really like getting my head wet. Before I got used to snorkeling, I was a bit tense, flipping my flippers hard, biting the mouthpiece hard, breathing fast, but I adjusted. First, I adjusted to having the life jacket help me float; I noticed that flipping my flippers hard and trying to wade water was rather unnecessary. Next, I breathed slowly. Inhale, exhale. If I snorkel in the future, I’ll just bring my own gear and find good places to snorkel.
As I went back to the ship, my parents walked around gift shops to find souvenirs for some friends, and I followed them. This is when I really noticed how touristy the place was. There were restaurants with half English half Spanish names like Three Amigos, stores selling idiotic frat boy shirts that say “I partied in Cozumel” in the front (big capital block letters that take up the whole front, which is popular these days), as well as fat tourist bitches dancing on the pole in one of the restaurants.
My brother asked me to go to a comedy show at night, and although I was tired, I went to see what it was about. The show sucked. The comedian made really corny jokes that people still laughed at. These people have such bad taste. An eye opener was when an old, overweight lady volunteer went up and did some very sexual gestures at this supposedly family-friendly show. Even though people laughed and cheered in good spirit, this woman should have had more respect for herself. One guy in front of me exclaimed that this woman was a pistol. I’ve never heard that before, but I suspect that the phrase means she’s gonna blow or is ready to blow, or something along those lines with a sexual innuendo. I should have skipped the comedy and slept.
It’s a long post today, but there wasn’t any death by boredom right?
Well, I don’t like crickets anyway.
Posted at 2012 September 10 12:00 am
I woke up at 9:30 today by my biological clock. I went up and out to the deck to have breakfast, an omelette, cantaloupe and honeydew melon chunks, banana, and milk. I sat on the side and enjoyed breakfast while admiring the vast ocean. The weather was warm and comfortable too. After eating, I went to the indoor eating area and wrote Photo 365 entries for a couple hours before going to eat lunch with my family.
After lunch, my family and I went up to play some putt putt golf for 2 hours. The wind was blowing constantly because the ship is sailing. I am reminded that I hate wind out of all weather. It gives me a headache. Straight rain is fine. Straight snow is fine. Add wind, everything is miserable. I had fun with my family though, a rare opportunity. It’s the reason I’m even on this cruise. I would much prefer to be exploring another country.
The sports on the ship suck. Basketball hoop is probably too low, and the hoop is bent down. It’s also outside on the top deck, so there’s wind (hate wind). Putt-putt golf is outside, so there’s wind. Table tennis is a piece of shit because the paddles are just a piece of plastic without any rubber on them; table has a plastic net.
It’s not like I have a whole lot of time neither, since I need to sort through all my photos and throw out the bad ones. I’m pretty sure things will be better tomorrow, since we’ll be able to get onto shore to do stuff.
Posted at 2012 September 09 12:00 am
After waking at 6 and eating – friend’s mom made some pork buns, which made me feel yet more indebted – we left at about 6:30 to the airport. I got to the gate at the time of boarding and saw my family there, as I expected.
At the beginning of the flight, the captain said we may have a delay in Tampa because of some thunderstorms, and I’m like sheeeeeeeeit. Fortunately, it probably wasn’t bad because we arrived according to schedule.
To board the cruise ship, we had to basically go through a security check, albeit less strict than the airport’s, so that was fine. As we ate lunch, my family members complained about how the food was worse than the food on our last cruise to Alaska. Of course. the Alaskan cruise we took was about double the price. As they compared apples to oranges, I ate and nodded, hiding my annoyance.
I noticed that most people on the ship are fat. It’s not a surprise though because this is the demographic that cruise ships attract. Free food all the time on a cruise ship. These people eat and eat, even if the food is not good. It’s why I don’t like going on cruises. Most of the people on the ship are pigs.
Let me complain a little about my room. The phone was broken, as I could not dial to the reception, guest services, room service, etc. The light switch was popped out of the socket as well. These were all fixed shortly after I found someone who’s in charge of the rooms, but I expected better from them. Tomorrow’s a day at sea. Sigh. A peculiar case of the Mondays.
Posted at 2012 September 08 12:00 am
The whole process of getting to the airport, going through security, and getting on the plane was smooth. They didn’t give me a stamp going through customs though, probably because I’m leaving from the same city I arrived in. I ate the two oranges I brought, and it turns out that one of them was a sicilian orange. Both were sweet, but the pulp was super bitter. I ate half of the sicilian orange before my tastebuds were saturated with bitterness, at which point I couldn’t handle anymore of these oranges.
Anyway, the problem came when the plane got close to Washington D.C. There was a thunderstorm, so we could not land in the Dulles International Airport. We circled a bit to see if the cloud would move out, but it didn’t. We then left to Baltimore, Maryland to get gas, as the plane was out of gas. About 10 minutes later, we headed back because the cloud started spreading to Baltimore, and we were forced to go to Norfolk, Virginia to get gas. In Norfolk, we waited 2 hours for fuel. They didn’t have customs there, so we were not allowed to get off the plane. Everyone stayed in the plane. I stood and watched people. There were people reading the news, playing dumb games on iPads, reading literotica (probably “50 Shades of Gray”) on Kindle, and taking care of their kids. There was a lot of activity on tablets, and not much on activity with real books.
Finally, the plane got the fuel, and we were off. It was about 7:30 p.m. when we landed, so of course I missed my 5:30 flight. Now it’s just a matter of when the next flight is. Wow, 8:30 – the next morning. Do I have to sleep here? I wanted to go to a customer service booth near my gate to ask, which meant I had to go to another terminal. In order to do that I had to go through security where they stopped me for having wine that I bought at the airport in Rome. I was then brought to some guy who checks bags and was asked whether I wanted to send it to the main terminal or send it to Tampa. Caught off guard, I told him to send it to the main terminal, since I would have more flexibility. I’d be able to get it again if they gave me a hotel, and if they didn’t give me a hotel, I could get it and still sleep here. After getting denied a hotel and denied the United Club entrance as compensation, I also found out that although I got my bag again, I could not check back into the gates, meaning I had to sleep in the main terminal. The guy who worked there said it’s perfectly safe, and people do it all the time here because there’s a lot of thunder storms that cause delays like this (lesson: avoid transfers at Dulles International Airport). I decided to give my friend a call, since she lives in D.C. She said she’d let me stay at her place, but I felt really bad because it’s quite a nuisance. I’d be bothering her parents and son as well. But, this is what friends are for. Time to claim some of the goodwill I’ve given.
She picked me up, and after an hour, we got back to her condo, where her mom made me some potstickers and edamame. It was great, since I was hungry. The shops at the main terminal were all closed, which was another reason I asked for my friend’s help. Now I feel even more indebted because her whole family provided hospitality and will have to be disturbed tomorrow because I have an 8:30 a.m. flight. I secretly took down her address from the pile of mail she has. I’ll try to find an EE mug that I got at graduation and send it to her. Might be hard to obtain. I don’t want to give her mine because I’m selfish and want it for myself : P
Posted at 2012 September 07 12:00 am
I only had a half day today, as I had to head back to Rome at 2 p.m. so that I can catch my plane tomorrow. Milan is famous for fashion, so I went with a friend to shop for souvenirs. I was looking for stuff for my mom and dad and had some leather goods in mind. The handmade leather goods store that was close to our hostel was on vacation until September 11. We walked around to other places, and along the way, I bought a pair of leather shoes. The outlet stores here are very different than in the US. They’re basically hole-in-the-wall stores that have a mix of discounted brand name stuff. It’s sort of like the Nordstrom Rack. After not finding anything in the two outlets that we visited, we just walked around and checked out the stores. Everything was expensive. In one store we visited, my friend looked at a handbag which later turned out to be a 25,000 Euro handbag. Holy crap.
Since I needed to catch my train, we headed back, visiting the tax free store along the way and getting lost doing it. We were trying to get money back for the shoes. It turns out that we need to do it at the airport. Again, I rushed to get on my train, needing a taxi to get to the train station on time. Cost me 12.50 Euro, damn it. I got to the train 5 minutes before it left, so that was good.
Arriving in Termini of Rome, I got lost trying to find my hostel. It was actually really close to Termini. The problem was that the Google directions I printed out didn’t have enough detail, and people I asked didn’t know the street, save for the information desk. After finding the hostel, I went looking for leather and got to a store at about the closing hour. I spent quite a bit of time there (got the store owner to be sort of disgruntled because he wanted to go home) because I vacillated between buying or not buying the handbag and wallet for my parents. The stuff there was expensive, as I spent 250 Euro on the handbag. I hope my mom likes it, for it’s the first handbag I’ve bought, I don’t have experience choosing handbags, and handbags are really a matter of personal preference.
So, mission accomplished. I went back to my hostel and conversed with a bunch of the room mates. I used one room mate’s iPad to find directions and prepare for leaving. Talking to people in the hostel is one of the cool things about traveling alone, and tonight gave me the fond feeling I had of my travels in South America. There’s a New Yorker going back to the US who had flight time pretty close to mine, so tomorrow, we’ll head out together. I’m glad I talked to him because I found out from him that I needed to buy a shuttle from the train station to the airport from the tobacco shop at the train station. It costs 14 Euro, which is exactly the cash I had. So, I didn’t buy dinner. I mooched off of the free (and limited) pizza they had tonight. They were doing a Friday night party. I only had 2 slices of pizza, but I think it ought to get me through the night.
Posted at 2012 September 06 12:00 am
We had an hour before the train left the station, but we left rushing there. We hopped into the taxi and told the driver that we needed catch the train. He took us through shortcuts to get us to the train station as fast as possible, but there was only a minute left before the train left. Since Sirmione is a small station, the train stops for only a minute before it heads to the next destination. We rushed to platform 1, only to discover we had to go to platform 2. Running up the stairs, I emerged in front of our train confused about which car to take for a second. I regret this second of confusion, for when I pressed the button to open the door of the nearest car from me, it did not respond. It then started moving. If we had only been here 30 seconds earlier. Next one was 2 hours later, so we headed down to the ticket office to change our train. Standing in line, I was angry, angry at how all of us took too much time at the hostel in the morning, angry at how I should have enforced time but didn’t, angry at how I hesitated when pressing the button to the train door.
We arrived in Milan in time for our tour right after dropping our stuff off at the hostel, although I would have liked having an extra two hours in Milan to plan more or just see the city. The bus tour we took was decent. They bussed us to the Scala Theater, a military place, and also to the museum where “The Last Supper” is preserved. I learned today at the military place that the symbol for Alfa Romeo cars are derived from one of the rich families of back then. “The Last Supper” was under appreciated by me. It’s one of the historical masterpieces, yet I know so little about it. It’s supposedly a masterpiece because it’s art that takes into consideration the reflections off plates and bowls, which is ahead of its time. It also alluded Da Vinci’s science experiments involving acoustics, optics, and anatomy too. I want to read more about “The Last Supper.”
After the tour, we asked the tour guide where we should eat, and he pointed us to a place foraperetivos, where you buy an alcoholic beverage and have stuff to eat on the side. You pay for the drink and get as much food to eat as you please. The food wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad. It was cold food like salad, egg things, cold pasta, bread, basically a bunch of cold appetizers. We got full off of that and then walked around, seeing Milan at night. This week is Fashion Week, so some stores have night time parties and events to promote it. There was a lot of people out, and all of them were dressed nicely. There are so many hotties around that it’s hard to just stare at one. One store had a pajama party that was packed, but unfortunately we couldn’t see any of the girls who were probably wearing sleepwear that probably would be skimpy (the place was packed and nobody felt particularly inclined to go in).
Posted at 2012 September 05 12:00 am
Thursday already; time is going by so fast :（ I’m now caught up with my posts though : D
For the first time, we didn’t rush to the train station at the last minute. In fact, the whole day was very leisurely and relaxing. Although not my style of vacationing, it was nice today in Sirmione. After we arrived and checked into our hostel (B&B), we went to eat and rent bikes. We biked to the peninsula of Sirmione, but at first, we got lost and arrived back at the place we rented the bikes. Once we went on the correct route and then arrived at the center of Sirmione, we went into the castle, which was not particularly good. Afterward, we took a stroll along the peninsula.
One thing I want to mention is that I did some heavier thinking as we biked to the center of Sirmione. My friends wanted photos of them biking, and as I remembered, they want photos of themselves everywhere they go. At the moment I realized this, I pondered cultural differences. I’ve seen Japanese and Korean people also very, might I say, self infatuated. But, although there are Westerners who are like this, taking photos of themselves, my feeling is that they do not need photos of themselves EVERYWHERE they go. So, I pondered, is it the culture that makes Asians in general more self infatuated? My theory is that the Eastern culture has a lot to do with “face”, as such, people will be more apt to want and take photos of themselves, particularly in a positive light. For me, I prefer photos that are natural, that will truly capture the moment and more accurately depict it years later.
Enough of the heavier thought. Tonight’s dinner was good, as the food was good and the interaction with friends was quite fun. Tonight was very memorable ; )
Posted at 2012 September 04 12:00 am
Today was our full day in Venice, and we went with a tour for the later part of the day – a big mistake. It was a big waste of time, but luckily we walked around in the morning. We went to the Basilica di Santa Maria and the San Marco Square. I kind of wanted to go up the big tall thing in the square (forgot what it’s called), but at the same time, I didn’t want to go up there because I don’t think the city view is going to be particularly good. It would probably be just like the other city views. The basilica I thought would have an open area which would be good for photos, but it didn’t. So, going there last night would have been futile anyway for photos. This all was along the Grand Canal, and I led my friends away from it to get a better feel of the city, and indeed we did. Within the small streets are also small waterways, and here is what gave the real Venice feel, if you will. I can’t really describe it (this is why we travel). The odd thing was that my one friend wanted to get back to the main waterway even though these inside streets had the essence of Venice in them. I opposed, of course, so we kept exploring until it was about time for the tour.
The tour sucked. It was a tour to go to the 3 islands near Venice: Murano, Burano, and Torcello. It takes quite a bit of time to get to these places, and during the boat ride, nobody could hear what the guide was explaining. Murano is the island famous for glass art. We saw how they blew glass and made simple art pieces like a vase or a horse figure. We then had time to walk around to see the other glass shops. I should have bought more souvenirs here, for they’re more special and easy to carry. Of course, the real value is with the larger pieces of artwork, which is what Murano is famous for. The smaller, basic stuff have a lot of knockoffs, and you may find stuff that was made in China. Burano is a fishing village that also has specialty in lace making. Nothing special here but colorful houses that people used to think would fend off plague. It’s why all the houses are brightly colored. Torcello was the worst island. It used to be where most people lived, until they all moved to Venice. Now there are only 18 people who live on the island, and there’s not anything to see here.
We should have only went to Murano and not gone on this tour. The explanations by the guide couldn’t be heard on the intercom of the boat, so we had to ask each time we got off. Additionally, the guide sucked, as she didn’t really have knowledge about the places. She only knew really basic stuff. Burano and Torcello aren’t very special and are basically a waste of time.
At night, I took a photo of the Rialto Bridge, which is a decent shot. But, the photo of the day is this one of a small waterway that is the essence of Venice.
Posted at 2012 September 03 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 September 02 12:00 am
Florence is nicer than Rome, due to the city being a lot newer and vibe of the city being more relaxed. We met the hostel woman outside a restaurant because the hostel wasn’t in the spot that was listed on Hostelworld.com. She insisted on taking my bag and rolling it on her bike to the other hostel (we got an upgrade) and nearly dropped it. My heart stopped for a second because my camera was in there.
After unpacking, we went to see David. Before, I didn’t think it would be awesome. Although I’ve heard great things about it, it was still only a sculpture to me. But upon seeing it in person, I immediately changed my perspective. The actual sculpture is so detailed and elegant that it completely wiped out my preconception. David is well-proportioned and with correctly shaped muscles, tendons, and even veins.
The next stop was to go to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which has been suggested to us to be the best view of the city. But before heading up there, we stopped at a shop to get some wine, cheese, and salami. The shop lady let us taste some salami and cheese, and all of it was great. I really want to buy some and bring back home, but I still have places to go. Anyway, we brought all that up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and ate on the stairs. There was a performer singing and playing guitar up there too as we sat on the steps enjoying the wine, cheese, and salami with a great panoramic city view. It was a great experience.
For dinner, we ate at a place recommended by the hostel, and for the first time on the trip, the food was good. We had a Florentine steak and risotto (rice).
Posted at 2012 September 01 12:00 am
We found out that the one friend who needed to leave cannot leave anymore because there are no tickets. This was good, but also it also meant we needed to change back our hostel bookings to 4 people. We went to the Museo Borghese and the Vatican Museum. Seeing a bunch of tour guides, one friend and I went faster to beat the tours to the Sistine Chapel, and then we lost the other two friends. We decided to find them after seeing the Sistine Chapel.
The Sistine Chapel wasn’t amazing to me at first, until I saw the paintings on top. I then listened to the explanations by the audio guide, which finally made it worth renting and taking around. It’s amazing how those paintings were done on the ceiling and with such great skill. Afterward, we followed a bunch of people outside, which led us to the St. Peter’s Basilica. We couldn’t find our friends, which was quite frustrating, especially when the phone does not work, so we decided to go back into the museum. Luckily, my friend called and said they were at the exhibit after the Sistine Chapel. So, we were able to meet up again.
Posted at 2012 August 31 12:00 am
I’m stupid. I switched my clock to 12 hours behind, so the alarm clock did not sound today. My friend’s alarm sounded, but it was a duck sound. I heard it and woke up, but I was like, “Damn duck, it’s so freaking early!” My 2 other friends didn’t hear it, and another heard it and didn’t want to wake up so early. So, we ended up waking at 9.
The rest of the day was good. We first went to the Colloseum and Palatino (ancient ruins of Rome) in the first half of the day. The Colloseum was kinda cool. Walking around the Palatino wasn’t cool because our audio guide was really hard to match up with the sights. Consequently, we didn’t get much out of it. There was a thunderstorm today, and we hid under places several times, being cooped up with a bunch of other people in a tunnel at one point.
Later, and walked around the Trevi area, seeing the Piazza di Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, the Fontane di Trevi, and the Pantheon. The Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna was not impressive. Unfortunately, we did not get to go inside the Pantheon and only saw the outside. Maybe we can see the inside tomorrow. At the end of the day, I felt defeated because I couldn’t find a good vantage point to take a night time photo of the Colloseum. I wonder where people found good spots.
This photo at the Trevi Fountain has the wrong color, again due to the NEF to JPG converter, which reminds me I forgot to replace the previous ones!
Posted at 2012 August 30 12:00 am
After arriving at the hotel and meeting up with friends, we went and got our train tickets and Roma Pass. It’s rather hot here in Rome, and I actually expected a nicer city. The food we ate for dinner wasn’t good, and the people there could not do math. They got the bill wrong, and as they were breaking down the costs, they messed up still. I wanted to go take a night shot of the Colloseum, but I think it’s too late. We have to get up early tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 August 29 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 28 12:00 am
I can’t believe I fucked up my lens right as I was writing this post. I accidentally bumped into the tripod when I moved my chair, and the thing tipped over along with the camera on it. Now, the lens doesn’t operate smoothly. Everything still focuses, but it’s just not nice to use. The focusing motor is a bit loud now too. I may need to buy a new lens, and I don’t want to do that because it’s going to cost a LOT of money. I’ll have to bring an extra lens too.
Work today was good and busy. I got praise on what I’ve done on my project so far, and all the parts I need the CAD librarian to draw have requests submitted.
I’m packed and ready to go! I had much less preparation this time because this is only a one week excursion instead of a 5 week adventure like last time. I’m not bringing my laptop with me, so there may be spotty or nonexistent posting for the next 2 weeks, which is ok. Nobody else reads this right?
Posted at 2012 August 27 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 26 12:00 am
My aunt took me over to my grandma’s place to check if a TVPad was compatible with her setup. TVPad is a device that streams TV over internet. My grandma seems depressed and displayed some fatalist attitude. She said things like how she’s got to use all the money while she still can live. Moreover, she doesn’t answer the phone and doesn’t even want to have a phone line. After we left the place, my aunt said that my grandparents that I live with were very good. My aunt’s sort of godmother has dementia that stemmed from loneliness.
I’m indeed grateful that my grandparents that I live with are happy, sane, and relatively healthy. What I notice is that those who are alone tend to be in a lot worse situation. Seniors are already limited to what they can do, and adding loneliness of course creates further mental stress. So, I’ll see to it that my parents and I communicate and that they live happily when they’re seniors.
Posted at 2012 August 25 12:00 am
My parents suggested me to go to a massage workshop. This was actually a workshop for accupressure, the Chinese method of massaging pressure points. My parents suggested I go because I have occasional migraine headaches. They also wanted to know what they say about high blood pressure as well as where to massage for my mom’s knee soreness. The guy who taught did this for a hobby; he’s actually a network consultant for his full-time job. I left early because I had better things to do and also gathered all the knowledge I needed (high blood pressure, kneecap, migraine). In short there were a few things the guy taught that were good (the places to massage), but there were some things that I thought were absurd. His premise is that there are toxins within the body that don’t get released because people don’t sweat enough of it out, so they need to be released by those methods. There is also “air” that gets cooped up inside, along with other things, due to poor circulation. So, my main takeaway is that it is necessary to stay active. As for the massaging pressure points, there’s no wrong in doing it if it’s not painful. It does relax muscles. He pressed places on the back of my skull, and it hurt like a bitch. Not recommended. The other places like the back are fine. He also talked about slapping the elbow joint (inside part where blood gets drawn), and there were ladies there who did it and got super bruised, although they enjoyed the thought of this improving their health. Small, purple lumps stuck out. One woman was shedding tears. It hurts so good right?
As for the photo, I noticed this a couple days ago and thought there was too much cleaning agent in the bathroom. The color contrast is sorta cool too.
Posted at 2012 August 24 12:00 am
Dat shit ran outta gas. As I was going home on the freeway, the car started sort of stuttering, and then there was no acceleration when I pressed the accelerator. The gas completely ran out at the 1 mile marking for an exit, so I pressed the emergency lights and drifted for a mile before ending up stopped on the ramp. I pressed the gas again and still nothing. The battery and engine oil lights came on. Just before stopping at the ramp, the power steering started shutting down. Good thing I wasn’t going high speed at that point. I ended up going to a gas station about 400 meters away. They Indian guy said to give him money to borrow the gas jug. I gave him ten dollars, and he said it’s normally fifteen. So, I went back and filled up my tank, which actually took a really long time because the gas jug’s tip wasn’t long enough to fully insert into the gas tank. So, I poured little by little because there’s a small hole normally used for residual gas after pumping to drain in. I went back to the gas station, returned the jug and asked for my money back, and the guy gave me six dollars back, which was good. It means I only paid for gas.
This escapade was due to me keeping track of how many miles I’ve driven before I needed to fill up. It’s been 400 miles in the past. A couple weeks ago, I went 420 something. Today I was at 392, so this means that my engine is less efficient than in the past. Oh yes, I don’t look at the gas gauge because the light for when the gas tank is nearly empty comes on at 1/4 tank, which I think is ridiculous.
Keeping life interesting – for better or for worse.
Posted at 2012 August 23 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 22 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 21 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 20 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 19 12:00 am
Sometimes I wonder why I’m a nice person. There’s no real benefit to doing nice things because most people forget you even did them. In fact, they probably only attach the “nice” attribute to you. What good does that do?
Although I question why I should be nice, there’s another part in me that responds to that. In larger cities and more complicated societies, there’s a lot of false sincerity and a lot less goodwill. A lot of people just don’t give a shit, and it makes you lose faith in humanity and all that is good and right in the world. I don’t want think that. I don’t want to be a part of that. So, I try to be living proof that there is still good in this world; after all, I actually have received goodwill from strangers.
So today, once again, the nice part of me wins out. I’ll deal with the gas cost, dirty car, and leftover trash. My cousin will deal with having wasted the time, the time that he could have spent having fun and partying with house mates, on relatives’ friends who are picky, high maintenance annoyances that make life hard for anyone who brings them sight-seeing. I’ll continue being the nice person that I am because actions matter and unhappy thoughts don’t – they’ll just foster eventual high blood pressure : P
Well, time for something a little lighter. I hiked Mailbox Peak “with” (together, but separated) friends, and it was good. There were some cool spider web formations, and the scene at the top was decent. There were a few peaks peeping out from a sea of clouds. The flowers are in bloom as well, so the peak was pretty. The photos I took today were pretty good too. In fact, I don’t know which one to pick!
Posted at 2012 August 18 12:00 am
I drove my aunt’s car today because she needed to use my van to take her relatives/friends to see sights. Her Toyota Corolla that’s about 2 years old is pretty good. The accelerator is uniformly smooth, unlike my car or other older cars, where the beginning part is less resistance than when you push deeper. So, I’m guessing that accelerator’s attached to a uniform spring, and a sensor is watching the level of that and releasing/injecting gas into the engine appropriately. The air conditioning or heating is nice and quiet. But, it’s quite slow at switching to different vents. For example, it took 4 seconds to switch from the windshield to the face vents. A thing I dislike is that it’s kind of hard to look back at the blind spot on the left. When I turned my head, there’s not very much window to be seen since that middle bar part of the car between the two side windows is sort of wide and blocking.
Another thing today that was really interesting was a house inspection I went to. The house inspector took us through everything, and now I have a much better idea of what to look for when inspecting a house. The roofing and age, chimney, when a deck starts to degrade, potential foundation damage, heating and electrical (although electrical I’m already quite aware of), attic, leakage, appliances, gutter and drainage, planting considerations, inconsistent drainage, exposed/rerouted piping and ducts…I think that’s everything that was inspected. Owning a home requires quite a bit of maintenance.
Photo of the day – sandwiches for tomorrow’s hike!
Posted at 2012 August 17 12:00 am
Work today was pretty unproductive. All I basically did was create a block diagram. Meeting in the morning, and then ate lunch, placed orders on my headphone cables and discovered that the cables were too thick and consequently did a bunch of research to find thinner cables, and then I did actual work. At the end of the day, I played ping pong for about 45 minutes with 7 other people. It was 4 on 4 ping pong. But, I got my own time today at home. Although what I did for several hours was download and organize music, the walk I took after dinner was probably the best part of my day because I have time to think and unwind outside in the cool, relaxing weather.
Posted at 2012 August 16 12:00 am
Coming out of the parking lot after leaving work, I hit a biker. This was really scary. I looked to the left at the red light so that I could see if I can go, so I did a rolling stop and rolled into the biker that came from the right. I got off and checked that he was all right, and thankfully, he only got a scratch on his hand. His front wheel was messed up though, and I offered to pay for it. I gave him my phone number.
In other news, skin on my hands is sort of peeling because I washed dishes without gloves at work. Apparently, it was a bad idea. I think the crappy detergent they bought is not good for hands. Today’s lunchtime tennis gave me a bit of sunburn, as seen in the photo. It also ran about 40 minutes over. Some of the guys asked if I wanted to play ping pong later in the day too haha. Work life balance ; ) I didn’t play though because I wanted to get something done.
Time alone is what I need. For the past week, I’ve had to go do stuff with people, and as an introvert, I need time alone to recharge. And organize. There’s a bunch of stuff that needs organization. I understand now why people say it’s hard to learn when you get old. It’s not that the brain becomes worse (not until you’re really old), but it’s because people don’t have time to sit down and focus. There’s a lot of firefighting type stuff to do after work, and of course, there’s not much time left in the day. Additionally, after work, people are tired because they don’t exercise during work. It’s an odd thing. When you
Posted at 2012 August 15 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 14 12:00 am
Shit. I forgot to take a photo, which ends a long consecutive run.
Posted at 2012 August 13 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 12 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 11 12:00 am
Today, a bunch of friends and I went to rock climb. It was the first time I’ve done it with the harnesses, and it was good that we took the class because there was a lot of stuff and technique required for being tied in and belaying. The first hour was just teaching us how to tie a knot and use the equipment, and the second hour we actually got to climb, which was fun. I like it better than bouldering. We went to U:don in U-District. It’s a new udon noodle place that I didn’t know existed and is allegedly fairly new (~6 months). The onigiri was good, and the udon was decent, although I don’t know what great udon is like. I got the curry udon, and I think it was a tad sweet. Since the table with the belated birthday friend was full, I sat at another table. My friend who recently moved to Portland, OR for his job came up, so he ate with me. It was nice to hear how he’s been and the adventures he had on his trip to Southeast Asia and India. Now that we spent time, ate dinner, and gave presents to my friend, I hope he’s not sad that two of his close friends forgot to wish him happy birthday a couple weeks ago. I left my backpack and newly purchased headphones in someone’s car, so I can’t upload a photo today. I’ll do it in the morning tomorrow though.
Posted at 2012 August 10 12:00 am
It’s a family member’s birthday, so I bought a cake from Whole Foods. The cake had berries in it as well. It was pretty good because it’s not that sweet.
Ok, now it’s time to complain about some punk-ass muhfuckin Indians that are in the IT department. At work, there is the address book in Microsoft Outlook. We can’t change information ourselves and consequently need IT to change this information. I submit a request to add my info. A couple days later after the system reflects changes (I suspect it’s actually just a work backlog due to laziness), I check and see that half my information got entered. So, I submit another request to fix this. They tell me that “due to some technical difficulties”, it wasn’t updated correctly. A couple days go by, and today I check my address book. The Country/Region field is STILL empty, and the State field says “W/A” instead of “WA”. This is the work of a guy who tells me things weren’t updated “due to some technical difficulties”. If I see this guy in person, his face won’t be operating “due to some technical difficulties”. So, I first complete 2 surveys with low scores and reprimand this ineptitude in the comment section, then finally submit yet ANOTHER request to do the simple task of copying and pasting the information I wanted to put into the Outlook address book. If this still doesn’t get fixed, I can’t guarantee what I say is going to be HR appropriate, and then my company may need to put me into anger management.
Posted at 2012 August 09 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 08 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 07 12:00 am
Just like when I was an intern, I couldn’t score playing lunchtime soccer today. One header I didn’t think I was going to make, and another left-footed shot that was off by 2 inches. Afterward, my underwear and socks were wet, so I hung them up on a rack in my cubicle. Here is a photo. I also dropped the ball today on uploading photos in a timely manner.
In other news, I had my nose area facialed, like when they put the stuff on your face at a spa. My nose is now soft and smooth like a baby’s bottom.
Posted at 2012 August 06 12:00 am
Here is shit that completes the requirement.
First real day of working on my project at work. I’m quite confused.
Posted at 2012 August 05 12:00 am
A sunny Sunday is good, not great, for hiking. I went to Mirror Lake today with mostly people I don’t know. On the drive to the trailhead, I didn’t take a correct turn, and then when we started hiking up, I led people to a wrong turn. Long story short, I got people lost, and I feel really, really bad. The older people who were with us weren’t able to make it up. They would have enjoyed it more if I led correctly, so I feel reprehensible and bashful. The hike though was enjoyable, and the lake was pretty. It would have been nicer if the mountain had some snow on it. I liked Lake Serene better, but as with good things in life, it takes more effort to get there. The entire experience is very…wild because nothing is marked. Additionally, the beginning leg of the trail was overgrown with bushes.
Afterward, I was supposed to get stuff done, but I ended up hanging out with a couple friends and got nothing done. I washed my car though but didn’t wax it because it was dark.
Posted at 2012 August 04 12:00 am
“You should go to the other side,” as the man pointed his gun my way. I didn’t “go to the other side” because I didn’t know what he was talking about, and then he shot a bunch of people, including me. I was bleeding and had shrapnel in me for some reason. I was in a room taking the shrapnel out, but it hurt badly. The guy who shot me later was in the room and said, I’ll take you to the doctor, but the doctor’s my sister, so I can switch her out for me and kill you. I left and ended up somewhere else, and then I woke up. Weird dream.
Got my shoes today. I actually won the raffle yesterday. There were 2 size 9 shoes and 3 people wanted them, and I was one of the two who could get it. So, I went today to pay and pick up my shoes. Today, I’m super efficient, getting all my stuff done and cleaning and organizing. It’s pretty hot, ~80 degrees F, but I shouldn’t complain. Other states have it a lot worse.
Posted at 2012 August 03 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 August 02 12:00 am
For the first half of the day, I tried hard to get a special kind of server running so that I could have a Linux GUI. After failing a lot, I determined that I didn’t have enough control over the machine (someone else was administering it), so I couldn’t do much. Tennis Thursday was good. I played with one coworker, and we had good rallies. Near the end of the day, I talked to the guy giving options for work assignment, and it turns out I’m on a hardware project, yayyyy! It was kind of what I wanted, and I’m happy the guy and the director made it happen.
I am super tired from failing too much today and from watching some Olympics replays. I saw some of the swimming and 1 round of championship ping pong. Going to sleep early.
Posted at 2012 August 01 12:00 am
The intern treatment is better than the full-time treatment. When I was an intern, my cubicle was prepared for me when I arrived, somebody found me a chair when I asked, and all the computer stuff was set up for me. Now, I have to go gather my own supplies, find my own chair, and set up a remote Linux server that is a royal pain in the ass, and finally, the Lync phone can’t even call the wambulance!
Tennis today was good. My friend brought new balls, and I think we play better with new balls.
Posted at 2012 July 31 12:00 am
At work, I stole a chair from an empty cubicle and gave my old one to my coworker, who had an even crappier chair than I did. The one I stole was the same model, but it was in newer condition. Previously, the left armrest was wobbly; this new chair’s armrest is not. I cleaned my desk area and the chair. The chair armrest was gross.
I experimented with the off-camera flash I bought. It’s pretty cool, but I think it can do more. I bought the DAC kit today, and the amplifier and headphones won’t be far behind. Oh the money I spend to achieve high fidelity music… Back then, decades ago, when a guy had a high fidelity setup and played those vinyls, all the honies would be over. Now…not quite so. You might get a bunch of nerds over, if anything. Pimpin’ ain’t EEsy.
Posted at 2012 July 30 12:00 am
Bad lighting huh? I used the onboard flash. My room is a mess because I was rummaging through stuff to find a USB to optical thingy. Turns out the thingy was in my toolbox. Here I am again looking in logical places LAST. Anyway, I needed the thingy to connect up my broken DAC. I thought the DAC’s headphone port was the only thing that was broken, but it turns out the RCA outputs also didn’t work. So, now I have a piece of junk. Anyway, I needed to know if I needed to buy another DAC to put in my cubicle. I do. So, I did a bunch of research and ended up deciding to build a relatively cheap one using a kit instead. I’ll buy an expensive amp though.
Still haven’t gotten to analyzing my wifi. I’ll do that within the next few days. Work today sucked, since basically all I did was muck around with administrative stuff like expense reports, organizing files, requesting a phone (really nifty Microsoft Lync phone), etc. I was also presented with 3 options for a project, but I don’t know why they told me. I don’t get to choose! I do get to choose the later projects, so the guy might have been piquing my interest so that I could work on that stuff in the future.
Posted at 2012 July 29 12:00 am
Hi, I’m Cinderella, except I don’t clean floors with a toothbrush. I clean the ceiling with a toothbrush.
I saw that the ceiling of the bathroom has some spots, which indicates mold, so I started washing with a paper towel. That didn’t work, so I step up my game with some Mr. Clean solution. That was only a little bit better, so I busted out the toothbrush, which worked wonders. So, I proceeded to brush the spots and the surrounding areas. Mold grows in moist places, where circulation is poor. The circulation is poor because the fan sucks, so I took out the fan hood and saw a thick layer of dust, as shown in the photo of the day. I vacuumed it, but then I was curious at how much I could scrape off. It turned out that the chunks of dust built up over decades. A screwdriver took out these chunks, and now the fan should be performing much better. The root cause of this is that nobody did maintenance on this thing or that there are no protocols or rules in place for maintenance. Who the hell needs rules for maintenance in a house? Buy a new thing if the old thing breaks. No money? Get a loan. Need to pay off another loan? Get a new loan to pay it off. This is Amurrica.
Makes me think of my old landlord, DLT, back when I was renting in my junior year. “David Landlord The”, an absolutely idiotic grammar mistake covered up by making it into an acronym. For some reason, it stuck. Anyway, the guy had a bunch of stuff to fix at our old house, and I’m sure he had other houses to cover as well. I would HATE to have to do house maintenance.
Posted at 2012 July 28 12:00 am
Home, sweet home. I hate business travel. Basically, all I did was organizing and relaxing after getting back home. I didn’t bother composing a photo today because I’m too damn lazy. There’s a lot of stuff I have to do after relaxing though, such as creating a wifi signal map using the new goodies I got from AirMagnet. After getting all the crappy small tasks out of the way (firefighting once again), I can get back on my personal projects. Life should not be constant firefighting!
Posted at 2012 July 27 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 July 26 12:00 am
The major disappointment today was that both my friends are busy on Friday, so I won’t be able to hang out with them. Sigh :( I’m bound to my coworkers and manager, otherwise I’d be able to drive or be more in control of my time. At training, the company gave us new guys some cool new tools that are related to wifi. I’ll have to learn how to use them.
After work, we all went to do some rock climbing. I’m still a noob. I haven’t done sport climbing, the kind with the ropes, and I’d like to try that out someday.
Posted at 2012 July 25 12:00 am
P-tooey, out came phlegm laced with bright red blood. This is how I started my morning, freaking out at how I coughed up blood. I was hoping that the blood was from a bloody nose I unknowingly got during sleep, so I hoped that anything else I coughed up later would not be bloody. Not the case. I collected a few samples in a Ziploc bag. At lunch, I told the manager to take me to a walk-in clinic. It turns out that my sinuses were a bit inflamed, probably due to an infection, so I was prescribed antibiotics. When the phlegm drains down to the bronchial tubes, they get stuck there when the phlegm is thick. This is the case when the sinuses are irritated, in my case, by an infection. Because I coughed so much, the tiny blood vessels in the bronchial tubes start bleeding, and the blood gets mixed with the phlegm that eventually gets coughed up. So now, I’m on antibiotics.
I arrived at the Embassy Suites in Santa Clara. The room is nicer than I expected, after being at the Hilton. I have a bit of free time in the evening on Friday, so I’d really like to see a couple friends if they are in the area.
Posted at 2012 July 24 12:00 am
Holy crap the first half of the day was boring. Someone from Visual Network Systems talked to us about what they do and also architecture of the product. I first suspected I was falling asleep because the material was computer science related, but my computer engineering coworker said he was falling asleep as well. The last 3 hours of the day (12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) was great because we got to actually use the product. It’s really cool how that system can monitor what is happening with the network.
After work, I went hiking with coworkers at Manitou Incline. This was only a mile – with 2100 feet of elevation gain straight up. The hike was brutal because another coworker and I wanted to do it below 40 minutes. We succeeded with 37 minutes and some seconds, but it was painful. Pretty nice view near the top. View wasn’t as nice at the top.
Posted at 2012 July 23 12:00 am
The first day at Colorado Springs office was good. They have a nice office that I don’t get lost in like in Everett. There was a bunch of people who came for the introduction. It was sort of a nice gesture because these people didn’t have a part to say in the presentation. They came basically so that we could associate faces with the names and titles and so that they could say hi to us. I woke up late and didn’t eat breakfast, so I was starving by lunch time. The room was cold too, but I turned up the thermostat so it would be bearable for the rest of the afternoon. After training, we went back to the hotel for half an hour and then went to eat dinner at a sort of bar place called Nosh. It was happy hour only (Monday thing), so we ate a bunch of appetizers. Afterward, we went rock climbing. Rock climbing is cool because it feels really good after solving a problem (completing one of the tracks). I completed some V0s and V1s, and I was done. My forearms are pumped, and sort of cramping. I really hope tomorrow I don’t cramp up when I shake someone’s hand. That would be awkward.
Posted at 2012 July 22 12:00 am
The security line was really long at Sea-Tac airport today, and I feared I wouldn’t make it in time for my flight, but I got there just fine. They were doing final boarding calls though. I made a really stupid mistake – I thought there was unassigned seating on the flight. It must have been because I didn’t purchase the ticket (company did), so I didn’t know what seat I was assigned and consequently thought it was unassigned. The seat was on my ticket though, stupid stupid. Colorado is pretty hot, 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit, and quite flat. There are a few mountains and peaks though. Some of the AEP guys came with us to a brewery tour. I was really sleepy during the middle. The topic is boring to me, and combining that with being tired from waking up at 5:15 and flying, I couldn’t keep focused. After sampling beers, I was really sleepy. We went back to the hotel, and I fell asleep. My coworkers had to call me to wake me up and go to dinner. I have discovered that business travel sucks. It’s a drain on energy, and you don’t get to do many fun things.
Posted at 2012 July 21 12:00 am
Basically the whole day was spent for the lavender festival in Sequim. Some friends and I took the ferry and drove to Sequim to see the largest lavender festival in North America. The ferry line was ridiculous; we missed 2 ferries. Along the road to Sequim, there was also some delay, so it took quite a while to get to Sequim. The lavender farms were not gigantic, but there are many of them. We went to Nelson’s Duck Pond and Lavender Farm, and it was really small. The Martha Lane one was big though. We also went to the street fair, which was decent, since it had a lot of shops. Leaving at 6 something, it took us more than 2 hours to get to the ferry. During this drive, one of my friends cut himself and then we gave him a tampon to use as a makeshift bandage. We ate a rushed dinner and boarded. Once I got back home, I quickly packed my stuff for my trip tomorrow to Colorado Springs. I’m going there for training, and the flight is at 7:35 a.m. Today was really busy, so I didn’t write a post on time.
Posted at 2012 July 20 12:00 am
We were shown an overview of cable testing principles today, an it turns out the DSP stuff on the fiber cables can get really confusing really quickly. Stuff got technical, and we ended up getting out at 5. I went to see the Dark Knight Rises, and it was great. I really liked it. I’ll even give a spoiler: the black guy dies first. I met my coworkers at a bar in Belltown after getting out of the movie. Basically I went to say hi. I want to get back early because I have to wake up early tomorrow.
My brother tried to get triple boot on my Macbook Air, but it failed. I hope he figures it out.
Posted at 2012 July 19 12:00 am
Morning was painful as well for my left jaw joint. I got biometric testing done on me (weight, blood pressure, and draw out a thing of blood) and then had a slow time eating breakfast – yes, slower than I already am. I ate a croissant sandwich with a knife and a fork – that’s right, I’m fancy. After work, I went to the walk-in clinic and got to see a doctor after a very short wait. They doc (was actually a nurse practitioner, whatever that means) said that I probably have a Eustachian tube (some place in the ear) infection in combination with a minor TMJ disorder. He said TMJ syndrome is when the symptoms are more severe and prolonged. I’m kind of skeptical of what this guys says, although I did have a bit of ear pain 2 days before my jaw got fucked up. I’m taking ibuprofen now to ease the swelling.
My camera remote has been missing for a few days, so now that I had time, I looked through the car, through 3 of my backpacks, and even in a pair of washed shorts to see if it got washed. Finally, I looked in what I thought was the least probable spot it could be in – my bag of camera accessories. Found it. -__________- right?
Combining my experience and wisdom with what I learned today, I have some good tips for raising children.
- Make sure to tell kids to chew evenly with both sides so they don’t wear out their temporomandibular joints. For side sleepers, rotate sides. Also, more chewing = more wear. So also, inhale food and don’t chew gum often.
- Have them live life meaningfully.
- When in college, make sure girls join sororities and then invite Uncle Jack to parties.
- Look for misplaced items in logical spots FIRST, not last.
Posted at 2012 July 18 12:00 am
I woke up with a painful left jaw. It improved during the day when I didn’t use it, but at night, it is still hurting. I believe I have TMJ disorder, temporomandibular joint disorder, so I should probably ask my orthodontist about this. Tomorrow, I’m getting a biometric test early in the morning so that I can lower my insurance rate, so I’m going to bed early. Hopefully, I don’t grind my teeth tonight or sleep on my face wrong, which I suspect is what happened last night and fucked up my jaw.
The consultant that is training us about networking made me feel good about the job I have because I’m under a good company that lets us do what we want and treats us well. The thing I really need to be careful of is to not fully settle into this company. I’m still trying to make stuff and eventually go out on my own venture.
Posted at 2012 July 17 12:00 am
The best part of the day was meeting with the CTO, which was the very last hour. Earlier, we were being trained on networking. The CTO is a very gritty, funny guy. I can tell he’s used to swearing but only tones it down for us. He has high expectations for the three of us, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to live up to his expectations. Although he didn’t have dinner with us, the AEP manager took us out to dinner at Amici Bistro in Mukilteo. The place was good. I had this seafood thing that contained lobster, crab, spinach, mushrooms, and cheese, wrapped in a thin wrapper, and it was very good. The place is expensive though.
Posted at 2012 July 16 12:00 am
The Man told me about all the benefits and other administrative shit on my first day of work today. I was told about the benefits, worker safety, industrial design and mechanical engineering department tour, testing group tour, and a brief introduction to the Advanced Engineering Program. It’s actually a really good program that will expose me to a lot of stuff, as they are grooming me to be a good engineer. The two other guys in the program coincidentally play tennis, so we played after work with the AEP manager who, frankly, sucked (no offense though).
Last night as I was about to sleep, my grandma called my dad and had him drive my cousin to the emergency room. Turns out he took drugs, allegedly called “白冰”, and although I looked it up and couldn’t find it, I suspect it probably is crystal meth. He allegedly had trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat of 100 something beats per minute, bloodshot eyes, trouble talking, and behaved very much like a vegetable. I used to think drugs and all the related bad stuff would not happen around me, but here it is.
Posted at 2012 July 15 12:00 am
When you go hiking and the photo of the day is of a sign, you know the hike ranks low. Such was the case for the hike to Twin Falls in Issaquah. The hike there wasn’t bad, just like normal, except without the character building. The destination was disappointing – two rather small water falls. Even my friends who have not seen amazing sights in other parts of the world were disappointed. But, we shall accept it as it is – a pleasant, unstrenuous stroll. We went farther than the falls and arrived at the other trailhead because we thought there was something bigger. Then, we saw the trailhead and went back.
Curiously, it appears my friends like to celebrate mediocrity. I’ve received presents from them, which seriously makes me feel bad. I’ve not contributed to society enough to deserve to have my birthday celebrated. My existence has not had any impact on the world, so I see no reason to celebrate my birthday. But, I still strive to do some good for this world, and one day, my birthday will be worth celebrating （on a small scale of course).
Super tired today. Going to sleep early. Today is my last day as a free man. Arrrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!
Posted at 2012 July 14 12:00 am
Daytrip today to Portland, and immediately when I got home, I slept. Tomorrow I have to get up early in the morning to hike with friends. After driving along the scenic Highway 101 to Cannon Beach, we spent time walking and taking some photos on the beach. It was cloudy even though the weather forecasts says “partly sunny”. The “partly sunny” part was a thin strip of blue sky. When we left though, it actually started getting sunny >:( Afterward, we went to the Apple store so that I could buy 2 Macbook Airs, one for me and one for my brother, tax free aw yeah. Voodoo Doughnuts was the last stop, and I bought a dozen home because it was cheapest that way. I don’t really like sweet stuff, so this was mainly for family.
When I drove back from U District, there was a girl who looked like a friend we all called “Mother”. Of course, it wasn’t her, but it brought back fond memories of my friends back from a house called Cheryl, as well as unfond memories of the shitty, ungrounded house. It makes me wonder how they are all doing and what adventures they’ve had.
Posted at 2012 July 13 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 July 12 12:00 am
Don’t get excited, I’m not in Africa. I just visited the Woodland Park Zoo today and took some photos of a giraffe. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of people, so I couldn’t get the best shots. The other photo I considered for the photo of the day is of a bird. It stuck its neck out, and I took a photo of it. This was an easy bird shot. Usually, I hate taking bird photos because it’s so hard. The birds move a lot and move fast. Gives me respect for birdwatchers.
My cousin suffered what I suffered when I got sick that one time (actually I’m still sick damn it). She is low on motivation, so I said motivational stuff to her and told her what I live for, whatever that’s worth. What prompted me to talk to her was because she sent me a podcast about habits (then she told me she’s feeling like a bitch), and it led me to this guy’s blog about how he gets up every morning at 5:50 a.m., exercises, reads, codes, and then goes to work, which is really hardcore. He sleeps at 10:30. I think once I finish training for work, sighhh work, I’ll start to add exercise to my morning. I don’t think I’m going to end up like that guy though, that machine I mean. Oh, I have to get over being sick as well. It appears that I’m like my one friend who is sick all the time and doesn’t play basketball with us because his mouth is sore and we all know basketball involves dribbling the ball with your mouth. I’m gonna stop being a little bitch. I’m going to stop being sick.
Posted at 2012 July 11 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 July 10 12:00 am
Now that I have organized the high school graduation photos of my brother and cousin, there’s no more photo organizing I have to do. Because it was sunny, my friend asked me to take photos of his car again. We went to some nearby lakes, the views weren’t very good. The lighting was too bright as well. I actually don’t have the proper equipment to do a car photoshoot. This time, my friend was driving part of the process, and if I wanted to do good work, I need to drive the entire process. Next time, the car will be shot in a parking garage at night probably somewhere in the Industrial District in Seattle. An alternative is at Alki Beach. And, I’ll have a flash. I should probably experiment using my sports van first though. On an unrelated note, today I was headhunted, once again. Looks like my website does get visits. I’m glad I’ve been referring to everyone as “friends” and not giving out any identities.
Posted at 2012 July 09 12:00 am
Another glorious day outside, and I spent my time inside organizing graduation photos, drawing an app icon, and polishing up the presentation timer app. I had dinner with my uncle and cousin, and they asked about my adventure in South America. Because it got late, I couldn’t help my friend take a photo of his car. The sun wasn’t out anymore. Better luck tomorrow. I went over to his house, and he talked about some more gossip, as usual.
Posted at 2012 July 08 12:00 am
BBQ on a boat was the event today, and it took 6 hours. This was with a bunch of acquaintances and strangers visiting from Texas. The boat ride around Lake Union and Lake Washington was really nice because the weather was amazing today. The person who operated the boat actually lives in the boat and does this on weekends to party and also get some extra cash. Her name is Joy Nelson and runs Joyfull Adventures. Afterward, I went and had dinner with a friend and her family. I always feel bad when they give me stuff, since I’ve done nothing and don’t deserve anything. Next time I go over, I will surely bring something for them, or I’ll feel really bad. My mom called me to go to the restaurant to meet this guy who does business stuff, so hesitantly, I went. This guy is starting business analytics conferences and is also a consultant. I didn’t learn a lot from him, but he did open my mind up to different ways to do business partnerships. Busy day today.
Posted at 2012 July 07 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 July 06 12:00 am
Not much happening today on a sunny, hot Friday. I went over to my cousin’s place to take a photo of him for passport renewal. He’s planning to go to Honduras. My uncle also asked me if I was interested in having dinner because he wanted to hear my travel stories. I don’t really have stories, though.
Posted at 2012 July 05 12:00 am
Today was a real drain on time. I ate dim sum with the relatives who came over, and then took them to the Space Needle. The line to get tickets took like 30 minutes, and then the line to the elevators took an hour. Afterward, I went to dinner with my friends. My one friend met my other friend at a wedding and is interested in dating her, so I set up a dinner so they can have a better meeting. We’ll see how it goes from here.
This is my favorite photo I took coming down the Yellow Elevator at the Space Needle. I would actually prefer portrait with less sky, but this is the best I could do – mediocre.
Posted at 2012 July 04 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 July 03 12:00 am
Spent my day fighting a fever. I watched a movie called Hard Candy, recommended by my cousin. It’s a good movie that I would recommend watching as well.
Posted at 2012 July 02 12:00 am
I don’t know if my allergies are acting up or if I got sick again. My nose is stuffed up and my throat is at times itchy. If it was itchy all the time, I’d dismiss it as allergies. I also discovered that I have a really long nose hair in my left nostril that’s twice as long as the average ones, and it’s bothering me. Now, I’m a more empathetic person for those who need to trim nose hair. I went over to my cousin’s place to try to deploy my app onto her iPhone to test it, and she was an hour late. She’s on my flake list now. What’s worse is that she has iOS 5.1, which my software does not support, so I could deploy the app onto the phone to test it. My software supports up to version 5.0 – damn it. I also spent time teaching her OSX.
Posted at 2012 July 01 12:00 am
Damn it. I remembered to take a photo just as I was about to fall into slumber. Since I was really tired, I just hit the shutter without lights or anything. Turned out all black. Surprising huh? I was tired today because I went canoeing with a some friends and then did bowling at night for 3 hours. One friend’s friend was plagued by very complicated yet interesting (at least to me) relationship drama.
Posted at 2012 June 30 12:00 am
My friend’s wedding is today, and I realized when I drove more than halfway there that I forgot my camera. I took a couple photos with a friend’s camera, so I’ll post it up later. The wedding was pretty fun. It really sucks up time though, especially for the people getting married, since they even have morning ceremonies. There was Chinese food, but it was not good. There were 8 dishes and 1 soup.
Update: The food was worse than I thought. The toilet got a nice treat because of the food.
Posted at 2012 June 29 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 28 12:00 am
Got some more coding done for that dang presentation timer. I am not inspired today and don’t know what to take a photo of.
Posted at 2012 June 27 12:00 am
Finally a sunny day as the weather people predicted. Yesterday was rainy even though the prediction was going to be partly cloudy with 10% chance precipitation. Just means that we have bad luck, or the weather prediction is not very good (I think the latter). Obviously nothing exciting happened today because I’m talking about the weather.
Posted at 2012 June 26 12:00 am
Today, I woke up late, but I feel motivated. I am going to finish this insignificant app that my friend asked me to do and start thinking about better stuff that isn’t just a mobile app. On this note, I’m beginning to hate the startup scene because it’s filled with teams doing pointless web shit. “Our team is doing so and so with Twitter feeds and Facebook integration blah blah blah YouTube blah blah.” It adds very little value to people’s lives. It’s almost, so very close, to being at the level of throwing birds at pigs.
Because I woke up late, I didn’t eat a full breakfast, only an apple, and this apple had a heart shape near the stem, so I took a photo of it. I did eat this apple with a heart on it, but I felt any more warm-hearted nor loving. Of course, this is because I’m already so warm-hearted and loving that just a tiny bit added won’t make me feel the effect. Or, maybe it’s because I ate everything but the heart-shaped part. This person named “Billy” has been leaving comments on some of my 365 entries, and I know it’s some sort of robot that is doing this because I’ve disabled the ability to comment. It doesn’t show up on the website, but my mailbox says I have comments waiting to be approved. Damn robots >:O!
Posted at 2012 June 25 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 24 12:00 am
I finished the iOS version of the app. My friend finished the Android version of it 2 minutes before giving the presentation. We didn’t win anything, and I wasn’t surprised at all because the thing we built is very insignificant, so insignificant that I feel bad right now as I write this entry. Insignificance is demotivating, but ironically, I am a motivated person. Try as I may, I cannot rid myself of this insignificance. We’ll see how long I can keep trying.
I’m going to take this moment to bitch about something as well. The event is called Angel Hack, and one of the organizers even addressed all the people as “all you hackers”, but this is an incorrect use of the word “hack”. Their website is hackathon.io too. What people are doing is not “hacking”; they are developing. Hacking is when people break shit apart and take control. This is far from hacking, and the event name is very incorrect. Ok, I’m done bitching now.
Posted at 2012 June 23 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 22 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 21 12:00 am
Once again, the kids came over, and this time I went over to my friend’s house. I told the kids that I had to work, but they still came up and kept asking me to play.
Tonight, I had trouble thinking of what to photograph, but here it is. I’m trying to go with the dark background, spotlight emphasis photos.
Posted at 2012 June 20 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 19 12:00 am
My friend today got a call from HTC and said the internship program was cancelled. He was supposed to start yesterday, and now word from above says the whole internship program is cancelled. I think the company, especially one that big, should value people more and not go back on its word. Here is my plug to tell people not to buy HTC products (they make smartphones). I do not support companies who do not value people.
This photo of my 18-200mm lens has its background lighting skewed a bit to the right. It’s not a good photo though. No emotion.
Posted at 2012 June 18 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 17 12:00 am
Shot some hoops with a friend, had dinner with some high school friends. The person we had the dinner for didn’t show up though, but it was still good.
Posted at 2012 June 16 12:00 am
I took this photo at my brother’s graduation ceremony. It rained afterward, which was not good for photos.
At night, I went to see Lupe Fiasco at Mirror night club in Bellevue. After staying for an hour and a half, my ears couldn’t handle the loud music. They already were sore from me being sick, and the loudness made it worse. I also thought that DJ Lupe Fiasco (which was what the ad in the club said) was different from Lupe Fiasco, but the bouncer said that Lupe is also a DJ and has a DJ group as well. I chose to let the $32 go and headed home so that my ears would not be further damaged. The place could have been about 30 dB quieter.
Posted at 2012 June 15 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 14 12:00 am
I still feel sick, and I think I had a very small fever, at which point I took some medicine. As a result of feeling sick, I didn’t do anything and even wandered around the house aimlessly, which is very unlike me. I went to a friend’s birthday dinner at a Korean BBQ in Bellevue, and most of the people left early. I ended up driving another friend home all the way across to U District (I’m such a nice guy). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the 2nd half of the NBA Finals game.
I heated the gel pack in the microwave, and it exploded in less than a minute. The instructions said to heat it up to TWO minutes. Stupid engineers/scientists. Today’s photo is the blue stuff.
Posted at 2012 June 13 12:00 am
Fail. Once again.
Posted at 2012 June 12 12:00 am
I’m sick and wanted to take a photo of something reflecting my mood, but then I forgot. Fail.
Posted at 2012 June 11 12:00 am
My week of lifestyle photos are done, so it’s back to whatever I feel like taking a photo of. I’ll think about what other theme I want to try next. Being sick made me really not want to do anything, so I took a photo through my chair.
Macbooks were updated today, so I’ll purchase one sometime soon, yay!
Posted at 2012 June 10 12:00 am
I watched Prometheus today in IMAX 3D and liked it. Later, I went to my cousin’s graduation party and had some food. I don’t think I did my photographer duties well though, and I kind of feel bad.
Not too long ago, typing would not be an everyday task, but it is very much so today. I look forward to what future technological developments will yield.
Posted at 2012 June 09 12:00 am
The school-wide graduation is today, so I sat there for several hours so that my parents could maybe, just maybe, see me in the sea of graduates. The speakers weren’t that great. It was nice to have the experience though. Photos afterward were kind of annoying. We should have a list of the order and combinations of people listed out so that it doesn’t take forever.
Posted at 2012 June 08 12:00 am
I went to the EE graduation ceremony tonight, and it was…good. There was a bit of food afterward, and my family pulled me out to take photos, so I didn’t get to eat as much as I would have liked.
Posted at 2012 June 07 12:00 am
I walked around the mall with my friend to find a wedding gift. I have a sore throat probably from my brother.
This is the stack of clean clothing I always neglect to put away. Actually, I sort of do it intentionally because putting clothes away every time is not as efficient.
Posted at 2012 June 06 12:00 am
I helped a friend move to a new house today, and seeing the checkout from the landlord makes me reconsider buying a house.
Posted at 2012 June 05 12:00 am
Today, as I sat on the philosopher’s stone, I pondered more deeply about the act of going to see movies in theaters. What made me think about this is the one time I had dinner with a 2 friends and a bunch of strangers (friends of my friends whom I’d never met), and afterward when deciding what to do, the end selection was going to watch a movie. I was highly opposed to this because the goal of was to socialize with each other, and sitting in a dark box for 2 hours and not talking to each other does everything but accomplish the goal. Sure, afterward people talk about the movie, but for how long? About 5 minutes, if even, before the conversation topic switches. In essence, seeing a movie in the theaters is an antisocial act (unless you’re with a bunch of film buffs who will have long discussions about the movie after watching it). So, I began to wonder what is going on with this phenomenon that clearly has a flaw in it.
When movie theaters and drive-in movies were still relatively novel, people would go to see them because the movies were considered something quite special back then. It would be a prime place to take your date because you want to share a special experience with them and therefore achieve a social win. But now, I believe that movies and theaters are not special anymore; they have become quite mundane. The proliferation of high definition TVs and projectors into the consumer market as well as the abundance of high quality movie files online have further deteriorated the movie theater experience as something special. Yet, there are still many movie goers. For new couples, it is understandable why they go. In a dark place where the two are going to be next to each other for about 2 hours, it is the perfect place to hold hands, kiss, cuddle, whatever they have the guts to do to each other (I certainly hope it goes no further than kissing). But, this is taking away from seeing the movie, and mature couples surely can do this elsewhere and not use the movies as an excuse. Ok, so we have new couples who will still find worth in going to movies. The other major audience would be the kids. Surely, seeing a movie at a theater is a special experience for kids, especially those who have not seen a movie. It’s not hard to understand why kids would ask to go to the movies again.
Aside from these two groups, I don’t see a particularly strong incentive to go see the movies with other people. For the majority of the audience, mature couples, groups of friends, whatever, there are far better ways to socialize. I believe now that two problems have been exposed, the first being that people are going to the movies for the wrong and inefficient reason. People need to realize what purpose they are trying to fulfill and see past the outdated incentive mask from the early 1900s that tries so very hard to fool you that the movies are still a very special experience. The second problem has to do with the movie industry; they need to step up their game to make the movie-going experience more special. Movies have, on the whole, not changed much. With the proliferation of technology, the movies have become quite average. The whole premise of this argument is that the movies aren’t special anymore. By not being special, there is no social achievement, which very effectively makes the movie going experience an antisocial one. You might argue that movies today are still special, but then we would get into a discussion about people’s standards, which is a topic for another session of pondering on the philosopher’s stone.
Posted at 2012 June 04 12:00 am
Once again, I have fallen into the sleep late, wake late habit. I’m going to start kicking the habit tomorrow. In addition, I’m going to continue the theme of everyday household actions that I started today. Taking photos of my family members doing stuff, like things in the bathroom, is a bit weird, but awkwardness never stops me, like that odd exchange I had with a black guy in the bathroom a few months ago.
Posted at 2012 June 03 12:00 am
Today’s BBQ with a bunch of acquaintances was good, but a bit ill-prepared because there were not enough forks. We went to shoot guns, but when they asked us if we were all citizens, one person quickly said no and we were not allowed to go in; we then left. If we said yes, the shooting range wouldn’t have known. Anyway, I went home afterward and caught the Boston vs. Miami game. Although every time I’ve watched the playoff games, Boston lost, and the time I didn’t watch it, they won, Boston won tonight – on my watch.
Posted at 2012 June 02 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 June 01 12:00 am
Fail. I don’t even remember what I did today.
Posted at 2012 May 31 12:00 am
I tried to take a photo of the light and zoom during the exposure. It created this blob. Normally, I dislike blobs, but this one’s ok, I guess.
Posted at 2012 May 30 12:00 am
Pretty efficient today in getting a bunch of tasks done. I even upgraded to Fedora 17. Fedora 16 is less buggy.
Posted at 2012 May 29 12:00 am
The restaurant is closed on one day of the week, the day my friends and I chose to have dinner – Tuesday. What an odd day to be closed! Nothing really exciting today, just chatted with friends.
The photo is for the sake of taking a photo. It’s a crappy photo.
Posted at 2012 May 28 12:00 am
Fail. I forgot to bring my camera everywhere. Ugh.
Posted at 2012 May 27 12:00 am
I saw my EE buddies today because one of them came back from South America and is heading to Whodaho very soon to start work. Saw some other friends I haven’t seen in a long time as well.
Posted at 2012 May 26 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 25 12:00 am
It failed. For those who looked forward to paying for parking in Seattle using the system my partner and I tried to start, I disappoint. My partner and I talked to the SDOT, and it they said they already went with a vendor who does phone payments. They will label the blocks in Seattle, and then people can pay using a phone along with the block number. Enforcement will use license plate recognition to check cars, a bit of a hassle, especially if cars are parked very close together. Our RFID technology is superior, and our app would have been nicer (I was working on a cool map selection). Where did we fail? Timing. Had we submitted at the same time as other vendors earlier this year, I would be confident that we would have the deal. But now, we shall be happy that there is an alternative (that costs an extra $0.35 though) to those shitty green machines. Welcome, Verrus.
I went to the U district, and for the first time, I don’t have much to do. I walked to Red Square and sat among the hustle and bustle, but it wasn’t hustle and bustle inside me. Moments of peace. A bit of emptiness. A break is good though.
Posted at 2012 May 24 12:00 am
My grandma’s friend came over and brought her two sons (2 and 5 years old) with her. I played with them for a while and then got back to work. But, it was unproductive because the kids kept bugging me. They were really cute and fun though! I love kids.
Tonight was a good night though :D And, my middle finger nail was polished.
Posted at 2012 May 23 12:00 am
A friend came back from traveling to India and Southeast Asia, so I went to see him tonight. Being deprived of good beer, my friend suggested to go to a bar, so we went to a place in the town center to have beer and ran into a lot of high school people (who were not together). There was one acquaintance I knew, some I knew of, and many I didn’t know even existed. The acquaintance’s friend actually went to the same high school and university the same years as me, and I didn’t even know her.
Posted at 2012 May 22 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 21 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 20 12:00 am
This is the 5th wheel on my chair. I remember a Land Rover commercial during NBA Playoffs that was about a guy being the 7th wheel. Oh how I empathize with him.
Posted at 2012 May 19 12:00 am
“It’s ok, one’s all I need,” I said to my friend after he tried to hit me another ball so that I could have a backup ball for second serve, but it ended up not getting across the net. It was 5-4, 40-30, and I hit a hard serve that sent the ball crashing into the corner of the service box near the T and shooting into the fence, getting stuck in the fence. 6-4, victory. This was the highlight of today, but don’t get me wrong, that was the only impressive serve or shot of the day. We were playing at about an NTRP 3.0 rating, maybe even less, good grief!
This photo is of a fresh jar of peanut butter and bread. I might as well advertise for the bread, while I’m on the subject. It’s the best mass-produced bread I have ever had, this Health-Full series by Oroweat (or Brownberry or Arnold, depending on what part of the US). I’ve had the 10-grain and Flax & Fiber, and both are amazing. It has good taste and the texture is smooth and springy. I haven’t had strong, positive opinion about bread before, but this is a bread I’ll vouch for.
Posted at 2012 May 18 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 17 12:00 am
Fail. Forgot to use camera even though I brought it along with me to UW.
Posted at 2012 May 16 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 15 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 14 12:00 am
Monday blues, not a cloud in sight. Now, if only I could go outside and play…
The photo is the back side of McKinstry, which I visited because IEEE had a tour. A cool thing I learned is that they are looking into more energy monitoring. I believe this is will be one of the hot things in the future, like big data.
Posted at 2012 May 13 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 12 12:00 am
In the morning, I went to eat dim sum with my family for Mother’s Day. Afterward, it was just me coding in yet another day of amazing weather. Tonight, the Hong Kong Student Association put on a singing contest and had MC Jin as a guest performer. Entry was expensive, but I decided to go so I can see MC Jin, and he was amazing. Of course, his Cantonese raps suck, although some kid was a big fan and was reciting lyrics (kid obviously has bad taste), but Jin’s English raps were good. He freestyled though, but his skill is nowhere near that of his past years. Nonetheless, he really got the crowd going. I was at the front of the stage and was able to shake his hand.
Posted at 2012 May 11 12:00 am
A bunch of friends got together tonight for dinner at a pizza place because one came back from grad school for the weekend for a wedding. The pizza at this place called Tutta Bella was great – good dough, good cheese, tomato sauce tasted like tomatoes. It was another friend’s birthday too. Like all large get-togethers, it’s very hard to be able to talk to everyone, especially at a cramped restaurant where it’s difficult to move around. Later, we went to Babyface’s place and caught up with each other’s lives. I cherished these moments, for the separation has already begun, and times like these will be ever more rare. One friend has already gone away to grad school, and we don’t see him much anymore. Inevitably, another friend will have to leave to med school, bringing good ol’ Babyface along. As for the others, who knows where they’ll end up?
Anyway, the photo of the day is this birthday dessert. There was another photo of Babyface that was good, and I think I like that one a little better, but I try not to post photos of people for privacy purposes, same with names.
Posted at 2012 May 10 12:00 am
Got some good iOS review done. I’d like to get this over with so I can do awesomer things with my life. Awesomer is not a word, but instead of reaching to press the backspace button, I type more.
Posted at 2012 May 09 12:00 am
I postponed my decision to go on a trip with my friend until after I talk with the government. I had told him I’d go a few months ago, but recent developments in the startup is giving me second thoughts. As much as I would like to go on the trip because I don’t want to flake out like some of my other friends, I believe I am needed in this startup. Moreover, this is something that can help me in achieving my dream, so it’s important to me. Talks with the government haven’t been scheduled, which is why I haven’t made a decision yet. If the government people will cooperate with us, then the startup is on. Otherwise, I could go on the trip with my friend. I still feel really bad that I’m making him wait.
In other news, I was headhunted today by some guy from New York.
Posted at 2012 May 08 12:00 am
My back is starting to hurt because I’m playing too many video games. I need to take more breaks and find a freaking PS/2 to USB adapter.
I used Photoshop to make my photo bland – bland like my life right now.
Posted at 2012 May 07 12:00 am
I’m beginning to not know what to say.
Posted at 2012 May 06 12:00 am
Seems like all I do these days is watch TV and play video games.
Posted at 2012 May 05 12:00 am
I keep waiting until the last minute to take a photo.
Posted at 2012 May 04 12:00 am
Friday night – didn’t go to Golden Pitcher beer chugging competition between the engineering departments, didn’t go to hang out with friends, just stayed at home and learned more Objective-C and iOS ever so slowly.
This is the view out of my back yard.
Posted at 2012 May 03 12:00 am
More iOS programming today. I’m getting a good foundation in Objective C. Shouldn’t be too long until I can make some screens for an iPhone app. I could skip ahead and make those screens, but I want a good foundation.
Almost forgot to take a photo again. I faced my camera under my bed and took this.
Posted at 2012 May 02 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 May 01 12:00 am
I had an idea of what I was going to photograph, but then I forgot to take the photo. Fail.
Posted at 2012 April 30 12:00 am
My role is going to be iOS development, so I am working my ass off learning iOS. A new Macbook would be good, but I have to wait for the new version to come out in June. I want it NOW (just like everything else). Impatience, I believe, is even more characteristic of this generation than those of the past.
Posted at 2012 April 29 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 28 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 27 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 26 12:00 am
I took a photo today, but then I got caught up with writing a program to get statistics on my photos. I extracted the EXIF data from my raw files and wrote it to a .txt document using exiftool. Then, I wrote my own program to parse and plot the data.
Posted at 2012 April 25 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 24 12:00 am
Fail. I remembered that I needed to take a photo as I was driving, but I forgot by the time I got home. I bought a UW surplus computer for my aunt, met with my cousin, and attended an acquaintance’s startup networking event (party).
Posted at 2012 April 23 12:00 am
No Monday Blues today – it’s sunny and warm! I played basketball today, but I didn’t wait for the sunscreen to bond with my skin, so here is the result. I had a bath tonight, and coupled with great home cookin’, I had a very happy night. I was so content that I wanted to be unproductive and watch a movie, but of course, I resisted.
Posted at 2012 April 22 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 21 12:00 am
I went to bed and rolled around for a long time. Suddenly, I forgot I didn’t take a photo today. Near fail.
Posted at 2012 April 20 12:00 am
Before going there, I went to check out Husky Fest, which is the celebration for UW’s 150th birthday. Expecting swag city, I instead only saw a non-bustling Red Square with mostly empty booths because I was too late. It was 3 p.m., and the booths were done giving stuff away. This is a photo of inside the main tent where there are performances. There’s also a pretty Windows Campus Tour tent next to it, but it was shitty. Basically advertisement for computers. I could have entered a drawing for a new laptop, but I didn’t. It wasn’t worth my time to fill out a form. I never win anything anyway.
Posted at 2012 April 19 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 18 12:00 am
I did a bunch of reading on my EZ430-Chronos watch as well as see my friend for the last time before he leaves. Sad day. At night, I had dinner with my other friend after he had happy hour courtesy of Oracle. He brought along his friend, who just got promoted, so that person bought us dinner and took us to a movie called The Raid: Redemption. It was a really hardcore Indonesian action movie. Not at all intellectually stimulating, but it was a good straight up action movie. The fight scenes (most of the movie) were well done.
Posted at 2012 April 17 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 16 12:00 am
I had afternoon lunch with my friend who is leaving back to Indonesia on Wednesday. He paid for the food even though I offered money. He gave me Indonesian rupiahs in exchange for my money. I don’t know why. I’ll use them when I go there though (won’t be for a long time). Later, I went to meet my cousins to catch up after my time away from the States. It turns out that while I was peacefully enjoying my vacation, they have been raging and going apeshit. One of my cousins knocked down a door frame and did a bunch of other crazy antics. My other cousin has been disliking her job and has been quietly brewing a shitstorm that will be unleashed when she leaves, which is definitely sticking it to the Man and his System.
My solo travel has gotten my cousins to consider it. I also found out that my cousins (cousins my age) have been basically mentoring and cultivating my smaller cousins about the Man and the System, about living a meaningful life, etc. I have not done so and feel a tiny bit ashamed. Just a tiny bit. My way of influence/inspiration to my younger cousins is through action. I don’t need to give the talk – cousins my age have that covered. I just need to do the walk.
Posted at 2012 April 15 12:00 am
Once again, I was the third wheel. And once again, I took nice photos of the two of them, just like in the past. Actually, one of the photos turned out pretty well. It almost made it as the photo of the day. Usually, I hate photos with people in them because most people are so unnatural – especially those who do the damn duck lips or the V with their fingers. The combination makes me want to shoot them in the face. I digress.
Sunrise today produced fantastic, vibrant shades of gray from the clouds on the east side. The west was clear and had no clouds. ‘Tis a shame the sun doesn’t come out from the west. But then we wouldn’t have been able to see those amazing shades of gray that made it worth waking up super early right? Simply put, sunrise today was gray-t.
Not regretting waking up super early though. It was still good that we beat the crowds. We entered at 9:00 a.m. at Roozengarde. The sun peeped out, which illuminated the tulips, making them appear to glow and create natural contrast and definition. I chose this for the photo of the day. After walking for about an hour and taking photos (that’s what my friends get for bringing a photographer), the garden inside Roosengarde was starting to become infested with savage children. We headed to Tulip Town 1.8 miles away. That was a different scenery because there was more variety. By the time we left, at about 11:00, it was prime time for the crowds. The car line was getting ridiculous, probably would take an hour to get to the parking area from the end of the line that came out to the big streets.
Posted at 2012 April 14 12:00 am
I finished my book today! Now all I have to do is get it printed. I also watched Hunger Games. Not on my favorites list, but was a pretty good movie. This photo is of some decoration at a restaurant near the Alderwood Mall where I watched the movie. My friend called me to see tulips tomorrow, and I suggested going at sunrise. It’s a gamble, but the odds are better than not going at all. So, I’ll wake up at 4:30 and leave at 5:00. I’m about to sleep, and it’s 12:30. Ugh.
Posted at 2012 April 13 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 12 12:00 am
I spent all day today stitching panoramas together. It’s a good thing I found a script online that helped automate the process, since I had many panoramas to stitch. The code didn’t work at first (things never work the first time), but luckily I know enough code to figure out how to make it work for me. All the panoramas are stitched, so now I begin choosing which photos to put in my book.
Every meal I’m having at home tastes amazing. At the doctor’s office, I saw that I lost about 6 pounds since a month ago when I went in for some vaccinations. I’m pretty sure gaining all that back won’t be hard with good home cookin’. I might need to restrain myself.
Posted at 2012 April 11 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 10 12:00 am
Finally caught up with my posts. The posts for the previous few weeks have been long because I wanted to write everything down so that I remember many years later in the future. Today, I put away most of my stuff. My foot is still swollen, and I can’t really walk around.
The photo of the day is of Bboy llamas on my souvenirs.
Posted at 2012 April 09 12:00 am
Posted at 2012 April 08 12:00 am
Today was a day of transportation. I arrived in New York City and took the subway to the Metropolitan Museum. During the subway ride, I met this person who told me how where to get off because I had to transfer. The E line was not fully operating. The Met was pretty cool, but the Louvre in Paris was much cooler. I didn’t go through all of the exhibits because there were so many, and I was not that interested. There was one painting that I really, really liked. It’s called “Springtime” by Auguste Cot. The lighting of the subjects was done very well, and the girl’s face is captivating.
I then went to Times Square to take a photo. Feeling hungry and not wanting to eat at a nice restaurant because NY is expensive, I lined up at McDonald’s to get 2 McChickens. Even McChickens are expensive. $1.69. There was this girl who was trying to cut in front of me, but I said, “You’re in the other line, right?” “Yeah, I’m there.” “Good, thanks.” Bitch tryin’ to cut me. My phone was still on Lima time, and luckily I remembered and headed back, making it just in time for my flight.
Posted at 2012 April 07 12:00 am
Today is my final day in South America, so I have to finish all my souvenir shopping. I went to the Indian Market and walked around a whole bunch to find souvenirs. I bought scarves and a blanket for my mom. I got there at about 10 when shops were opening (usually opens at 8:30, but today was later because it’s after Good Friday). Because I was early, I was able to get an amazing deal on a baby alpaca blanket. Shop owners are really willing to give a deal on the first sale because they believe it will bring them good luck. I walked all the way to Avenida La Mar to eat ceviche at a restaurant called La Mar. This is the photo of my meal. I had the ceviche chalaco, and it was delicious. It contained fried calamari with assorted bits of seafood, and it was very sweet, which shows the seafood is fresh. They give appetizers of chips made of banana, yam, and potato, as well as bucket of crunchy corn.
I then walked 20 blocks to Larcomar, the big touristy mall. I was hating the walk because it was slow, and long, but then I started enjoying it because the area along the coast is beautiful. This was the rich area with nice parks, families enjoying the coast, kids skateboarding at the skatepark, people playing tennis at the clay tennis courts that I really wanted to play on, people running and biking, etc. After buying a really expensive scarf for myself at Kuna, I went back to the same shop at the Indian Market (yes, more walking) to buy scarves, and I was able to haggle down the price from 88 to 55 soles. The owner was willing to give this price because I had bought from her before. I’d spent all my money now. I went to the Huaca Pucllana ruins that were close to the Indian Market to find that I was 3 minutes late. They closed already. I was able to go inside a get a quick glimpse of it, but the tours that bring you inside the ruins were not operating anymore. So, I missed out. But, after seeing Machu Picchu, I wasn’t too bummed out. At night, I went to Wong’s, the supermarket, and bought some pisco and other candies for souvenirs. I went to Rincon Chami, a restaurant Angelo recommended for some Peruvian food. I had to run to the ATM to get money before ordering becaues I had no money. Hot and sweaty, I ordered the Aji Gallina con Arroz (spicy chicken with rice), an Inca Cola, and a potato dish with bunch of sauce on it (not good). I actually ordered a Coca Cola, but my order was taken down incorrectly. Oh well, the Inca Cola just makes my meal even more Peruvian. The main course was basically gravy chicken and potatoes and rice, which was fairly good. Being really full and not able to finish the potato dish (wasn’t good anyway), I left as fast as I could because the taxi was probably waiting for me at the hostel.
Posted at 2012 April 06 12:00 am
I forgot to change my clock from Bolivia time to Peru time, so I ended up waking an hour early. The flight to Lima was good, and I didn’t encounter any problems. My seat was fantastic; I was the only one in that row and got the window seat with an amazing view of the engine. I arrived at the hostel and was greeted kindly by the host, Angelo. I went to El Punto Azul to eat some ceviche because I didn’t get to do it last time. After walking about 20 minutes to get there, I discovered that it was closed from April 5th to 8th. This was supposed to be the best ceviche for the price. According to Angelo, you would pay twenty something soles for good ceviche, while other restaurants charge about 40 for the same quality. My other plan today was to go to the Indian Market and the ruins I didn’t get to see last time I was in Lima. Angelo said that because it was Good Friday, basically nothing was open (including the Indian Market and ruins). So, I stayed and chatted with this person at the hostel. He was a guy in med school residency and interested in photography.
Later, we went to the area between El Parque de Amor and the lighthouse to find the guy who does paragliding. It turns out there was not enough wind. But, we stayed to take some photos of the coast, and eventually, the people started paragliding. After test runs, they said that they could take only light people, and I was light enough. Paragliding is amazing! Jumping off the cliff and flying is a great feeling I cannot explain. I took some photos in the air, but they didn’t turn out that well. Later, while I was waiting to see if my friend would be allowed to have a go, a person approached us and asked if he could pay us to take photos. So, I said yes, and he handed me an SD card. There were several people that were ahead of my subject, so I went around the paragliding area to take photos. I had a great photo of a paraglider landing at sunset. But, I realized I was using the person’s SD card! I asked the paragliding company person if he could transfer the photos to my card, and he wanted to charge me 20 soles. I didn’t think it was worth it, so I didn’t do it. There was not enough wind, and it was getting dark, so my subject did not get to go. The guy said he could email me the pics, so I really hope it happens. I have a feeling it won’t though. I went with my new friend Matt to eat near the central park because that was one of the few areas open during Good Friday. I saw a bunch of people praying in the middle of the street. The mob filled the street, and there was a cross in the middle. I asked the waiter what he recommended, and he said seafood because they didn’t have meat. I forgot that people here don’t eat meat on Semana Santa (holy weekend); only seafood was available. We ate ceviche and arroz con mariscos (seafood rice). Unfortunately, none of us brought our cameras. Both dishes were tasty.
Posted at 2012 April 05 12:00 am
After getting from the airport to the hostel, I took a combi (small van where people just get on and off) up to Tambomachay. I paid for the student ticket, which was 70 soles, and walked up to see the ruin. It wasn’t spectacular. I took some photos, and then headed to Pucapucara, then next ruin. I took a shot of the llamas in the valley below and discovered that a pair of them were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Pucapucara was even less spectacular. I started walking on the paved car road and wondered if there was a hiking road. There probably was, but I flagged down a combi and went to Q’enko. Q’enko was a bunch of big rocks, and I didn’t know the history nor find it interesting. I walked to Sacsayhuaman and out to a viewpoint of Cusco. It was a pretty nice viewpoint. There was another one that had a Christ figure that I originally was going to visit, but I don’t think that one was as good. Even if it was better, the gains are not worth the effort.
I walked around Sacsayhuaman, and again didn’t find it really interesting. It could be that I have seen Machu Picchu, which is much more grand, or that I don’t know the history of these ruins. The visit today to the four ruins around Cusco was basically for the sake of having visited them.
As I made my way down, it started raining. I stumbled into Plaza Nazarenas that I couldn’t find that other day. I wanted to get here to visit shops that had alpaca (still trying to find more souvenirs for family). In one shop, I ended up chatting with the two women about what I’m looking for, where I’m from, and somehow ended up talking about programming.
I then left to lunch at Don Mateo. It was raining, and I was glad that I didn’t lunch before visiting the ruins. I would have been rained on in the ruins. At Don Mateo, the menu was 15 instead of 8 soles. This was because of Santa Semana. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter, so this is the holy weekend. This explained why there was a full 3 course meal that consisted of 2 mussels for appetizer, a soup, main course with rice, potatoes, shrimp, and beans, 2 deserts, and a drink.
After lunch, I stayed in the hostel to write more journal entries. At night, I went to a place called Mana’s Grill, where the pasta was hand made. I ordered the Spaghetty Carbanara, and it was really salty. The banana juice with milk was quite tasty though.
Posted at 2012 April 04 12:00 am
I got up early and waited in front of the Madness office for the Death Road bike ride. There were 2 other people waiting, and in the end, we had 9 people total. After getting our gear that smelled of sweat, we embarked onto the bus and headed up to our starting point. We stopped to get some breakfast, even though the office person said there will be no breakfast and I needed to bring my own. I bought some cheese empanadas and a cheese croissant last night. These were not good. Two of the empanadas had a bad smell (sook味). The guide said that we could get off the bus to buy some food for breakfast or get a “Bolivian breakfast”, which is fried chicken and fried potatoes. I didn’t buy anything. When we started again, the guide, driver, and assistant had some drinks in their hands that were in plastic bags. No cups here; they’re too expensive.
I started to see a light spot during the bus ride, and I was worried there is a problem with my eyes, but then the bus stopped. The guide said we were beginning the ride here from 4700 meters above sea level. So, that spot I was seeing was because of high altitude, and I stopped worrying. We got our bikes and started the downhill journey. The road was paved, but visibility was bad at some parts where you could only see about 3 meters ahead. Going down, I started to see spots because I was not getting enough oxygen and riding hard and trying to go downhill fast. During breaks, I had to wipe my sun glasses with the nasty gloves because moisture got on them, making it even harder to see. Glad I left my Oakleys at home.
We got to one part that was uphill, and we took the bus instead. When we stopped, we started the unpaved part of the journey. The paved part we had been doing was part of the new road, and this unpaved part is the old one. There are still cars that use it, and I don’t know why. The road is EXTREMELY bumpy, narrow, and windy. This beginning part fits about one and a half cars, and some parts fit only one. There is steep part with sharp curves that cars going up have right of way. The convention is that cars going downhill will have to reverse until there is space for the uphill car to pass. There are small waterfalls along the way that are unavoidable too. The fall from the cliff is deadly because it is a straight fall. It’s like going off a wall. While riding, we are told to ride on the side of the cliff and curve in because this gives a bigger radius for turning. After about halfway, my fingers joints started hurting because I was trying to grip onto the bike, but the vibration, even with a full suspension bike, tried to rip them apart.
I was always up with fast group (2 boys and the guide), and there was this German who always starts near the middle and passes people to get up to the front. He was really good. There were a couple times I almost lost control. Once was near a waterfall where I fishtailed a little bit. Another was near the beginning when I leaned into a curve too hard (habit from bike racing days) and the bike started slipping. I can’t say I almost died on this excursion. I can only say that I almost almost died.
The last leg of the road was fun. It was more technical, and I heard from one of the people in the group who did this before with another company say that they only take the group on this part if the group has been doing well. This part was indeed more technical because the gravel was also fairly loose, there were gaps that could flip your bike, the road was narrow, and the road was windy with some sharp curves.
By the end of the trip (about 1 p.m.), my mouth had some sand in it because the path was so dusty, and when I wiped my eyes, I found bits of dirt. I also smelled like the sweaty helmet and gloves. We then went to a hotel to eat crappy food and wash off. I enjoyed the shower a great deal.
At night, I went and bought a sweater for my grandpa. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw more money from the ATM, which costs money each time. Being my last day in La Paz, I wanted to spend all my money. I calculated what I needed and withdrew the money. I forgot that I needed 50 Bs for taxi in the morning, so I didn’t have enough money for a full dinner. With 14.5 to spend on food, I bought a burger with fried potatoes (6 Bs), a saltena (3.5 Bs), and then went to another burger joint to haggle the guy for a 3 Bs burger down from 3.5 Bs. I later found out that the locals get a burger for 2.5 Bs. With 2 Bs left, I told the guy to give me a small bit of chorizo (sausage) and potatoes. He did, and that was the last of my money. I have 50 Bs left for the taxi tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 April 03 12:00 am
I walked to the street of my hostel and parted ways with the French couple. Because it was so early, breakfast was not served yet. It was about 7, and breakfast starts at 7:30. After waiting and then eating, I hopped on the computer to write more entries into my Photo 365 blog. Afterward, I asked about how to get to the Valle de la Luna. The hostel person said to go to Plaza San Francisco and take a minibus or a micro. I walked to try to find a restaurant called Yussef to have lunch because Lonely Planet recommended it. After about 30 minutes of walking around and searching, I didn’t find it and ended up eating at a Cuban restaurant. It was one of the best meals I had.
I ended up taking a minibus from Plaza San Francisco for 2 Bs. The micros are the shitty old vans that look shady. The minibuses look more legitimate, are just as old, and even shittier because they are way slower. I overshot and got off at the last stop, so then I had to take another minibus for 1 Boliviano to get to the entrance of the Valle de la Luna. The Valle de la Luna was understimulating. The rocks were very odd because they are sedimentary rocks that have been carved out by wind. The park is just a circuit that people walk around to imagine the different figures, such as the Lady’s Hat. Some were really hard to imagine. I walked around for about 30 minutes and finished the circuit. The Lonely Planet guide made this sound much more dangerous than it actually is. It said to beware of robberies inside and try to go with someone else. Know how many people were there at the park? Three others. They were leaving as I was going in, so I was the only person in the park.
After this, I headed back to the hostel with nothing else to do. So, I went and shopped around. The alpaca clothing is really cheap here, so I decided to get sweaters for my dad and grandpa. I also walked around and ended up buying 5 llamita (small llamas) keychains for general purpose souvenirs.
Posted at 2012 April 02 12:00 am
Leaving at 5:30, we go to geysers first. It’s just a bunch of steam coming out of holes. It’s not that awesome. As we drove, the sun started coming out, and I saw that behind, there was a really pointy, sharp mountain that started turning red at the point, but I didn’t ask to stop because I wanted to get to the springs at sunrise. I think it would have been a good photo. We got to the hot springs, and the sun was up a good way already, which made me a bit unhappy. The scene was awesome though because of the steam coming from the hot spring. There were some birds a little way into the distance, and the steam made for a good photo. I especially liked that there was the lone flamingo in the scene. I was bathing my feet into the hot spring and enjoying it until that flamingo appeared. Then, I dried off as fast as possible to get a photo of it.
After the hot springs, we went to Laguna Verde, and since there was no wind, the lagoon was not green. With wind, the zinc, gold, and other minerals I don’t know would stir up and give the lagoon the green color. This was kind of cool. Again, I am probably spoiled from seeing other lagoons as well as lakes such as those at Torres del Paine or Mount Fitz Roy. We then backtracked to head to Uyuni. Along the way, I notice that the scenery is really nice. It then realized that the past few days has been scenic. I made the driver stop a few times to take photos.
To sum up, the tour was a bit disappointing because I didn’t get to see the full mirror effect at the Salar de Uyuni, and this “classic” route does not see the salar at sunrise, The arrival at the hot springs was bad timing because we got there after the sun had come up. With sunrise and the steam from the hot springs, the view would be amazing. The last crappy thing was that I was the only photographer.
With all expectations aside though (which led to the disappointment), the tour was good and scenic. The driver was safe, and the food was better than I expected (except for that last dinner). I believe the 4 day tour starting from Tupiza would be better though. They also get to see sunrise at the Salar de Uyuni. The best time to go would probably be 2nd or 3rd week of March. There would be more water for a good, solid mirror effect, as well as dry areas of salt for perspective photos (which I personally don’t care for) because it is near the end of the rainy season.
We got back to Uyuni at about 5:30, so we packed up and hung out for a while. We also got some street food (hamburgers). The French couple took the same bus as me. They were jealous that I got the front seat by the window, but it turns out that it’s not a good seat. There is music from the driver even though the door is closed, light from the driver’s cabin peaks through, which is not good for sleeping, and there is no cup holder nor fold out table to put the meal on. The only benefit is that there is more leg room. I forgot to get my ear plugs, so it was hard to sleep. The ride was also very bumpy, which is expected.
Posted at 2012 April 01 12:00 am
It turns out my shirt didn’t dry and instead iced over. So, the bottom part of my shirt is hard. I’m glad I didn’t wash my pants. I walked around the town and took a few photos. Then we headed off to the Valle de Rocas (Valley of Rocks). These were a bunch of rocks that had weird formations. They are here because they’re volcanic rock that was a result of volcanic eruption. Maybe I’m spoiled, but this doesn’t seem very cool to me. The next stop was at a lagoon (forgot the name) with flamingos in it. The driver was good because he dropped us off at a point where we would walk closer to the flamingos, and then walk a little more to have lunch at the car. To clarify, the driver opens the trunk of the Toyota Land Cruiser, and he lays all the food out, and we put the food on our plates. Afterward we headed off and saw a broken down car. Our driver stopped and tried to help, but it didn’t look like we could do/did anything. During this time, there was a whirlwind that I was able to take a photo of. We left them to fix the car; perhaps it was decided that they have it under control.
Later, we went to the Arbol de Piedra (Tree of Stone), which is a rock formation in the odd shape of a tree because it is also a volcanic rock formation. The rocks are pretty weird, but I didn’t find them that interesting. We didn’t spend too much time here, so we headed off to Laguna Colorada. We had to pay 150 Bs to enter the national park first. The lagoon has a lot of flamingos in it, and it was a red color because of the minerals. I tried to take photos of flamingos in action, that is flying or flapping wings or the like, and now I understand how patient one must be when bird watching. I also wish I had a longer telephoto lens. It was windy here, and I ended up with a headache. I believe I got a few good photos though.
Tonight, the food really sucked. It was spaghetti (worst spaghetti I’ve ever had) with mushrooms (there weren’t any mushrooms) with a bottle of wine (wine was awful). There was no dessert neither. As for amenities, there was a public bathroom with no showers. The room was basic with only a light and six beds. The beds were more comfortable than the ones from the first night, but I doubt they wash the sheets. I put my shirt over the pillow, believing for some reason that lice could not find their way through a layer of cloth. I thought about going out to stargaze tonight because there was even less light here compared to the location of the previous night, but it was quite windy, and we had to get up at 5 the next morning.
Posted at 2012 March 31 12:00 am
We started late on the tour because one couple was late, and then we had to pick up a guy at another hostel. I thought we were supposed to meet at the office. Anyway, we had 6 people, which was better than the full 7. I get to ride shotgun yayyy! We went first to the salar because weather was good. Before this first sight, we went to Colchani, a small town where I think they bring tourists in hopes that they buy crafts at the shops there. With all the cars from other companies parked here, I saw that our car was one of the newer ones, which is good because it means I chose a good company.
When we got to the salar, I was disappointed. Although we got to go to the watery part so that I could take a photo with the mirror effect, there were chunks of salt sticking out, which made it not the full mirror effect. I had the Irish guy try to take a photo of me doing a push up with my arms flung out so that it looks like I’m flying, but the guy sucked at using a camera. I gave up after 2 tries. My hands had small scratches because the salt scraped them when I landed. I had to lick the salt layer off before the injured areas stopped bleeding. Interestingly, the spots don’t sting. We then went to a dry part of the salar where there were small mounds that workers formed. I got the Irish guy to try to take a photo of my jumping off of the mound. He failed. This was an easier shot too. So, I tried a second time and slipped right when I leaped off the mound, which resulted in me falling on my ass and splashing into salt water. So then, I was partially wet, and once it dried off somewhat, there were salt stains. I had salt on my face and hair as well. To make things worse, the Irish guy didn’t catch that on camera. We went to Hotel Sal, where lots of people were taking perspective photos. I don’t really like perspective photos because they’re pretty silly and have no artistic merit. The four French people had a blast with them though.
We then went to the train cemetery, which sucked because it was just a bunch of crap with a few super old trains that had graffiti on them. The four French people enjoyed taking more photos of themselves. To clarify, there were 2 French girls who signed up together and then another French guy and girl who signed up together but don’t know the other French girls. The French used up 3/4 of their batteries taking perspective photos.
I don’t know what town we stayed for the night in, but the place was really basic. The curtains weren’t mounted right because the hole in the wall was really big, so it fell out. There was one light in the room. They also charge for hot shower. There was one public bathroom, and it reeked. Building character. I washed my black Nike thermal in the sink and hung it on the clothesline outside, so I hope it dries tomorrow. I didn’t wash my pants though because I only have one pair, and if it doesn’t dry, I’m fucked. So, I didn’t take the chance.
The 6 of us went out at night to see the stars because we were in the desert, and it was clear. The moon was very bright, and on the other side, the stars were very dense, almost like a galaxy. The sight was awe-inspiring. Of course, I couldn’t capture this on camera (this is why we travel). I’ve seen stars before for sure, but seeing them so dense together incites a whole other feeling. I was stupefied. The view makes me ponder – about who I am, what I value, and what my purpose is. Many people say they feel small during stargazing, but I never understood that. Now I do. I wish I had longer to sit and gaze at the stars and ponder, meditate, but I needed to sleep because tomorrow we get up early.
Posted at 2012 March 30 12:00 am
After the paved road, the unpaved section to Uyuni began, and it was really bumpy. I was probably getting stage 1 sleep. In the morning, I saw the sunrise, but it was not spectacular. For breakfast, we were given crappy fruit loop cereal with yogurt. We passed some places with a few houses, and they really gave me the poor, 3rd world feel. I wanted to take photos there, but I’m sure I’ll have more opportunity.
I arrived at Uyuni and found my way to the hostel. The rest of the day was for booking Salar de Uyuni tour and resting. From lack of sleep, I was really tired. I asked the hostel person what tours are best, and she said that they hear good things about Andrea Tours (next door), Cordillera, and Red Planet. Red Planet had an English speaking guide that was mandatory, and I heard from a person in the lounge area say it was about 1100 Bs, so that was out of the question. I went to Cordillera and then to Andrea tours. Andrea tours had a better salesperson, so I ended up choosing them. But, I asked if I could look at other companies just before I signed the form. This made the lady a bit disgruntled, but she said “ya”. I did this dick move when she said that the national park entrance fee of 150 Bs was not included in the 750 Bs price. She said all other companies don’t include it. I’d trusted her before, but I don’t know why I didn’t trust that. I left to Cordillera to ask; indeed it was not covered. I went right back to Andrea Tours, and they were locked. So, I hung around the city with nothing to do for a while. Luckily at about noon, the lady was there, and I finished the booking. Now I don’t feel as bad. I went and bought a bag of coca leaves and lejia. Lejia is the alkali used to change the pH inside your mouth to be more basic, which allows the coca alkaloids to be absorbed better.
Oh yeah, I bought a lock before I went tour shopping. The lock was to lock up my big backpack at the hostel because my room wasn’t ready until 10 or 11 (I checked in at about 7 or 8). The candado (lock) I bought at the market was really interesting. It said that it was made in the USA (doubt that) and that it was maximum security (also doubt that). But upon further inspection, it has 4 fins, 3 of which have the bumps. This makes it hard, if not impossible, to pick. Well, now I give this lock more credit.
Anyway, I then got lunch at a joint around the corner because the Andrea Tours lady recommended it (joint was owned by her friend Margarita). I bought a burger for 6 Bolivianos. Then I bought what I thought was an empanada but later was told by the hostel person that it was a tucumana. He said that empanadas are made of cheese and sometimes has meat, and tucumana had potatoes, some veggies (onions and a few peppers), and an egg. The tucumana was pretty good. Oh, also, the empanada is baked, whereas the tucumana is deep fried. I went upstairs into my room and met room mates who were checking in the same time as me. One was Italian, and the other was Spanish. They were both really nice. I walked around town some more (as if there was anything more to be seen) and bought a cap. Super tired, I went back thinking about taking a nap, but I discovered that room mates were busy talking in the room, so I hung out in the lounge of the hostel. I ended up watching the movieUnknown. It was good except for the premise that – not gonna spoil anything. A group of Londoners joined after the 2 girls and I finished the movie. The girls left to do other stuff, and I stayed to watch another movie with the Londoners. We decided on The Detonator. Within the first minute, we knew this was a shit movie.
I took this photo of my coca leaves. Photo sucks, but it fills the requirement.
Posted at 2012 March 29 04:23 pm
Today was a lot of exploring in the city of La Paz. When I arrived, I got out to the front of the airport and haggled with the taxi driver for 55 Bolivianos to 2 places. He was asking for 60. His first offer for 50 to Todo Turismo office where I needed to pay for my night bus to Uyuni was actually reasonable. I ended up convincing him for 55 Bolivianos. We arrived at the Todo Turismo office, and I told him to wait for me. A stupid thing I did was not get my backpack out of the trunk. I realized this almost as I got to the door of the office. If this was a non-legitimate driver, he could have easily driven off with all my stuff. After paying for the bus to Uyuni for tonight, I arrived at the hostel I was about to stay at after I get back from Uyuni. The person there showed me a map, and I oriented myself. I went to the Plaza de San Francisco, then to La Basílica de Nuestra Señora in Plaza Murillo. There was this little girl who was feeding pidgeons, and the number of pidgeons were so overwhelming that they were literally all over her./
A thing I noticed walking around La Paz is that there are many women wearing bowler hats and dressing in the same style. There are also shoe shiners everywhere. Another interesting thing is at the main square (Plaza San Francisco) there are a lot of crappy vans (the super old box kinds) that have people yelling out stuff. People get on them like normal, but it just looks shady to me. I then walked to Calle Graneros to see the clothing market. Turns out there are a lot of counterfeits here (just like China!). I spent a good deal of time picking sun glasses because I hear that it is really bright in Uyuni. I finally decided on a pair of fake Ray Ban Wayfarers, yes, the old man kind. All the others were just really crappy quality. This pair did cost 35 Bs, which is $5 USD, so no complaints.
I took a taxi to Mirador Killi Killi to get a good view of the city. It’s not that cool for a photo because it just looks like a lot of houses packed densely together. I met a German guy here and talked with him. I ended up sharing the taxi back with him too. He talked about how he was going to book the Death Road bike ride. I knew my schedule had an extra day in La Paz, so I asked what he found out about the companies. He said he went to several and decided Madness was the best, so I trusted him and joined him in going to the office. I made a reservation there for the day after I come back from Uyuni (April 4). I had dinner with this German guy at a Thai restaurant. It took a long time for the food to arrive, and I scarfed the food down in 15 minutes so that I could catch a taxi to make it to the Todo Turismo office in time.
The bus ride had a small portion of food for dinner, much like that of airline food, except not as hot. I didn’t sleep that much. At one point, I did go to the back of the bus where there were 2 open seats and lay down. That was good sleep. The attendant then woke me up because that was where he put stuff like food and water for serving people.
Posted at 2012 March 28 04:23 pm
I was debating whether to go and see the ruins today or actually go and buy souvenirs, and I ended up doing the latter. I went to thee Centro Artesanal and looked a long time, and ended up buying a sweater for my grandma. Hope it fits. I also bought 3 designer alpaca scarves from Werner & Ana. Don’t quite know who I’ll give them to. Anyway, another fail today because I forgot to take a photo.
Posted at 2012 March 27 04:22 pm
We began at 4:30 in the morning to queue up for entrance to Machu Picchu. There were 6 other groups ahead of us, so we didn’t get up early enough. We waited an hour before the gates let us pass. From there, it was about an hour to an hour and a half to the Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate), where we get to see the first view of Machu Picchu. On the way, I lagged behind because I needed to take off my jacket. Hiking on this is somewhat stressful because there is always someone on your tail, sort of pressuring you to go forward. I slightly touched a guide from another company when passing him, and he made a big deal about it. He said in a disgruntled tone, “Hey, you almost bumped into me. Be careful next time.” After that, he was always trying to pass me. Anyway, despite the presence (and pressure) of the tourists around when walking to the Puerta del Sol, this hike was very good. There were many animal sounds, and the fog and low light made this a very jungley experience.
We got to the Puerta del Sol and saw a clear (but far) view of Machu Picchu. This is supposedly a classic postcard view, but I didn’t think so. Because it was early, the fog and clouds were low, but they started to rise rather quickly. People were very busy taking photos, as was I. Our guide said today was the first time this year he has seen Machu Picchu from the Puerta del Sol. When the fog covered the view entirely, our group started heading on the path to get to Machu Picchu. This means we get closer, and I was kicking myself for not doing so earlier instead of staying at the Puerta del Sol.
Finally, we arrived at Machu Picchu, and luckily there was no fog covering it. This ancient Inca city, especially after 4 days of hiking, was very impressive. We took a group photo, and I tried to go up higher, but then a security person told me I needed a ticket. It turns out that our group needed to go to the office to register and get our tickets. After doing so and storing our bags (for 3 soles) and going to the bathroom (1 sol), we hiked all the way back up from the office to the best viewpoint of Machu Picchu. Our guide said that the other guides do not take us all the way back up, but he does so because he wants us to have an amazing experience – great guide. At this viewpoint, he let us take photos and then gave us a lecture, which started with 3 minutes of silence. This was very enjoyable because it forced us to get out of the tourist mentality to appreciate Machu Picchu in its glory. He then talked about the history of how it was found by Hiram Bingham and then took us around to important parts of the city, such as where they sacrificed llamas, where people lived, as well as special monuments the Incas had. At the end, we had some time to walk around on our own. We just had take the bus to Aguas Calientes and meet at a restaurant called Pachamama by 2:30. So, I decided to go find a llama to get a photo of because I wanted the classic llama with Machu Picchu in the background. We hiked all the way back to the best view of Machu Picchu, and luckily saw a llama. Another person from the group tagged along with me, and we chased the llama up. We snuck around and got to a higher terrace, at which point I succeeded in getting the classic photo. Afterward, I also got a photo of 2 llamas that looked like they were kissing, and of course, with Machu Picchu in the background. We then headed to the bus station, and I asked for a photo of me doing a handstand with Machu Picchu in the background. The guy wasn’t as good at photos as my friend I went with to Torres del Paine, but the photo turned out okay.
At Pachamama, we ordered overpriced food (~30 soles) that had really bad rice. Some of us then stayed and chatted for about 2 hours. Before heading off for the train, I went out to find a cheap place to get some food to eat on the train. I ended up getting an empanada for 10 soles. Others said they wanted to get outside food, but they ended up getting snacks at a nearby grocery store. When I brought that empanada back to the meeting place (Pachamama), everyone was jealous. We headed off and then took the train to Oruro and then a bus to Cusco. After saying goodbyes, I got back to the hostel on a taxi to end the day. Today was a good (but long) day.
Posted at 2012 March 26 04:21 pm
Yesterday was cloudy and rainy, and today was cloudy as well. Last night, I heard an absolute downpour in the middle of the night, and I’m glad there was no rain today. Still, my pants, shoes, and socks are wet, but they started drying during the hike. The scenery is still not spectacular. It’s been approximately the same the whole time with a few small ruins here and there. The trail is definitely not as scenic as Torres del Paine, which means I’m spoiled. We went to a big ruin today called Sayaqmarka. It was kind of cool. Since we stayed longer than we probably should have, I got a photo of part of the ruins without any tourists in it, a difficult feat.
As we continued walking, it eventually became just me because people went ahead on the descent and others lagged farther behind. I caught a glimpse of a double rainbow over the Sacred Valley, which was really cool.
Posted at 2012 March 25 04:20 pm
Today is the hardest day because everything is uphill and very steep. I began to see the group splitting up into fast and slow groups. The guide gave us coca leaves with a catalyst called “lifta” (“lipta”? don’t know how to spell or say it). He taught us the ritual to use the coca leaves, but of course everyone, even the locals, just shove it into their mouths. The ritual was just for history and culture. The coca leaves really work because we were hiking a steep trail from about 3000 meters to 4000 meters above sea level, and I felt like normal, compared to being easily winded on flat roads in Cusco.
I was up with the fast group, and about an hour from the top, it started raining. It rained so hard so suddenly that when I put down my backpack with my back against the rain to get my rain jacket and cover my backpack with the rain cover, the back of my pants were drenched in one minute. We persevered, and near the top, it was like chocolate milk flowing down from the stone steps. I wanted to take a photo of that, but I knew that everything would be drenched if I stopped to take my camera out of my backpack. I got to the top and waited a little bit with a few others. The guide told us to keep going, so we started the slippery descent to the camp. I slipped and fell, and fortunately it was not bad. The descent was a knee killer. At camp, the rain lightened up and then eventually stopped, but my supposedly waterproof jacket, pants, socks, and shoes were soaked. I discovered that the bottom part of my sleeping bag was a bit wet too. With about 3 hours to kill before dinner, I went inside my tent and started drying my sleeping bag with my legs. By dinner time, it was dry. I wore my wet pants to dinner in hopes of drying those as well. There was no chance that my shoes and socks would dry though, so tomorrow will not be good. Today was a hard day, probably the hardest hiking day I’ve had, taking the slope and rain into consideration. I now understand why they gave us a T-shirt that says “I survived the Inca Trail”.
Posted at 2012 March 24 04:20 pm
Today is March 24, and I began my tour on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. On the bus ride to the beginning of the trail, I fell into light sleep on the bus, but at one point, I woke up and saw gorgeous scenery, at which point I whispered, “Beautiful.” Unfortunately, the bus could not stop for me to take a photo of the snow-capped mountains with green meadows. Another point along the way, there was a great view of one of the cities (I don’t know which), but again, I could not stop to take a photo.
The Inca Trail isn’t very spectacular, at least today. Our guide’s name is Saul, also known as “Cocaman” by others on the trail. He would explain flowers and things along the way. Porters, the people who carry our stuff, zoom by with much more weight than what we had on our backs. They were also only wearing sandals. What surprised me most was the lunch we were given. A tent was set up and metal plates, cups, silverware ready for us to use. I did not take a photo of the lunch, but it was quite good (keep in mind that we are up in the mountains). At night when we arrive at camp, everything was set up, and we have a nice dinner.
Posted at 2012 March 23 04:19 pm
I thought about going to see the 4 ruins around Cusco today, but since tomorrow I begin the Inca Trail hike, I’m going to take it easy today. Additionally, I caught up with all the photo uploading and posts! For those of you who read this, I’m sorry that posts don’t get uploaded very frequently. Internet is really bad in South America, like I’ve said before.
The best thing that happened today is lunch. I ate a menú today at Don Mateo right across from the hostel I’m staying in. A menú is a set lunch that includes soup, appetizer, drink, and main course. It costs 8 soles (/2.6 = $3.07 USD) Although it’s not great, it’s better than the other stuff I’ve had here in Cusco. This meal is probably more characteristic of Peruvian food because of the interesting spices. There was papa huancaína (yellow sauce on 3 slices of potato), ají (chili or spicy sauce), chicha morada (drink made of purple maize and fruit), and the main course bife de ternera (beef with onions and tomato and potato, side of rice, and slices of oven roasted potato).
Posted at 2012 March 22 04:18 pm
I only woke up because my host knocked on my door and said that my taxi was ready. My phone alarm did not sound, which really frustrated me. It was very surprising that I was able to wake up immediately and gather everything in 5 minutes.
I then was taken to the airport and got on my flight to Cusco. At Cusco, I haggled with different taxi drivers on price for getting to my hotel. Multiple taxi drivers hounded me. I finally got on one for 8 soles and arrived at my hostel, which is kinda far from the main square.
For lunch, I ate at Los Toldos, and about an hour later got mild food poisoning. I was about to head up the stairs at the cathedral at the Plaza de Armas, but I stopped to catch my breath (mild altitude sickness). At that point, I needed to take a dump ASAP. So, I stormed into the closest restaurant (KFC) and searched for a bathroom. I’m glad it wasn’t too bad.
I got into my hostel and started unpacking my stuff. It turns out that I’m rooming with a network security IT consultant and a programmer, and we spent some time using backtracking to try to crack into another network (suckers using WEP) because the network at the hostel is like molasses. Unfortunately, the packet injection was just too slow because the other signals are weak, so we ended up having to use the hostel’s crappy Wi-Fi.
At night, I went out with my room mates. I talked the most to the one who does network security. We later talked in McDonald’s because it was a bit cold outside, and then we went to an Irish bar and found other people.
Posted at 2012 March 21 04:17 pm
In the morning, I went to El Parque del Amor because the hostel host recommended it. Speaking of the hostel host, this is the best host I’ve ever met. He gave me a lecture of the sights around the main square and helped me plan my trip. After the stroll in the park, I went to meet my friends who are in Lima to learn Spanish. My original plan was to go with them to eat lunch and then head off to the city center, but the group of students were going together to eat lunch, so I tagged along – bad idea. We went to a restaurant that wasn’t very good, even though the styling was nice, and the thing that irked me most was that it took a really long time to eat (the case when eating with a bunch of people). So, time for the city center was cut short. My friend and I headed off, and his girlfriend went shopping. Shopping was what I was supposed to this morning so that I could have a reference for stuff in Cusco. We explored the main square, going into museums and looking at churches. The gastronomy museum wasn’t that cool. The churches were pretty cool though. The Santo Domingo church’s intricate ceiling was fit together like a puzzle with no nails. It is an amazing feat because it still holds up today even through major earthquakes (such as the 8.0 one in the past). The catacombs of the San Francisco church was a bit eery, since there were so many bones and skulls there, presented in dim light. Nonetheless, it was really awesome.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try ceviche because it’s recommended to eat it at lunch because it’s fresh at lunch. I just went out for a crappy meal and met up with friends afterward to go to a bar. I had a pisco sour, which was not that good. The one my friend had was good though – bad luck on my part. I headed back to the hostel and was greeted by my host. We got into a conversation about social matters, and I talked way longer than I intended. It was like 1:30 when I went to bed after packing all my stuff.
Posted at 2012 March 20 04:17 pm
Today was basically a day of transportation. I flew from El Calafate to Buenos Aires (AEP airport). At AEP, I met a Japanese guy who was also going to Lima. We had to transfer to EZE, which was how I met him. I went to ask about free transfers at the Aerolineas Argentinas office, and he tagged along. We had a good chat during our transition from AEP all the way to Lima, and it’s nice because I can ask him for tips for my Japan trip that will be sometime in the future.
I arrived at Lima, and the hostel’s arranged taxi driver picked me up. The north side of Lima where the airport is located is pretty dirty and ghetto. Miraflores is cleaner, but still not quite pretty. Well, this might not be accurate because it’s 11 at night, and I’m seeing things from the back seat of a taxi.
I’m supposed to find two friends who are taking Spanish classes at Lima, and I went out at about 12 am to find where they lived. It was now or never because I only have one day with them (tomorrow), and after that I’m heading to Cusco. If I don’t find them tonight, I won’t be able to see them tomorrow because I’ll be out doing stuff.
I knocked, and someone came to answer. The person said that everyone is sleeping, but then my friend comes out a minute later. He was sleeping and was awoken, which I thought was really lucky. So, we agreed that I’ll meet them in front of the school when school gets out at 12:30-ish tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 March 19 04:16 pm
Today, I part ways with my friend. It was really great traveling with her, and I don’t think I expressed enough how much I enjoyed our trip and how amazing I think she is.
Border crossing was a breeze at both Chile and Argentina offices. They just stamped my passport and didn’t have to check anything like they did last time.
I got to El Calafate and stayed at I Keu Ken. There, I called America del Sur to see if they found my towel, and they said no. It’s probably good because I really need the room for souvenirs. I basically skipped lunch, so I went to La Anonima, the supermarket in town, to get food. I bought pizza crust, cheese, and ham, and went back to the hostel to make it. The result was pretty good. The 4 Brits in the kitchen were really jealous and commented on how delicious my pizza looked. The bottom crust was a little too crunchy for me. It was a little burned as well, although not past the inedible point.
I then went to El Tranquilo to find some small souvenirs and ended up buying a bottle of Calafate berry liquor. It tasted pretty good.
Posted at 2012 March 18 04:15 pm
The skin on my feet are sore. Luckily, there were no blisters. Last night, we decided that we were not going to wake up at 2am and hike 3 hours up to the Torres to see sunrise. We were just too tired. Sunrise would have been amazing, but I am happy we slept in.
The trail up to the Torres was really boring. There was nothing along the way. It was basically all uphill too, with the last part being the steepest. It was pretty windy up there, and unfortunately, clouds were covering Torre Sur. There are 3 towers, Sur, Centro, and Norte. We waited and waited for the clouds to go away, and we didn’t succeed. Sur peaked out infrequently for 2 seconds each time, and it still was not fully exposed. As we waited, there was a man who took a dip into the lake. We thought he was really intense because the water is freezing, and wind gusts sometimes got to 60 mph (gusts knocked me off balance, which is about 60 mph). We then headed down.
The Torres were not spectacular. It was my least favorite of the sights in Torres del Paine. The road up there is boring as well with nothing to see until you got up past a ridge to see the Torres. This makes it an all or nothing sort of hike.
It took us a little over 3 hours to get up to the Torres and about the same to get back down to the refugio. It was harder going down because it was so steep. By the time I got down, a mini blister started to form on my right heel. Luckily, I have 2 days of rest, so it ought to be fine. We took the 7:30 bus back to Laguna Amarga and transferred to another bus that took us back to Puerto Natales, arriving at about 10:30.
I lost my sandwich, so I basically had trail mix all day today, which made me really hungry the entire day. Back at the hostel, my friend gave me a bit of her ham and salami and lettuce that left at the hostel, and I made use of the them along with pasta from the free food bin. It turned out to be a much better dinner than I expected because I originally expected to eat straight up salami with lettuce and ham because I didn’t find any bread to make a sandwich. The soup from the free food bin was salty, and after dinner, my mouth was dryer than my humor. At least I’m full.
I then packed my stuff for tomorrow. My friend found out that she got matched for medical school residency at her 2nd choice school. I’m very happy for her, although I don’t think I expressed it very well. Tends to be my problem.
Posted at 2012 March 17 04:14 pm
I woke up at 6 today and looked outside, hoping for good weather. I saw patches of clouds as well as a really bright moon. Despite the bright moon, I saw vibrant stars. On a clear night, a sky full of stars would be amazing. Inside, the wind sounded really loud, but there was no rain. We began our long day at 8. As the sun came up, mountains to our right and ahead of us shone a bright pink and orange mix – it was beautiful. There were some clouds covering, but not so much that our view was gone. It took us an hour and a half to get to Camp Italiano. We then headed up Valle de Frances, and luckily, the water level for the portion where we were going up a stream was low enough for me to skip rocks. We approached the first mirador, and this is where I took one of my favorite photos of the trip. My friend was hiking up, and the lighting of the mountains and sky was amazing. I think the photo captures the glory and feeling of our hike up the valley.
Near the end, it was steep. But, it wasn’t for very long. We finally reached Mirador Britanico, where beautiful mountains surrounded us. It was 60 degrees of a good view of the back from where we came from and 300 degrees of amazing views of the mountains. Photos cannot capture this magnificence, and neither can videos. This is why we travel.
Leaving at about 1:30pm, we arrived at Camp Italiano and took a very short break. I am usually ahead of my friend, and I stop to wait for her every so often. Not long after Italiano, I discovered my friend was taking a long time. So, I head back to discover she had gotten a blister on her heel. We considered having me head back first so that I can radio the other refugio to save us dinner, but I decided we should stay together in case something more happens to her. We got to the refugio at about 3:45, packed our stuff, and left about an hour later.
Shortly after getting on the trail to Refugio Torres, we encounter the park patrol. He stopped us and said that we need to go back and stay at Cuernos. This would throw off our entire plan. He argued that by the time we got there, it would be dark, and it is his responsibility to keep us safe. He also said we would be exhausted from a long day. My friend tried to reason with him that we were experienced, the day was clear, and that we can make it to the refugio. He did not budge. He also said that it was the rule that we cannot go out after a certain time. My friend pointed out that was not written anywhere, and nobody told us neither. I then saw that reasoning with him doesn’t really work, so I begged him politely to let us go, ensuring him that we can do it and that we will be safe. After about 2 minutes of this, he let us pass. Luckily, the combination of our efforts convinced this stubborn park patrol to let us go.
Posted at 2012 March 16 04:13 pm
Today was going to be our long day. We intended to hike to Camp Italiano and then up Valle de Frances and back down, and then go to Refugio Cuernos. But, it was rainy and cloudy, and by the time we got to Camp Italiano, we our coats were starting to get wet inside. We were cold and uncomfortable. Because of the weather, we decided it would not be worth it to go up the valley because the clouds would cover everything. So, we swapped our short day (which would have been tomorrow) and made today our short day. I decided to go ahead because my friend was contemplating staying at the camp, changing different clothes, and warming up before heading to Cuernos. About 30-45 minutes after I left, the rain stopped, and there was a little bit of sun. There was a rainbow by the beach, which was pretty nice.
Checking in at Cuernos made me instantly hate Fantastico Sur, the private company inside the national park (really odd) that owns half the refugios in the park. They charged me a tax that required that I show my passport with Chilean entrance slip in order to waive. This was not mentioned to me before the email, and now they are charging me.
I saw the couple who we met at Refugio Grey (and saw again at Camp Italiano) and asked them how the valley was. When I left Italiano, they decided to go up to the valley because otherwise they would not be able to see it. They said that when they got up there, it was not raining and had cleared up. This was probably about the same time I was at the beach and saw the rainbow. They said there was a mirador about an hour and a half up the valley that was unmarked, and the view was great. This made me extremely jealous. I really hope that tomorrow would be clear so that we can go up the valley.
Food here was about the same as Cuernos. Thankfully, they did not serve dinner cafeteria style. Again, they served bread with soup to begin with, and then the main course, which was pork with pasta. The desert was bread that was moist with something sweet and sort of milky.
Posted at 2012 March 15 04:12 pm
Today, we hiked up to a mirador (lookout) North of the refugio with our daypacks. Feeling motivated, we decided to head to the John Gardner Pass, the famous lookout that people get to see when doing the whole Paine Circuit. It’s a lookout that is supposed to give you a vast view of Glaciar Grey. This would be a very long day because we would have to double back and then hike 3 hours to Paine Grande to sleep. Between Camp Guardas and Camp Paso, though, we saw a spectacular, vast view of Glaciar Grey. This was not the John Gardner Pass though. A couple was hiking up from the ledge, and we asked them how this compares to the John Gardner Pass (we knew they were doing the whole circuit). They said it was not very different. Of course, the John Gardner Pass would have given a better view of the glaciers in the mountains, but we thought gains were not worth the effort, so we headed back. We were both very happy with the view and our decision to hike this far up.
We reached Paine Grande before 7:00, which gave a small bit of time before dinner. The dinner was served cafeteria style. Again, there was the pink drink. I didn’t take it. The food was worse than at Refugio Grey. There was soup, canned fruit in a bowl, some unknown vegetable I asked about and forgot the Spanish name, and the main dish, which was a slab of pork with pasta underneath. The pasta did not have sauce.
Posted at 2012 March 14 04:11 pm
Our hostel helped us schedule a bus that goes and returns from the Torres del Paine park; turns out they get commission. Anyway, we headed off in the morning at 7:30. It took about 2 and a half hours to arrive. Once we got into the sort of the park boundaries, the bus gave us a back massage. I was surprised that bus is still in one piece after probably many trips like this into the park.
We took a catamaran to Refugio Paine Grande (about 30 minutes) and then hiked to Refugio Grey, which took about 3 hours. Hiking through the burnt part of the park, it smelled of ashes. There, we settled into our room, which was pretty nice for a cabin in the mountains. Because we hiked today already, we had nothing to do. For dinner, they served bread and soup first, and I ate a bunch of bread and butter because I feared it was going to be it for dinner. It wasn’t. They took away our empty bowls and gave us the main course, which was an oven roasted chicken leg with rice and yam casserole. For dessert, they gave us an orange gelatin with chocolate smeared in an “X” shape. It was rather tasteless, so I didn’t eat much of it. The dinner was not bad. The worst part of it is the pink drink (made of water, sugar, and pink) that they served as the beverage.
After dinner, I was bored out of my mind, so I stood by the stove and dried my wet shirt that I used as a shower towel.
Posted at 2012 March 13 04:10 pm
We went to Puerto Natales, and luckily for us, our bus didn’t have many people, so border crossing was relatively fast. At the Argentina office, they checked our packs through a machine, and we got back on the bus. When we got out about 5 minutes later to check in at the Chile office, I was scared that I had to pay the entry fee, but I didn’t have to. YES! So, I was right – crossing into Chile on bus, you don’t have to pay the fee. I think you only have to pay the entry fee if you arrive at the airport in Santiago.
After arriving at Puerto Natales at about 1:30 , I went to get some money. I changed some USD to Chilean pesos. The pesos are really colorful! I think I like Chilean money most because it’s so colorful. We then attended the info session about hiking Torres del Paine at 3, which was a little informative. It was mostly stuff we knew about already, but it was good a good session. The guy was pretty funny too.
We went to Vertice’s office to see if we could change our first night to Refugio Grey. This would allow us to go as far up North as possible in hopes to reach the John Gardner Pass, which is supposed to be amazing because you can see a huge expanse of glacier from this viewpoint. Vertice people were nice and changed it for us. We then went to the office of Fantastico Sur to see if we can switch to Refugio Chileno or rent tents so that we could potentially see sunrise at the Torres on the last day. The people there were bitches. My friend asked if one of the ladies could answer a quick question, since the other lady was still talking on the phone, and she snapped back, “No because I am busy right now.” After the other lady was done talking on the phone, she told us that Chileno was closed after the 15th, and also tents are not rentable.
The last thing on our agenda today was buying food, and on the way, we bumped into a guy we saw at Fitz Roy and chatted for a couple minutes. Small world.
I didn’t have enough money, so I had to go to the ATM at night to get some more for park entrance fees, catamaran, etc. I should have changed/withdrawn more earlier.
Posted at 2012 March 12 04:09 pm
Fail. Can’t believe I didn’t take a photo today. Today was my friend’s day for checking on her email for med school results. I was busy transferring pics and fixing problems associated with that.
Posted at 2012 March 11 04:08 pm
Today, I went to Glaciar Perito Moreno. This is the third largest reserve in the world of fresh water. My friend and I heard that you can sit on the benches at the viewing platforms to wait for a big chunk to fall off because this happens relatively frequently. It’s all about luck. We only had one and a half hours on the viewing platform because we joined the Minitrekking tour from Hielo y Aventura. Pretty frequently we heard rumbling, which was from pieces inside the glacier breaking off, and then water flowing underneath. Ten minutes before we were supposed to leave, we saw a big chunk crumbling off and creating a big splash. It was very cool. We then went to trek on the glacier. They fitted us with crappy crampons, and we followed the guide around on the glacier. Unfortunately, we didn’t get so see nor go to any caves in the glacier. At the end of the tour, they gave us whiskey with glacier ice.
Posted at 2012 March 10 04:07 pm
After an amazingly scenic and rewarding 3 days and 2 nights of backpacking in perfect weather, today was a free day for doing nothing and hanging out. We walked around to Laguna Nimez and saw some flamingos. I discovered that my 18-200mm camera lens cover part started coming off. Five screws out of six had become loose, which is ridiculous. I went to the ferreteria (hardware store) to buy a destornillador (screwdriver) that turned out to be too fat for the screws. I ended up using my friend’s Swiss Army knife tweezers, therefore wasting 22 pesos on the screwdriver. I fixed my camera though – piece of shit. How can 6 screws get loose?!
Posted at 2012 March 09 04:06 pm
It was not worth it to go to Laguna Torre at sunrise we decided. It was a good choice because it turned out there were clouds, which would block some of the redness that would appear on the Torres. We left at sunrise and then headed farther to Mirador Maestri, which was just a closer viewpoint. It’s a nice view, but I don’t really think it was worth the extra walking. Of course, I’m glad we did it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people. I have to say that the lighting conditions were very difficult because it is so bright. The shadow parts did not come out nicely or the bright parts were washed out. I tried my best though.
We returned to El Chalten to discover that we calculated the days incorrectly and didn’t have reservations for the night in El Calafate, which we were about to leave for. With really crappy internet, I was able to make a reservation in a hostel called I Keu Ken in El Calafate 10 minutes before the bus left, so we caught the bus in time. Finding the hostel was sucky because we walked a bunch (not nearly as much as backpacking) to find our hostel.
This photo was taken at Laguna Torre. Yep, backpacking and doing handstands in Patagonia. Life is good.
Posted at 2012 March 08 04:05 pm
We decided to wake at 5am to hike and see the sunrise at Laguna de los Tres at about 7am. But, we woke at about 5:30, so we went at a hurried pace in the beginning. The ascent was grueling, and going in the dark made it more difficult. We made it in time for sunrise and saw the mountains become red when the sun rose. There were no clouds, and we saw the full glory of sunrise at Laguna de los Tres. Afterward, we returned to camp to eat breakfast and then headed for Glaciar Piedras Blancas. The trail was pretty fun because it involved scrambling through gigantic rocks to arrive at the shore. We headed back to camp, packed up, and left to Camp Agostini. Today was a really long day actually.
Posted at 2012 March 07 04:05 pm
I woke up in the morning and heard really loud wind, and as I rolled in bed about to get up, I thought about how people have said that they did not finish the trek at Los Glaciares National Park because the weather was too bad. My friend said the couple she talked to had to leave after one and a half days because the wind and rain was too intense (raining horizontally). Luckily, it turned out to be sunny with about 40-50 mph winds. We had problems finding a tent because they were all rented or all broken (one shop had 20 broken tents). We managed to find one, although expensive, and started our trek at about noon. We got to Camp Poincenot, the camping site, and camped there.
The photo is at Mirador Fitz Roy. It’s a viewpoint along the way to Camp Poincenot.
Posted at 2012 March 06 04:04 pm
To catch the 6:55 am flight to El Calafate, we woke up and left the hostel at 4:30. At El Calafate we had several hours before the bus left to El Chalten, which was our destination. This is the place to start hiking Los Glaciares National Park. Anyway, we bought groceries and hung out a bit in El Calafate. It’s definitely a touristy town. At the pizza place we chose to have lunch (well, only I was hungry), they were real sticklers about bringing outside drink into the restaurant. And, they charged 3 peso for boxing up leftovers. They did package the leftover egg and bacon pizza I had pretty well. We sat outside so my friend could eat a bit, and when we left, she left her purse on the sidewalk. We discovered this after we went back to the bus station. For the next couple hours, we panicked and searched for the purse because it contained all her credit and bank cards as well as her passport. So, we went to a locutorio to get telephone and internet access to cancel her cards. Without her passport, all of our plans were jeopardized because she can’t go anywhere. Luckily, someone found her purse and emailed in Korean (surprising). It was dropped off at a butcher shop, and the guy there said that someone dropped it off and the boss of the shop called his Asian friend who then emailed my friend in Korean. We were back at the bus station with 10 or 15 minutes before the bus left. What a lucky break!
We arrived in El Chalten and got to the hostel with no trouble.
Posted at 2012 March 05 04:03 pm
This morning, we went on a free walking tour to learn a little about Buenos Aires. It turns out protesting is the way to get things done. If you want something in the government changed, you would get people to sign a petition in the US, but in Buenos Aires, you gather a bunch of people to protest and stop traffic. The guide said it’s a common thing. After one hour, the free period of the tour ended, so my friend and I left to Palermo, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Palermo is supposed to have artsy shops, so we decided to check those out. La Cabrera is a famous restaurant for asado, the famous Argentine steak, and is located in Palermo, so we went there for lunch. The food was amazing, and that steak definitely lives up to its name. It ties the best steak I ever had (in Kimberly-Clark diaper plant). I’ll not go into the differences. We had a lomo (beef tenderloin) marinated with some herb I forget. This steak was 151 peso for 2 people, and we ordered a Malbec wine. Malbec is a type of grape in Argentina. There were free sides as well, like mashed potato, squash, garlic sauce, artichoke, corn and ham, rich spinach sauce, and probably some others I forget.
When we got off the subway back near our hostel, we encountered a thunder storm. It was windy and rained really hard, so we stopped by a cafe to hang out for a while. When it died down a little bit, we headed out to find our hostel only to discover we didn’t need to stop at the cafe because we were on the corner of the street our hostel was on. It was really close. Later, we went to check out a milonga hall (place where people do tango). There was a lesson that had already started halfway, and we debated whether or not to do it. I finally said let’s do it because I don’t want to regret not doing. It turned out to be fun!
Posted at 2012 March 04 04:02 pm
We went to the Recoleta Cemetery today. This is where all the super rich people get buried and have basically an underground room for their coffin under their already large tombstone. Since I didn’t know the history nor about the people, I didn’t find the cemetery very interesting. We then went to the San Telmo street fair to see some crafts and stuff people sell. Today is a Sunday, and people have break, so the streets we passed as we went to the fair were dead and basically empty. There were also people dancing Tango at the street fair. I didn’t buy anything at the street fair. Coming back, we went to Cafe Tortoni, the oldest restaurant in Buenos Aires. The interior was pretty nice. My friend had a small coffee (basically a shot of espresso) with a dinky churro and an alfajore. I only had an alfajore. She gave me half of the churro, and it wasn’t that good. The alfajore was pretty good. It’s a sweet thing with cracker and dulce de leche sandwiched with chocolate layered over it. At night, we went to see the show Senor Tango. It was really flashy Tango and basically like a Vegas show. I enjoyed it. We got back to the hostel at about 1:30, and we made plans for tomorrow. Since I was really hungry, I went out after making plans (2am by that time), to find food. Of course, everything was closed, so I went a block further and saw a dark alley with a food joint open. I went there and got a burger. Worst burger ever, but it took away my hunger.
Posted at 2012 March 03 04:01 pm
The morning in Buenos Aires is actually quite pleasant. But contrary to the name of the city, the air is anything but good. Noon and after is hot and humid. A big chunk of my day was walking around to see the area around the main street I live on. I also walked across 9 de Julio, the widest street in the world. It’s not as amazing as it sounds, just a super wide street. I tried to get a photo from a high vantage point but failed. I went to hostels I didn’t live in as well as into an apartment. Both were a bit sketchy because I followed a person into an apartment acting like I lived there and went up to the roof just to discover there was something obstructing my view of the street. I then gave up and went back to the hostel.
My travel buddy found and I finally met, and I ate dinner with her. When we walked back, someone said my backpack was open. I saw that my Moleskine notebook was gone, so we went back to the restaurant to confirm that I didn’t leave it there. It must have been stolen, and I suspect it was the person who said my backpack was open. I also realized my headphones were stolen as well, but those were kinda crappy anyway, so I don’t really mind. Good thing nothing more valuable got stolen.
Posted at 2012 March 02 04:01 pm
This is a photo I took as I landed at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport. Getting through the customs and stuff was EZE (easy, get it get it?). The lines were long though. I heard the Banco de la Nacion was open 24 hours, but that was because there is an ATM there. I withdrew some money and then took the 180 peso taxi to my hostel. The taxi driver was crazy because he tailgated the hell out of other cars, being one foot away from the bumper of the car in front at 120 km/h. Lines don’t really serve purpose on the roads because drivers straddle them like they aren’t even there. The hostel is kind of crappy, even though it’s supposed to be good. Probably good by South American standards. My locker was broken, so they put me in a private place for tonight.
Posted at 2012 March 01 04:00 pm
Today was mostly frantic packing and checking that I packed everything. I called some hostels and made reservations as well.
“That was a loooong flight,” said the guy sitting a seat away from me as the Seattle to Miami flight was descending. Obviously, the guy hasn’t traveled much. Not that I travel much neither, but this isn’t thatlong of a flight. Every time I fly, I complain about how cramped the seats are. The Miami International Airport isn’t as nice as Sea-Tac. And, there’s no free wifi.
This is a photo of a gigantic touch screen with people playing on it. I saw this while waiting at Sea-Tac airport.
Posted at 2012 February 29 03:59 pm
Printed out my itinerary and receipts. There are still a few hostels and stuff I haven’t booked yet. A big part of the day was spent hanging out with friends, although I did spend time at the book store with a friend reading books. I read and took pictures of a Buenos Aires guidebook. This was productive. My friend read about hikes all of us can go on when I get back.
The morning was really snowy, and this was what I saw as I left my house this morning.
Posted at 2012 February 28 03:58 pm
Coming back from returning a wireless USB thing, I went to fill up gas. As I left the Shell gas station, I saw a car drifting out of the Albertson’s parking lot – totally unnecessary. Turning near Seattle Hill Road, another car drifts into the road. At that point, I wanted to drift as well, since I saw cars on two occasions drifting. But, I refrained because I might roll my van over. Lots of flight and hostel booking today. Wrote a detailed itinerary too. Damn phone battery still didn’t come in. I called the company, and they gave me a tracking number. I saw that the battery was shipped today. Assholes. Good thing I had told them I’m leaving tomorrow, when in fact, I’m leaving the day after tomorrow.
Posted at 2012 February 27 03:57 pm
I encounter more trouble today booking flights from Cusco, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia. Even the airline booking process seems kinda shady. At the end where it says to reserve, I see that it doesn’t have an option to pay. So, I ended up calling their office in Miami. There are some posts on the internet about how bad Aerosur is, but hopefully this is the silent majority. The complaints, though, were of flights from Bolivia to US. I think there are going to be delays and airport troubles ahead, and I hope these will not be too problematic though.
Photo is of George Washington looking over the U District. I went to class today about access technology. The lecturer talked about technology to help people with accessibility issues such as blind, deaf, or motor impaired people. It was somewhat interesting.
Posted at 2012 February 26 03:57 pm
Today, a lot of flights and hotels were finally booked. My travel buddy had finally gotten an off day to catch up, so she had time to discuss. There was one company that didn’t accept my credit card correctly, so that needs to be booked tomorrow. I also bought guidebooks for Peru and Bolivia. After comparing the books from different companies, I decided to go with Lonely Planet on both of them. Although some of the other companies like Moon and Rough Guides had a more visually appealing layout or had more hotel listings, the Lonely Planet books present the information with the traveler in mind. Rough Guides wrote in such a way that was like explaining what places were like encyclopedia style. Moon and Lonely Planet categorize better and make it easier to find stuff quickly.
I told my friend that I’d keep up with the posting, but it’s going to be spotty while I’m on vacation. Still will try my best though.
Posted at 2012 February 25 03:56 pm
We hiked West Tiger Mountain #3, and it was snowing today, contrary to the weather report. The snow views were pretty good, and I enjoyed the hike. It was my first time hiking in the snow, and it wasn’t very cold. The incline was kind of steep, which was good, but I couldn’t go the pace I wanted because one of my friends was tired and had cramps, so we frequently stopped. Old people passed us multiple times, which was irksome. The good thing was that we took turns being caboose and walking with that friend. I actually don’t mind my friend lagging behind because having him out here is great. Definitely respectable, unlike some of my other friends.
Posted at 2012 February 24 03:54 pm
I was going to go out and buy stuff for my trip, and my friend called me to go and get a couch for her and bring it to her place. Her parents found there was only one more left at Costco, so I met her parents at the Woodinville Costco and loaded it into my sports van’s trunk after her parents bought it. It fit perfectly into the van with all the seats taken out. Her parents offered to fill up my gas tank, but I declined. If a good friend of mine asks me to do a favor, especially one that’s out of my way, I don’t do it for money. My time is very valuable, and money or some crappy thing like gas is not going to satisfy me.
Moving the couch was lucky because it just happened that a professional mover walked by just as we were unloading the new sofa. He helped us move it in. We then went to get stuff to eat, which was good because I’d not had lunch. My plan was to eat two apples I’d brought. The salmon piroshki at Piroshki Piroshki at Pike Place Market was really good. Another lucky thing was that REI was super close to where my friend lived, so we went and bought stuff I had planned to buy today. Her boyfriend, also a good friend of mine, got finished at work, and we went to Sea Star to eat. He tried to give money to me for helping with the couch, but once again, I don’t do favors for cash. It was kind of odd because I actually felt a little disgusted at the sight of that cash. I hold a lot of goodwill debt, and my friend pointed that out. For now though, the goodwill loan shark is happy because spending time with friends is something I value very much. It’s why my other friend and I make bets with steak dinners and not money. The steak dinner is more than just a dinner; it’s time with a friend.
This photo was taken at my friend’s place. I noticed the kitchen area had a lot of blocky looking forms, so I found it interesting. Now I must go to sleep. Had to finish off this post.
Posted at 2012 February 23 03:54 pm
Went to UW to exchange my Euros to USD from my friend. She is going on a trip to Europe, and I had leftover Euros. Beneficial for both of us. The nice thing was that the 60 Euro came out to be $80.01 USD, so it was really convenient. I also listened to a talk about bootstrapping. The good thing about the talk was not about bootstrapping, but how/why the person began in his businesses. It makes me think about opening my mind for other models.
Posted at 2012 February 22 03:53 pm
Uneventful day spent planning.
Posted at 2012 February 21 03:51 pm
Packing to see if stuff fits into my hiking backpack. Today was a lot of trip planning because the travel plan is very tight. It’s quite frustrating because my travel buddy is on for only a limited time every night, and I have to get consensus before booking anything.
Posted at 2012 February 20 03:51 pm
Posted at 2012 February 19 03:50 pm
I went to a food styling photography meetup and shot photos of food. A strobe is totally necessary. I discovered that there are some people who have really, really nice cameras but don’t take very good photos. There was a professional food photographer there, and I found out a tiny bit about how they do things in that industry. Companies have people who style the food, and there there are people who make the set with all the props (set-up crew), and finally there are the photographers. The photographers are not allowed to touch the food, and they take a bunch of shots around the food. It’s cool to get lighting and stuff set up around the food and end up with a nice looking photo, but this lacks the deeper artistic aspect of photography. As such, I will only get basic lighting equipment just to expand my skill breadth in studio photography.
Posted at 2012 February 18 03:46 pm
There was a lot of snow at Mount Baker today. I went snowboarding there with friends, and afterward, this is the result of one of the cars parked close to our car. The snow formation is odd and interesting because the wind kept blowing.
Posted at 2012 February 17 03:45 pm
Bunch of wires connected behind the back of the TV.
Posted at 2012 February 16 03:44 pm
I met with Conceivian’s CEO Saqib Rasool today, and his insight really helped me. He talked to me about how very important it is to define the market as what need I am trying to fulfill. In startups, you can try to go for unidentified, unmet needs. Because he did not do enough market research in the beginning, he spent $500k and all his savings and ended up closing his business down. So, I took his advice to begin to research the market and test my assumptions.
This photo is of some engineer council guy who spoke at UW about getting professional engineer certification. It was rather useless.
Posted at 2012 February 15 03:44 pm
Posted at 2012 February 14 03:40 pm
I went to eat and see “Man on a Ledge” with my friend and came back pretty late, so I took this awful photo to fulfill requirements. It’s blurry. Ugh.
Posted at 2012 February 13 03:39 pm
It feels great to check off all the stuff on my to do list. I was very efficient today. Ran a bunch of errands and even made artichoke and spinach dip. It was only ok.
Posted at 2012 February 12 03:38 pm
Posted at 2012 February 11 03:37 pm
Went over to my cousin’s place to talk about our website. My aunt had a pretty bouquet of roses that I decided to take a photo of.
Posted at 2012 February 10 03:37 pm
Finally, we booked one of the refugios for the Torres del Paine hike. Yayyyy!
Posted at 2012 February 09 03:36 pm
Tried to get the software radio stuff to work, but installation was a pain and doesn’t work. So, I give up. Photo today is to fulfill requirement.
Posted at 2012 February 08 03:35 pm
Went to see Scott Bright’s presentation at EEB 303. Then, I went to drink and play trivia with friends at Iron Bull. We then moved across the street to Moon Temple, where we had shitty, greasy Chinese food and trash cans (type of alcoholic drink that has a can of Red Bull in it). It was quite a drunk Wednesday. Sucked too because the alcohol passed, and I still could not sleep when I got home at ~4 a.m. because of the Red Bull’s caffeine.
Posted at 2012 February 07 03:34 pm
Nothing much happened today.
Posted at 2012 February 06 03:33 pm
Went to class today, and then waited to have dinner with cousins. One of them didn’t make it to dinner. Then, I went back to the library to wait to talk to my travel buddy, who did not call/gchat/email.
Posted at 2012 February 05 03:32 pm
Super Bowl Sunday! These are a friend who is studying and one who is helping her. We had a bunch of food and beer, and I didn’t really want dinner later.
Posted at 2012 February 04 03:31 pm
Posted at 2012 February 03 03:30 pm
I went to Synapse’s beer:30 (starts at 5pm, don’t know why they call it beer:30) today with my cousin. Unfortunately, I did not get to see my mentor Scott Bright, but I did meet a bunch of cool Synapse-ters. The traffic to Seattle was terrible, as expected.
I see rings on this photo, which is due to the .png compression. The original does not have this. Quite unfortunate.
Posted at 2012 February 02 03:27 pm
Got my new camera today! It feels amazing to take a photo; it’s the sound of the shutter release that makes it feel good. I had a super noob moment. I was trying for the longest time to figure out why the dial doesn’t change my aperture. I later came to the realization that there was ANOTHER dial near the shutter button that I didn’t see. My old camera had one dial, and this new one has two – one for shutter speed and one for aperture. Although it seems like a happy day, I was mostly unhappy today because of startup, feeling of insignificance, and the potentially drab or failure-ridden future that lies ahead of me.
In this photo, I am using white space to direct the viewer’s focus onto my subject: the clock. This photo expresses our focus on time, which spurs the related ideas of tardiness, making most use of our time, the past, just to name a few. Wow, a new camera really does make your photography better haha.
Posted at 2012 February 01 03:27 pm
Ran an errand for my dad. I went to a bunch of business complexes asking if they were interested something similar to a deli service where someone brings food to the complex at a certain time frame every day and employees would come down and buy that food. Of the 3 complexes and about 6 companies I asked, only Aerojet and Astronics were interested in catering.
This photo is of a view from the side of the road (Willows Road). It looked cool, so I took a photo. The view was much better in person, and I could not capture it on photo.
Posted at 2012 January 31 03:26 pm
Fail. Took a photo, deleted it, and then forgot to take the actual one.
Posted at 2012 January 30 03:25 pm
I went to Safeway to get my malaria and typhoid fever drugs for South America trip, and I saw the gummy vitamins on sale for buy one get one free, so I bought two. Gummy vitamins are really yummy! ^_____^
Posted at 2012 January 29 03:25 pm
I filled out the haxlr8r hardware startup accelerator program with my cousin. If we get accepted, I’d not do my South America trip. I believe the possibility of us getting accepted is really low, and I told my travel buddy this. It probably gives her great frustration because it certainly gave me great frustration knowing that my travel buddy would probably be frustrated. She told me that just wants confirmation, and so do I. I didn’t anticipate it being this frustrating because I really am expecting to go on this South America trip.
Don’t know why I took this picture. Felt right though. Lens (50mm f/1.8G) is sharp too!
Posted at 2012 January 28 03:23 pm
I went with Xing and his girlfriend Annabelle (3rd wheel once again to my utmost delight) to Vancouver, BC. Because we had limited time, we only went to Canada Place in Vancouver and ate lunch in Richmond. The food at 田园东北人家 was really good. We had the 酸菜 （pork, noodles, and vegetable in a sour soup), 锅包肉 (crispy thin slices of pork)， 凉皮 (spicy cold wide rice noodles that are transparent)，肉饼（pan fried meat pie, might be called 门钉肉饼, I don’t know), and the last dish I forgot. It was a bunch of sliced pork and vegetables that you put into a flat tortilla, roll it up, and eat.
The bad part about the trip was that Annabelle didn’t know to bring the I-20 that proves she’s a student. When we went back to the US, we were stopped because she needed to have an I-20 to prove that she was a student. Long story short, we waited at the border for about 2 and a half hours, and the way we ended up allowed to leave was that the border control people got her username and password to MyUW to verify that she’s a student. Xing and his girlfriend were really sorry for causing me to have to sit with them and wait, but I wasn’t angry because nobody knew.
Posted at 2012 January 27 03:22 pm
I got a Hepatitis A immunization today. Not much else happened. It’s a chill Friday.
Posted at 2012 January 26 03:20 pm
Got my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G today. I like this lens.
Posted at 2012 January 25 03:19 pm
Almost forgot to take a photo.
Posted at 2012 January 24 03:17 pm
新年快乐，万事如意！Happy Chinese new year! This is some stuff my grandma burned （拜神）.
Posted at 2012 January 23 03:17 pm
Today, I went snowboarding, so I didn’t take my camera. I went with a friend whom I met just 2 weeks ago. Normally, I snowboard on blue runs, but today, I went on double black diamonds because my friend and the others who went did that. Surprisingly though, I was totally fine with it! Interesting observation: it’s hard to go from blue to diamond, but it’s easier from blue to double diamond. I believe this because the diamonds are still groomed and result in hard falls. Double diamond is in forest area, and the powder is so very soft on the booty.
Night time, we went to the restaurant to eat dinner because it was the eve of Chinese new year. By the time I got back, I had forgotten to take a photo, and was super tired.
Posted at 2012 January 22 03:13 pm
Finally decided to take a photo of my awesome new credit card. It’s heavier than standard credit cards and looks different too. A credit card for ballas – in the hands of one who is unemployed.
Forgot to switch ISO back to 200, so there’s noise. Hate it.
Posted at 2012 January 21 03:11 pm
The snow starts melting, and the leaking roof becomes serious. We’ve had a small leak in our roof for about 2 years, and it’s not even noticeable. The signs had been ripples on the wall of the paint, and small cracks. The large amount of water from the snow took a large toll on the roof though, and we had 2 pots to catch the water. My brother and I switched off every 15 minutes to soak the water and wring the towel dry.
Posted at 2012 January 20 03:02 pm
snOMG. That’s a 12-inch ruler on the yard waste bin.
Posted at 2012 January 19 03:00 pm
I was walking in the garden outside taking in the sun, and I saw odd shaped lemons on the lemon tree. Some were normal looking, the kind that ends up in grocery stores. But, there are abominations like this one that never end up in stores. Makes me think about all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes not only in fruit industry, but all industries.
I arrived back home, and there was indeed a lot of snow in Seattle. Getting back to my house, I was like, “Dayyyyyym.” Too much snow. A better response would have been “snOMG”.
Posted at 2012 January 18 02:57 pm
Just a day of chillin’ at home. Here is my grandpa and uncle (表姨丈） watching soccer.
Posted at 2012 January 17 02:48 pm
Almost forgot to take a photo. Did it from the couch I slept on.
Posted at 2012 January 16 02:43 pm
Today, we went to Redwoods Regional Forest. After being to several National Forests, this was not very cool to me. Today was the beginning of my fever. I must have gotten sick from seeing a crappy park. It was fun to be with my 2nd cousins though.
Posted at 2012 January 15 02:42 pm
These are jelly fish from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium was one of the places I haven’t been to before. It was only mildly interesting to me, but my other cousins have not gone, so we went.
Posted at 2012 January 14 02:41 pm
These are the twins that my aunt babysits for. She brought them over at our family dinner. Little kids have a lot of energy; these twins kept running back and forth and all over the place.
Posted at 2012 January 13 02:40 pm
I’m in Fremont, CA now and hopping house to house using Wi-Fi and going online and doing Android development while my grandparents chat with relatives. I have to socialize too, which kills productivity.
But, it’s a good day, found out that the EZ430-Chronos accepts heart rate monitor strap to produce heart rate monitoring. A family friend of my cousin’s says he could meet to discuss my idea. Also got a travel buddy for South America trip and submitted a visa application for Brazil. The visa agency said it’s a close cut, but I can still get that processed before I leave for South America.
Anyway, this photo is of my I don’t even know what relative’s living room. My mom’s older girl cousin’s younger sister, that’s the relative, whatever that is called in Chinese. Anyway, their house is really nice because everything is remodeled, and the house is big. It makes me want to remodel my house. The house that I don’t have : )
UPDATE: This is my 二表姨妈’s house.
Posted at 2012 January 12 02:39 pm
Enzo. This is my friend’s Zhen Zhen's son. He’s so cute, but seeing him – it incites fear within me. I’ve played with babies and toddlers before, but this was a bit different. This was my friend’s son, and perhaps I feel more connected. More than ever before, I saw how it was like to be a parent. I felt it. And, it’s scary because I felt how limiting it can be. I could clearly imagine how different a vacation would be, how different every day could be with a kid to look after. It makes me appreciate that I’m going places and doing stuff while I’m young.
Posted at 2012 January 11 02:36 pm
I went to the “mandatory” SEBA Mentorship meeting today. I signed up to speak with a mentor to hopefully be able to find people who can help me hardware-wise with my idea. This meeting was good for me because it was bad. Many of the people here are the kind I loathe. They belittle those with liberal arts degrees, telling me that “they can’t do anything with that kind of degree”. Bullshit. It’s not the degree that matters. It’s what you do with the skills you learned. Sad thing was that the person giving the keynote speech was like that too. People here think that networking is all it takes to succeed. How about hard work and solid fundamentals? It makes me more motivated to do something big and show these muhfuckas.
Posted at 2012 January 10 02:38 pm
Fail. Forgot to take photo.
Posted at 2012 January 09 02:35 pm
Nothing much about today, except that I talked to my cousin about my great idea.
Posted at 2012 January 08 02:34 pm
Had a great idea as I was trying to sleep, and it was such a good idea that I woke up and realized that I need to take a photo. This is the light from my monitor in standby mode. There is reflection off my desk.
Posted at 2012 January 07 02:30 pm
Dinner tonight was with mostly a bunch of strangers at Buca di Beppo’s. My friend invited her friends, and even among them were strangers to each other. It was fun though!
This is a shot right before I left for home from inside my car at the place where I parked. The others left to see “The Adventures of Tin Tin”. Seeing a movie is not a social activity, so I decided to just go home.
Posted at 2012 January 06 02:29 pm
Went to a macro photography presentation at Sammammish Library, which is a very nice library. The speaker was Charles Needle, and he opened my mind to what photography can do. I need to step up my photography from aesthetically pleasing documentation to art.
This is a photo of my desk because I did not take a photo of Sammammish Library. -____- right?
Posted at 2012 January 05 02:29 pm
Posted at 2012 January 04 02:28 pm
I went to UW to look at final from last quarter as well as check out what airfare prices were from STA Travel. On the way back to my car, I 3 firetrucks and a police car parked in front of a house, so I took this photo.
Posted at 2012 January 03 02:26 pm
Again, forgot about taking a photo until I almost fell asleep. Quickly got out of bed and shot this (lights from computer).
Posted at 2012 January 02 02:26 pm
New year’s day, and I almost forgot to take a photo. Almost fell asleep, but got up and snapped a quick one.
Posted at 2012 January 01 02:24 pm
Happy new year! I went to the celebration near the base of the Space Needle with Zoe, and there were a lot of people. Afterward, I talked to this guy who knew a lot about photography. He gave me some good pointers.
Posted at 2011 December 31 02:23 pm
Christine gave me Buckyballs, a bunch of magnetic pellets that can be used to form shapes. It advertises on the box that it’s addictive, but I highly doubted that. I started playing with it and made a hexagonal shape, which wasn’t particularly hard. I was finished, and then I wanted to return it to its original shape, a cube. This took me about 2 hours, and in the middle, I was thoroughly frustrated when the magnetic pellets would get out of alignment if they weren’t put in the exact place. It kept getting messed up. I didn’t want to give up though. In the end, I was successful and have better intuition on how to get these damn things to line up right. Great, I messed it up just now as I fiddled with it before ending this post.
Posted at 2011 December 30 02:23 pm
Broken camera. Can’t take photos : ( It has this error that says “Error: press shutter release button again. I do it and the shutter releases and makes a sound, but it doesn’t take a picture. The error shows up again. I have a feeling it’s water damage that is causing this. Once it dries up, it should be fine. Hopefully. Lesson: dry the camera after any wet excursion so that water does not have chance to seep in.
Posted at 2011 December 29 02:22 pm
Left for Oregon trip with Xing and his girlfriend Annabelle today. It was a great day today. We went into the Ape Cave at the south end of Washington. Cold, damp, dark cave takes on new meaning for me now. We forgot to bring flashlights, and the cave was wet and dripping because it was raining outside. With smartphone flashlights and me using my camera’s focus light, we trekked into the cave and came back out. At the hotel in Vancouver, I saw 3 power stations blow up from the hotel window. The first blew up, and lights went out, and then the second came online and lights turned on momentarily, and I saw another big spark of blue light along with an “errnn” noise. Following that, the third station blew up because it probably was the backup’s backup. We went out to eat and avoid the darkness of the hotel. After eating, we went to take night photos of Portland. I discovered that my camera was broken (water damaged) when we were by the river. Xing got some amazing pictures though. He borrowed his friend’s thousand dollar (more like $1200), and his pictures were amazing. The lens really makes a difference. During taking photos, two girls came and asked us where “the big party” was. We didn’t know, but later, we started looking for it too. We found it, and it was really cool. It was the Decentralized Dance Party, where people bring boom boxes tuned to a frequency and everyone dances. The party moves around. So, we followed the party and danced that night.
Posted at 2011 December 28 02:20 pm
Planning for South America by going to the bookstore to read some of the travel books. There are many places I want to visit, and this should be an epic trip.
Posted at 2011 December 27 02:19 pm
I discovered that I like the notebook without lines or anything trying to help me organize.
Posted at 2011 December 26 02:19 pm
Merry Christmas! All my gifts for people have been wrapped, and we had dim sum with a bunch of other family. It was good. Food was okay. Cousins were very happy with the presents. Nobody gave me presents in return, which is ok, since I give because I can and because I like to. I don’t expect anything back. Although, I should not have given people stuff because I need to save money for my South America trip.
I opened up my iPod Nano that I got for myself and took a photo of it.
Posted at 2011 December 25 02:18 pm
Very busy today, and I forgot to take a photo.
Posted at 2011 December 24 02:14 pm
Went snowboarding at Crystal Mountain today with 2 friends. Up at the top of Rainier Express lift, we saw a great view of Mt. Rainier. Today was a great day for snowboarding because it was sunny and not very cold nor windy. Crystal Mountain is a great place to snowboard or ski. It’s quite lacking in the jumps though. The park was all boxes and no jumps. Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass are tied for my favorite snowboarding place in Washington.
Posted at 2011 December 23 02:13 pm
Today’s the first day of winter according to the Lunar calendar. So, we burn stuff to appease the gods (拜神）.
Posted at 2011 December 22 02:12 pm
Wrapped some presents. This thing was inside the box of stuff I ordered.
Posted at 2011 December 21 02:12 pm
Inside these boxes are many other boxes. I have much gift wrapping to do. For the past few days, I’ve been organizing computer files. I got a new SSD, and I’m putting Windows and Fedora on there. The old drive used to have 3 partitions, and today, I’ve turned it into one partition and put everything on it. Feels so good to be organized.
Posted at 2011 December 20 02:11 pm
At night, a person came to look at the sofas we are throwing away. Turns out she was a founder of a non-profit organization that does home makeovers for homeless shelters, making them nice places to live in. Turns out she knew my parents and goes to eat at our restaurant frequently. She works as an IT recruiter, and I asked her how she has the time to do this non-profit organization. She told me that if it’s something she likes, she’ll find the time. This is very true, and I took it to heart.
I’ve finished college, and my goal now is to find my passion. College is about building skills and finding out what one really enjoys doing. I now have a good foundation of skills and know generally what I enjoy doing – tech and electronics. I now need to narrow that down.
Posted at 2011 December 19 02:10 pm
Wow, so much fail. These past days have seen too many fails.
Today’s photo is of a present from my room mate. It’s cool living with girls because they’re nice and make you stuff. I miss my room mates.
Posted at 2011 December 18 02:08 pm
Fail. Saw my friend who came back from grad school for break today and ate dinner and had a beer with him (along with some other friends who I haven’t seen for a long time)!
Posted at 2011 December 17 02:07 pm
Fail. More packing and completely forgot to take photo.
Posted at 2011 December 16 02:07 pm
Posted at 2011 December 15 02:05 pm
Posted at 2011 December 14 01:13 pm
Finished with finals, and now I’m a real person! I went out to drink and eat with friends and then came back to drink with room mates. This is at B-Mart (Royal). The reason it’s called B-Mart according to room mates is because there’s A-Pizza Mart really close, which is called A-Mart for short, and the owner of that also owns Royal, which is B-Mart. B-Mart also is for burritos and booze, which is what it’s known for. My friend and I waited here for my room mates and noticed that the ratio of women to men is at least 4:1. There’s a new meaning to B-Mart – bitch mart. So many bitches aw yee-uh.
Posted at 2011 December 13 01:12 pm
The banana is a really good way to stay on the desired page in a textbook! Doesn’t ruin the pages and keeps the book open.
Posted at 2011 December 12 01:11 pm
Posted at 2011 December 11 01:10 pm
Clothes are piling up. Haven’t had clothes pile up before. I’m getting dirtier and dirtier. Heaux heaux!
Posted at 2011 December 10 01:10 pm
Fail. Simply forgot.
Posted at 2011 December 09 01:09 pm
So good to sleep.
Posted at 2011 December 08 01:08 pm
Fail. More than just on photo 365, failed my lab. Didn’t turn it in on time. Gonna have to finish it tomorrow.
Posted at 2011 December 07 01:07 pm
I should have some of this to do work, but instead, I’m going to bed.
Posted at 2011 December 06 01:06 pm
Took this photo without composing it. Ended up sleeping at 5:40 am.
Posted at 2011 December 05 01:05 pm
Resorting to Jimmy John’s sandwich for dinner. Have a lot to do.
Posted at 2011 December 04 01:04 pm
Haphazardly put my camera under clothes in my closet and result is pretty cool.
Posted at 2011 December 03 01:03 pm
I need to stop wanting things I can’t have. I found this new thermostat called the Nest. It’s a really cool product. The worst part was that I had made the exact observation that there was no good looking, EASY-TO-USE thermostat on the market. I want to be that person who put the team together to make the product. Picture has nothing to do with this.
Posted at 2011 December 02 01:01 pm
I’m trying to get a carousel working for Weatherful. It’s so hard to be motivated when I don’t really want to make this website – has to be done though. Mobile will be more fun.
Posted at 2011 December 01 07:08 pm
First order of business waking up this morning was to take out the facial hair. Feels great now.
Posted at 2011 November 30 07:07 pm
Today is the culmination of Movember or No-Shave-November, whichever you prefer to call it. One month of no shaving, and this is the result. It’s really annoying to have a mustache. The beard is tolerable. With a mustache, I can feel it when exhaling. It is getting so long that the tip of the hair is starting to poke my upper lip. Also, I can always feel the existence of a mustache there. Glad it’s over. Movember was originally intended to raise awareness of testicular cancer, but I don’t think many people know about that, which doesn’t serve the purpose. I don’t think I’ll do it again.
Posted at 2011 November 29 07:06 pm
It’s like a flower! Except, it’s got a huge pistil.
Posted at 2011 November 28 07:05 pm
Case of the Mondays. So tired.
Posted at 2011 November 27 07:04 pm
My room mate made stockings for us! Cool!
Posted at 2011 November 26 07:04 pm
I went ballin’ today with David, George, Jon, Taylor, and my brother. Was great! Took some time before people warmed up and stopped missing. Bottom of my feet feel raw, the feeling that’s before it turns into a blister. After basketball, went home to watch the Apple Cup (UW vs WSU). I don’t really like watching football, but this is my school, and it’s for bragging rights. I don’t know why there’s a rivalry between UW and WSU. They shouldn’t be compared to each other because academically, they’re on different levels. UW won 35-28.
Posted at 2011 November 25 07:03 pm
Black Friday. I knew the Jordan 3 was coming out, but since it wasn’t limited edition, I thought I would wake up at a normal time and go snag them. This morning at 12 something a.m. though, I saw that Footlocker sold them online, and they were sold out. Turns out they started selling them last night at 9pm (3 hours ago). I called the Alderwood Mall Footlocker, and they said they only had a pair in size 12. At that point, I went to the Everett Mall. Guy was already lining up. He said that it opens at 6am. So today, I woke up at 4:45 a.m. to buy Jordan 3s. Their shipment wasn’t complete, and size 9s were coming in probably next week, but at least my name’s on the list. Bought a Jordan 3 sweatshirt too. Elephant print is sick.
Posted at 2011 November 24 07:02 pm
When changing environments, the chances for me to forget taking a photo are high. I went home today for the break. No photo – fail.
Posted at 2011 November 23 06:58 pm
Posted at 2011 November 22 07:01 pm
I went to a Social Entrepreneurship Career Panel today. They really hammered in the point about finding what you like to do and having courage, and it made an impact on me. These people had worked for the Man before, and one was even making big bucks on Wall Street before leaving to Africa and the doing a startup. I guess it empowers me because they have shown that they can quit and do what they’re passionate about. I know that having my company and making something useful or that helps people is something that I want. The problem this exposes is what am passionate about (getting more specific than just the field of electrical engineering)? I thought I had found myself already, but it’s apparent I need to do more soul-searching. What do I want to do? What do I want for this world? (Not more social, cloud, gaming crap that’s all the rage these days.)
Posted at 2011 November 21 07:00 pm
Took a long time to learn caches and finish homework. So tired.
The photo turned out distorted because the corner of the ceiling was curved. I discovered that Photoshop has the Lens Correction… option, which fixes the amount of distortion based on your lens. I chose my Nikon 18-200mm lens, and it straightened the corner. Very cool! Makes me wonder if I should be correcting lens distortion on every photo. It’s necessary if the photo has straight lines in it.
Posted at 2011 November 20 06:59 pm
I went to a free yoga class today. The first position we did was the happy baby. NOT happy at all. I lay on my back with feet in the air, and my hands grabbing my feet. It was painful. Almost all the exercises were painful because my back hurts from my bike injury. I don’t think I’ll be doing yoga again any time soon.
Posted at 2011 November 19 06:59 pm
Saw the leaves glowing as I was finishing my run. 30 seconds later, after I returned with my camera, the leaves were not glowing as vibrantly.
Posted at 2011 November 18 06:58 pm
As I went back to school, the sun was shining, although I saw clouds beside it. Seeing that the clouds could block the sun, I headed to Art Hall instead of EEB, and I got the photo I wanted of the Quad in Autumn! Since the roads were still wet, they shined, and I thought that the lines were very emphasized. So, I tuned down the aperture pretty low to make the lines stand out.
Posted at 2011 November 17 06:57 pm
Got a 22/24 on the midterm, a standard deviation above the mean – win. Top quartile of the class and feelin’ good.
Was at the lab until 2:30am finishing lab 3. The design I made surely works; my lab partner verified it. With a design we were certain about, we were stumped at why simulations were not correct. After finally debugging and fixing a timing problem, everything went smoothly. We only had to fix some small items and confusing naming problems after that. We were really productive, finished the lab, and felt amazing afterward, even though it was really late, and we were really tired. My lab partner and I work well together.
Posted at 2011 November 16 06:56 pm
Way too tired to compose a photo.
Posted at 2011 November 15 06:55 pm
I was going to take a photo of the quad at Art Hall 304, but there was a class in the room. I waited an hour for the class to get out. When I got in the room, there was sun shining directly at me, so it ruined the photo. I could not take that. And, another class was going to be there until 5:30, so I gave up because it would be dark by then.
My lab partner talked to me about start up. (more to be said)
I added vignette in Photoshop to this photo.
Posted at 2011 November 14 06:54 pm
So tired from backlog of homework and studying that I only took this average looking photo. Computer architecture midterm tomorrow, gotta study.
Posted at 2011 November 13 06:53 pm
I didn’t expect this, but our team won 2nd place. Whole thing feels like an accident. The first place team actually had a whole bunch of stuff done before coming to this event. So, for teams that start from scratch, we were first place. Now, we have prize money from SEOmoz (don’t know how much), $200 from Amazon Web Services (probably for cloud storage), and a Startup Weekend book (yay, not really). I guess our team will continue with this. We’ll see – we’re going to meet on Saturday afternoon.
Posted at 2011 November 12 06:52 pm
Too tired from startup weekend to compose a photo. Worked 12 hours straight :(
Posted at 2011 November 11 06:51 pm
Don’t know why the wrinkled shirt struck me as something to photograph.
Posted at 2011 November 10 06:50 pm
Right before I went to sleep, I took this photo. Sucks.
I looked at the code on my website, but I could not find the malicious code that Google complained about. So, I requested a review, and Google is not listing my site as an attack site anymore.
Posted at 2011 November 09 06:50 pm
Posted at 2011 November 08 06:49 pm
I was biking to EE at about 9pm, and near the toll booth, a long boarder swerves left into me. His board slips between my front wheel and back wheel. The back wheel bucks up, and I start to do a front flip. The front wheel buckles, and I crash. I don’t remember what I hit, but I was in pain and a bloody mess. I must have hit my mouth area because my nose was bleeding, and my lips hurt. The kid took me into Paccar Hall to wash up. I discovered that my upper lip frenulum had ripped, and the lower lip was cut by my front teeth. My front lip is swollen. Aside from this, my left lower back near my hip bone and kidney hurts pretty bad. Shoulder is scraped and probably bruised. I’m glad I had a helmet. Head did not get injured, and neither did the helmet, but I am comforted by the fact that my helmet was there.
Need to fix this attack site thing. Google thinks my site is an attack site. It shows malicious code, so I’ll have to track where that comes from.
Posted at 2011 November 07 06:48 pm
So many people at Odegaard. It wasn’t like this 2 or 3 years ago. Maybe it’s just midterm time.
Posted at 2011 November 06 06:47 pm
I intended the wires to turn out creepier and messier, but they just turned out dark. Lighting issue.
Posted at 2011 November 05 06:45 pm
Fail hard. Twice in a week? Unacceptable.
Posted at 2011 November 04 06:45 pm
Nothing interesting but my design for the MIPS processor in computer architecture class.
Posted at 2011 November 03 06:44 pm
Posted at 2011 November 02 06:42 pm
Walked home from networking night and used my Google umbrella. It sucks – doesn’t fully cover my backpack and also flips over when windy. Went to networking night for the food. Pasta from Portage Bay Cafe was good, and I brought some home. Today was a good day, got my 471 lab figured out. Now, it’ll be about coding it up.
Posted at 2011 November 01 06:41 pm
All black everything. Black shoes, black pants, black shirt. Turns out everything I wore today was black. I changed 4 pairs of pants, and they were all black.
Posted at 2011 October 31 10:45 pm
Stayed up ’til 3:30 am. Too tired to compose a photo.
Posted at 2011 October 30 10:11 pm
Too much heat.
Last night, I went to the Halloween party last night at Victor Ung's place. He's a good host, taking care of guests. Typical party stuff - played video games like Guitar Hero, played beer pong, danced. I was hanging out downstairs with friends. I thought one girl (Diana) was kind of cute, talked with her, and we sat on the couch. She then held my hand and put her head on my shoulder. During that time, Jasmine came over and sat on me, left, came and sat on me again. Something like that. George was next to me. Eventually, some guy came and pulled Diana away. The guy came down and started frontin', pushed my head while I sat on the couch. He told me to stand up and was like challenging to me to fight. People came and held him back, and Jasmine took me into a room. She pushed my head, and I don't remember what she said. Something along the lines of you're so stupid. I think we went back out, and then guy named Jianqi went home with me. We rode on a bus back. At the front door, he was saying how he hates people who start shit.
Not sure what the deal was with that guy. George thinks he was trying to "protect" Diana and Jasmine from little ol' me. Anyway, gchat with George, and he said that there's a girl who said to keep me away from Jasmine because she likes me but doesn't want to like me nor talk to me, like a drug addict.
Posted at 2011 October 29 10:10 pm
Too lazy to compose a photo.
Posted at 2011 October 28 10:07 pm
I am wearing my arc reactor, and the photo sucks. I didn’t bother fiddling around to get the photo as I wanted. The circuit I built makes it pulse on and off, and it’s pretty cool. Sure, Tony Stark’s arc reactor stays on all the time, but the coolness outweighs the trueness to the movie.
Posted at 2011 October 27 10:06 pm
Went to a presentation by Bill Gates, and he talked about how technology and programming can solve the world’s problems. He had more focus on malaria and education. It wasn’t that good. The worst part though, was when a student came up to ask a stupid question. She asked how she can be rich like him. Just by asking that question, I can guarantee she will never be super rich because this shows she is externally motivated. Some of the audience clapped at that question, and my hope for mankind dropped lower.
Posted at 2011 October 26 10:05 pm
Posted at 2011 October 25 10:04 pm
Photo has no artistic merit. But, this is a chicken, a chicken in the U district. There were several actually, but only this one remained by the time I got my camera out.
Posted at 2011 October 24 10:02 pm
It’s been a week, and I finally got time to take a picture of my teal hair.
Posted at 2011 October 23 10:01 pm
Halloween costume innards.
Posted at 2011 October 22 10:00 pm
I hate how I’m uploading photos every 3 days. But, pimpin’ ain’t eesy, nahmsayin? I signed up for the Dawg Dash (5K run around campus), and today I got my packet. The route should be pretty scenic because it basically hits all the points of campus and then some. I’ll also get to run on the track at the Husky Stadium before the tear it down forever.
This picture sucks. The camera was not meant to be used with other lenses, so that is why there is a shadow from using flash. I need a new camera…
Posted at 2011 October 21 09:59 pm
Friday night, and I’m out with friends, yay! A very welcome departure from last year. Although, there is still much to do tomorrow… Anyway, we went to Lunchbox Laboratory to get food. Due to some miscommunication, or lack of communication, rather, we ended up meeting there at 9, which was happy hour! This is a milkshake that my friend got, and I happened to get a good picture of it in all its sweaty glory, despite resting it on a my makeshift tripod that is the Google umbrella I got at the career fair and the lack of ability to properly compose the photo. Lunchbox Laboratory has some interesting burgers (like the duck and pork one that I didn’t get to try because the happy hour prices were too good), and they serve milkshakes in beakers!
Posted at 2011 October 20 09:58 pm
Friends and I went to a restaurant called Eva because of the restaurant week special. Every one of them were late, which is disappointing, but that’s usual and expected. Anyway, the food was good, especially the appetizer. The appetizer was a scallop, and they made it really well. I wish they served 10 instead of just one.
Posted at 2011 October 19 09:55 pm
Don’t know what to take a picture of, so I got some of my shoes.
I went to the career fair today. So much free swag – I got 5 shirts, and they’re all from American Apparel, which is definitely legit. I remember my friend gave me a free shirt from Chinese Students and Scholars Association, and that was a piece of shit. One wash, and all the lettering is cracked and faded. Shirt was made by a Chinese company obviously with low quality control.
Posted at 2011 October 17 09:53 pm
I got parts of my hair dyed teal today. The photo didn’t turn out well because I was trying to take it myself, and of course, I can’t compose it if I can’t see through the viewfinder. So, I took this photo of part of our stoop. My house mate and I (mostly my house mate) decorated the stoop for Halloween. I put a real spider up on the fake spider webs.
Posted at 2011 October 17 07:04 pm
Posted at 2011 October 16 09:51 pm
Man, posting several days later, and I can’t remember what happened. This picture is kinda cool because of the face peeping out.
Posted at 2011 October 15 09:50 pm
My brother asked me to take his senior photo for him, so I did. This is at Silver Lake. I should have taken a photo of those posts that stick out (the background behind my brother). It would have looked good with the sunset colors in the background.
Posted at 2011 October 14 09:49 pm
Pretty colors on the wall of the Engineering Library.
Posted at 2011 October 13 09:48 pm
Once again, I remembered to take a photo after I got into bed. Same thing as yesterday. I was even more tired today though.
Posted at 2011 October 12 09:47 pm
I suddenly remembered at night that I didn’t take a photo today. Too lazy to make a composition, I just pressed the button and didn’t care about where the camera was aimed.
Posted at 2011 October 11 09:45 pm
Hesistantly, I opened the box of milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts a friend gave me (I don’t think he even intended to give a box to me but did), bit off half, and it was delicious! Of course, the dark chocolate covered type would be better. Just the macadamia nuts would be better even than that!
Posted at 2011 October 10 09:43 pm
This photo of black lights my room mate installed outside my room is not accurate at all. The color is so much more vibrant in real life. I don’t know what to do to get the color right. Looking through the lens shows different colors as well, and the physics doesn’t quite make sense to me. Black lights should be ultraviolet frequency, so it should be able to pass through lenses no problem. The cameras should be able to capture light in the ultraviolet frequency range as well. Oh yeah, one of my room mates is starting to decorate the house with Halloween stuff.
Today, I thought my negotiation class was at 11:30 or 12:30 for some reason, so I got off my normal 9:30 class and did homework. I then realized that it was a 10:30 class, and I rushed to get there only to find that I had missed the negotiation. The professor told me that I’d get 0.5 off my grade and 0 for the participation today. She said I could talk to her at her office hours on Wednesday. Great, I’m going to have to negotiate with a negotiation professor. There goes my grade for the quarter. I’d drop it or change it to a pass/fail class, but I need it to count toward my major electives, so it has to be graded. And, I can’t drop it and take it again another quarter because this is my last quarter. *Sigh
Posted at 2011 October 09 09:41 pm
My skin tight jeans have been ripped a few months ago. I crouched down to pick up a tool, and they ripped at the knee. They could still pass as “cool”. A few days ago, as I put my jeans back on after running, my foot got caught in the hole and the rip got huge. It’s not a cool rip. It’s a hobo rip now. Wahmp wahmp.
Posted at 2011 October 08 09:40 pm
I could not sleep (lay in bed from 10:00 from 12:30), so I got up and started working on 471 stuff. I got some cake to eat, and then brushed my teeth. At the sink, I saw this smiley, so I took a picture of it.
Posted at 2011 October 07 09:38 pm
Today was a tiring day. Last night, room mates had people over and was really loud, so I barely slept. As for the day, I couldn’t figure out the first 471 lab, and I ended up helping out with IEEE BBQ, which I didn’t even plan on doing. It took way longer than I intended to help out for, and I ended up leaving at 6:30 (started helping at 3:45). When leaving, I went with my lab partner because he said he’d give me a ride home so that I can run and then go back and work with him on the lab (he lives close to me). He then realized he forgot to go to another meeting, so I ended up waiting for like 45 minutes in the parking lot that was restricted for loading and unloading. Basically, today was a lot of wasted time.
Posted at 2011 October 06 11:13 pm
I installed Fedora 15 with Gnome 3 out of curiosity, and I grew to love it. At first, I hated it because the way you use it is so different from Windows and Mac and previous Fedora releases, but once I learned how to use it, I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that its my primary operating system now. No longer a Winho!
I got so caught up in playing with Fedora that I was late to my IEEE meeting. Our president was talking about me right as I entered the room, and it was a perfect entrance though. I found a few more people from this meeting who are interested in helping out with Micromouse, and I am really excited now. Our platform, the Stellaris Evalbot in the picture, provides a good base to start off with. With several people, I’m sure we can supe up this Evalbot into something better.
Posted at 2011 October 05 08:52 pm
I’m going to run 4 times a week this quarter because this is the behavior modification I chose for my motivation class, and today marks the first day. Each run is going to be 2 miles.
Posted at 2011 October 04 09:46 pm
I played basketball today at the IMA. Haven’t played there in a long time. In fact, I haven’t really played basketball in a long time. I have lost The Touch because my lay ups were not going in and shots were a little off. My foot injury is still not healed, but I think it’s good enough to play basketball. I don’t think I’ll play seriously again anytime soon because the lateral movement hurts a little bit, and I don’t want to risk people stepping on my foot.
Posted at 2011 October 03 09:45 pm
Didn’t have time to post, but I took the picture! I see this a lot in neighborhoods, and I always think it’s a turtle. My room mates all said that this was a child.
I found out at night that I did not write a 4 page essay for doing co-op during the summer because the co-op coordinator sent me an email saying Co-op report DUE NOW. I cranked it out in 2 hours and emailed it, and I was surprised how fast I wrote that. But of course, essays are cake for double English majors.
Posted at 2011 October 02 09:40 pm
I installed Ubuntu on my cousin’s laptop and taught her basic Linux usage after having a beer with some buddies. I was running late, so I left but forgot to pay for my beer. Woops! I’ll just treat them to beer next time.
Ubuntu 11 is too user-friendly. It does look really slick and aesthetically pleasing though. Teaching my cousin Linux was interesting, but the majority of the time was spent backing stuff up on that really slow, old laptop. Ubuntu ran fine on it though. Probably Windows was laden with malware and viruses. It was replaced by Ubuntu though, good riddance.
Posted at 2011 September 30 09:39 pm
Had one class today, the 9:30 computer architecture class. I got there at 10:30 because I forgot. And, I went to print lecture notes at the copy center, which costs money, right before class. I could have came home to print it. Additionally, I didn’t sleep well last night, waking up in the middle of the night and then finally falling asleep when the alarm rang. To finish it off, I have this photo that is blurry, which is because I don’t have any extra memory and don’t have a tripod because I left that at UW. Bad day.
Posted at 2011 September 29 09:38 pm
I saw a cool pattern on the windows as I was biking past the b-school.
Posted at 2011 September 28 09:38 pm
Today was the first day of school, and there are many people on Red Square. The huge line at the bottom of the photo turned out to be a line for a bunch of feminine products. There was this one guy who said he waited in that crazy line and ended up getting a tampon. Definitely fewer vendors. I was looking forward to the Odwalla, but I think I was too late, and they passed all their stuff out.
In the past, I was excited for Dawg Daze and all the free stuff at Red Square. Today was different though, and I felt something died within me. Perhaps the youth and vitality that burned so vehemently within my during my early years in college have now been extinguished. No longer do I wish to stand in the lines to get swag, no longer do I skillfully sneak away 8 bottles of Odwalla, a dozen cups of ice cream, and other nifty freebies. Perhaps, I feel that my time has become more valuable. Whatever it is, it is undeniable – I have changed.
I also saw many cute girls. What was I doing my freshman year?? Oh yeah, I was busting ass instead of busting nuts.
Posted at 2011 September 27 09:36 pm
People came to replace windows, and it was really noisy in the morning. I left and did my own thing. Learned about web programming from my friend and then talked to my cousin about start-up.
Posted at 2011 September 26 09:35 pm
Project failed – forgot to take a photo yesterday. I’ll continue taking photos and probably tack on a day at the very end to make up for it.
Thought I lost my wallet today as I ran to the EE orientation – ended up late there too. They presented early as well. Turns out my wallet was at home. *Sigh of relief.
Posted at 2011 September 24 09:34 pm
Went to shoot pistols today at West Coast Armory in Bellevue with a few friends. This was my first time, and it was really cool. We shot a .22, Glock 34, and a .44 (magnum?). The .44 had crazy recoil, and I was a bit scared on my first shot because I didn’t know if it would come back and hit my face. It didn’t though.
Posted at 2011 September 23 09:33 pm
This morning, I had a most interesting breakfast with my cousin Andrew. We woke up and went to Safeway to buy some cereal and ended up choosing Post Shredded Wheat Original. When Andrew “poured out” the cereal, it was freaking huge. Just one cereal was larger than Andrew’s fist. This photo includes a standard pencil, standard spoon, and standard bowl as size references.
The remainder of the day was spent helping my friend moving his stuff. He has too many clothes, just too many.
Posted at 2011 September 22 09:32 pm
Moved into my new place. Unfortunately, there are some important things I forgot to bring, like chair, speakers, and power strip. I’ll have to go back tomorrow. *Sigh.
Posted at 2011 September 21 09:30 pm
Today, I calculated how much money I would end up with by subtracting my loans and housing from how much I made this summer. Turns out I’ll be left with a few hundred dollars. *Sigh, I’ll be dirt poor very soon. Dammit. Won’t be buying a Macbook Air nor a Nikon D7000 anytime soon.
Posted at 2011 September 20 09:28 pm
I was moving stuff from home to the new place I’m staying for school, and I forgot to bring my check to get keys from the person. So, I parked at Safeway and went to Bank of America to get money from ATM. Five minutes later, I get a fine on my wiper. Such bullshit – I was only there momentarily! Anyway, they recorded my license plate number wrong, so I’m not going to pay. In fact, some people who get tickets from private companies just toss the tickets away! Research on the internet tells me that private companies use scare tactics to get payments. But, they can’t really force you to give money unless they sue you in court. All the talk about collections agencies is bluff because they won’t waste the time and money just to get forty odd dollars.
The photo has terrible composition. Might be the worst photo taken with effort yet.
Posted at 2011 September 19 09:27 pm
My grandparents went back to Guangzhou, China to visit family, and I was the one who took them to the airport today. I really hope their trip is smooth and that they come back safe. Later, I talked to my cousin about start-up. After that, I ended up at my friend’s house and took pictures of his shoes for him, and these are one of his shoes. Pretty cool shoes, except the outsole is basically flat. Might slip and die while wearing these shoes.
Posted at 2011 September 18 09:26 pm
We went to the Hoh Rainforest today to see the moss there, and this is one of the pictures. Although it’s not my favorite photo of the day, it’s more representative of the day.
Posted at 2011 September 17 09:25 pm
Friends and I went to Shi Shi Beach today, and this is the best photo I took today. But, it’s still not that good.
Posted at 2011 September 16 09:23 pm
Today was my last day at Fluke Networks as an intern, and the AEP manager took me into a meeting room and handed me a notepad. He told me everyone said I did very well and then extended me a very good job offer. If I were to work at a company, Fluke Networks would be it. But, I have this inclination to found a start-up… I might do this start-up for a year, and if it fails, I’ll come back and see if I can get a job here. Or, maybe I can’t even get a prototype ready by the offer deadline. Man, if I was normal, today would be one of the happiest days in my life. Don’t get me wrong though – I’m still happy : )
Posted at 2011 September 15 09:21 pm
This is the Power Ball. It’s a gyroscope, which is basically a spinny thing. This is used to rehabilitate wrists or strengthen forearms because this generates force, and you have to use your forearms and wrists to keep it steady. I like to spin it like I’m holding a wine glass so that I can train to eventually twirl my wine with flabbergasting force, which is practical of course, especially considering how so very often I drink wine. You might say I’m as alcoholic as my friend Yasmin Wong.
Posted at 2011 September 14 09:20 pm
I presented my report-out (basically a final presentation of what I did during the internship) at Fluke Networks today. Seems that I already am accepted into the AEP (Advanced Engineering Program). If I don’t do startup, this is the job I want fsho. These next two days at work will be kind of boring though, since I already completed all my projects. I probably will look into making that plotting thing nicer. We’ll see how motivated I am.
Posted at 2011 September 13 09:18 pm
I almost forgot to take a photo today! I remembered right when I got into bed, then hesitantly got out and took a photo of my bed. Photo looks bad.
Posted at 2011 September 12 09:17 pm
Today is 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival), so moon cakes were eaten. I’m not a big fan of moon cakes because they are really sweet.
Posted at 2011 September 11 09:08 pm
Today was uneventful. Sunday, no work, no school, nothing. Probably the hottest day this year though. The main highlight today was fiddling around with the MSP430 so that I get familiar enough with it to make use it for our start-up product. Basically didn’t get anywhere :(
I decided to start this project today. I think the next 365 days might be quite interesting because there is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. College, start-up potential, full-time job potential. I will try to take a photo every day, although I have this gut feeling that there will be many days where the photo will be taken just to fulfill the project’s requirement. It will be interesting to see the developments.