Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Monday Blues

Mondays are pretty uneventful, and today was no exception, except for maybe the wrecking crew that was going through our parking lot today. The parking lot in my office has to be one of the WORST maintained lots I have ever scene. There are literally tens of hundreds of potholes that greet your car when you drive off the road onto the lot, and numerous cracks lining the lot itself like tempered shattered glass. The maintenance crew have done a half-assed job in the past attemping to fill in the holes, and you can bet after a day or so, the holes will return. Now, the maintenance crew finally decided to bring in some heavy equipment and almost rebuild everything from scratch, staring with the lot itself. So it was quite noisy outside my office today as the bulldozers and such ripped up the lot, and a new layer of asphalt was put over. Now the lot kinda looks like it has black bandaids all over it from the new asphalt. I'm hoping they tackle the driveway leading to the lot very soon.

Now I also came out of the office a bit later than usual today because I had to get some code from one of my old officemates to work on. Programmers have complained about code not being easy to go cross-platform, and today I felt their pain as I attempted to execute some C++ code that was written on a x86 machine running Linix on my iBook running Mac OS X, which is based on Unix. The terminal screen lit up with errors galore, prompting me to go back and recompile the numberous .cpp files, which greeted me with more errors -.- Looks like tomorrow will be debug day. On top of that, since I came out of the office a bit late, like around 6:55 pm or so, the bus service had stopped running, which prompted me to walk 30 minutes back to my apartment -.-

However, the day ended on a good note as Kabitzin, Ender, me, and a couple of other friends finally were able to get together on FFXI and go off on a good leveling run. We hit some bumps on the way: one friend ran into a cactaur, which looks like a cute cactus will arms and lets, but do not be fooled! It has one spiny attack that can bring even some high level characters to their knees, and our party suffered under its wrath (the cactaur also got some help from the local scorpion that also happened to be standing there -.-). Despite that, our group managed to gather some very good experience taking down some crabs, and my warrior is half way through to level 53. So the day ended on a high note ^.^

Sunday, August 29, 2004

FOOTBALL!!!! and other stuff :P

Not too much happened over the weekend, but the major event happened this past Saturday morning when I took place in a Yahoo fantasy football online draft. The pool is consisted of mostly some of my Cornell friends, but some other acquainted friends are also joined in for the frenzy. We have 12 teams in our pool, and for the past 2 years that I have done this, it has always been a fun and competitive league between everyone, and it gives me an excuse to take a break and watch as much football as I can on Sundays! ^_^ My team consists of the following players...

Starting Lineup

QB: Michael Vick

WR: Torry Holt

WR: Steven Smith

RB: Duce Staley

RB: Chris Brown

WR/TE: Reggie Wayne

WR/RB: Peter Warrick

TE: Randy McMichael

Kicker: Mike Vanderjagt

Defense: Seattle


QB: Jack Delhomme

WR: Eddie Kennison

RB: Mike Alstott

TE: Anthony Becht

Kicker: Morton Anderson

Defense: Green Bay

So far, I feel pretty good about this team, although I heard that Vick is semi-injured. However, if he is healthy, I am confident Vick will do well. Torry Holt was a monster last year receiving, so I coudln't go wrong with him, and Steve Smith has been consistent for Carolina. I'm sort of worried about the WR/TE and WR/RB situation, but I'll let Wayne and Warrick play it out and see how they do. Duce has the nod in Pittsburgh as the lead running man after a nice stint in Philly last year, and I unintentionally picked Chris Brown (well, the Yahoo picker picked it for me since I missed out on selected a person in the given alotted time), but it looks like Brown will be the man in Tennessee, so hopefully he's due for a breakout season after Eddie George left for Dallas. Randy McMichael was the only familiar name in the TE group when I was picking for a TE, so he got the nod for that position :P Vanderjagt is on Indianapolis, who can score score score, so he'll definately get his changes to kick field goals and extra points. I was kind of unsure to have Seattle as a defense, but someone at the draft exclaimed that it was a good pick, so hopefully that's a good sign of things to come! As for my past team performances, my first team 2 years ago was up and down, so it managed to get the 8th and final playoff spot. BUT, I did upset the #1 seed in the first round of the playoffs, so that was a good feeling ^_^ The team I had last year was SOLID in the RB position, which consisted of Priest Holmes (Mr. Touchdown), Jamal Lewis (Mr. Lots of Running Yards), and Stephan Davis (Mr. Consistent), so I had pretty good scoring weeks if all three of them were playing. I was kind of weak in the QB position (Drew Bledsoe laid a egg after having two good first games), but Jon Kitna had a breakout season, so it kind of evened out. I predict that if some of my starters are injured, I might linger near the 7th or 8th position out of 12, but if all the starters are playing without injury, it'll be interesting to see how well my team does ^_^

I also managed to catch the Bourne Supremacy on Saturday evening, but my friend Dennis and I went to 3 theaters to find a time that was suitable! The first theater was sold out at the time we wanted to see, the second theater had a showing with a 2 hour wait, and we only had to wait an hour or so at the third theater. The third theater was at the Easton Shopping Center, which is a really nice mall, so if you ever decide to come visit Columbus and really like to shop and browse, Easton is definately a place to go. Anyways, the Bourne Supremacy is a decent movie, but the ONE big problem I had was with the camera work. Every action scene was SOOO JITTERY it was almost unbearable to watch the action because you couldn't follow it -.- But other than that, if you want a good popcorn action movie to see this summer (and your eyes can scan fast), the Bourne Supremacy is definately one to watch.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A message to all aspiring ninjas.....

Don't be like this guy here

Click me!

It's alive!!!!

Althought I try to keep my PC in tip-top shape as much as possible, there comes a time where it inevitably needs a fresh start, which calls for a reformat and reinstallation of Windows. Now this is the first PC that I've built that has Serial ATA (SATA) built into it, which is the connector used to link up the hard drive to the motherboard. Although SATA is much neater inside the PC case and provides faster hard drive speed throughput theoretically, it is a pain in a butt to install with, as you need to do the F8 salute during the Windows XP installation to install some drivers for the SATA chip, and to do that requires a floppy drive. Forunately for me when I was building this PC back at home, I took out the floppy in my parent's computer and installed the drivers accordingly. Now, back at my dorm, I don't have a working floppy drive lying around, so an online trip to Newegg was in store. After a quick search, I settled on this Samsung floppy drive which seemed to have pretty good reviewer feedback. The drive came in today, so right after I got back from the office, I got started with reformatting and reinstalling.

Now, Microsoft had been working on Service Pack 2 for XP for quite a while to fix the annoying security problems that have crept into XP. Now, I'm all for keeping your own PC secure, but XP seems to go way overboard in terms of checking to make sure you don't download malicious files and such. Every download so far that I've done popped a window saying that file attempting to be downloaded was "not verified". I guess for the average user who doesn't know the difference between a Firewall and Firewire, this might be a good thing, but for those who are power users and very maticulous and careful about taking care of their PC, it's a major annoyance.

One more rant: ATI really needs to do something about their drivers. Every time so far when I have reinstalled their graphics drivers, I always run into the annoying problem of the drivers setting the monitor refresh rate at 56 Hz after installing the drivers and rebooting. Since my LCD doesn't support that rate, I'm greeted with a blank screen as Windows boots onto the desktop. The "easy" way to fix this is to scour into the Registry and modify the registry entry that controls the refresh rate from 56 to 60, but it still makes me mad to do this every single time when ATI has a new driver release.

On a semi-good note, the yearly Yahoo fantasy football draft is tomorrow, and I always get pumped up for it since my Cornell friends and I are very competitive in our own league. Last year I was fortunately to have a good running game consisted of Priest Holmes (aka Fantasy Football RB God :P), Jamal Lewis, and Stephan Davis. My qbs were kind of weak, but Jon Kitna had a breakout year last year; unforunately, he has been displaced this year by Carson Palmer, the Bengel's first round pick in last year's NFL draft. I really haven't decided yet who I'm gonna pick, but I'll see where my draft spot is and strategize from there.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Too much crying in sports...

Granted that I haven't been paying too much to the Olympics this year, all I hear about it is news about athletes whinning about this and that and about how things are unfair and such. Just today, when I was talking to my office mate Brian, he had mentioned that the Spanish coach Mario Pesquera was complaining how the US only played 40% of its capacity in the early rounds and has now just begun to turn it around. Spain had been undefeated in the round-robin games with 5 wins and earned a #1 seed in the quarterfinals. The US team earned an 8th seed, which drew them to Spain for their quarterfinal matchup.

Someone needs to tell Mario to suck it up and take it like a man. I didn't hear him complain before the game about playing the US. In fact, I would be willing to believe that he was glad to be playing a sub-par US basketball team that had been struggling. But now, only because his team has come up short, he now wants to whine and bitch that "oh, it's not fair! The US team was playing possom!!!" Come on Mario, look at the history of US basketball teams before. This year's US basketball team might not be the dream team, but they do have pride and compete hard to win every game. Do you really think that the US would purposely downplay in order to get an advantage in the later rounds? And if you really did think that the US would downplay, why didn't you just lose a game or two so you didn't have to play them?

Granted that the US basketball team wasn't the best that could have been put together, you don't see the players complain "oh, if we had so and so (insert Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Kevin Garnett, etc), we'd be dominating this tournament!" The US players have taken their lumps along their way in this year's Olympics, continued to play hard, and it probably was a matter of time before everything started to fall together. The team shot over 50% from the field and from 3-point range against Spain, and only struggled a little bit at the free-throw line. The players on this US basketball team should be applauded for their efforts thus far as many of them probably realized that this might not be the best team put together, but they have managed to put aside their egos and pride to proudly represent the US.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sound of bounce my way now!

It has been a while since I've played some team basketball. While I was at home, I went to the gym at my mom's community college to shoot around for a bit to regain the shooting touch, but there was never anybody around to play a team game with. Luckily, when I was back at the lab, I asked around with some of my Turkish friends if they were still playing bball, and they said they were usually playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I decided to go hit the court with them tonight.

We all met up around 9 pm at Jesse Owens South, an on-campus recreation center that has gym equipment, all the stairsteppers and cycling machinary you could ever want, and 2 indoor bball courts. The nice thing about this particular rec center is that I only have to walk about a block to get to it since my dorm apartment is almost right next to it, so no driving necessary ^_^ Anyways, about 6 of us showed up at the courts, so we got some 3 on 3 games going on a half court. Believe it or not, I probably was the shortest and lightest person on the court, and I promptly got stuffed pretty badly while trying to drive to the basket. However, since I now have contacts, no more worries of destroying my glasses while driving to the basket! ^_^ My outside shooting was kind of off tonight from the 12 to 15 feet range, but I pulled off my best Reggie Miller impression at the 3 point line as I brought my team back from 11-9 to take lead at 13-11 with two consecutive 3 point baskets (3 point shots counted as 2 points in our game), and we won that game 15-13 ^_^ But I was pretty beat after the first game, so I kinda slowed down in the next 3 games and got lazy on defense, which allowed Koray, one of the guys from Turkey, to drive around me and get some easy layups -_- I still did some damage beyond the 3 point line, going like 7 for 13 beyond the arc, but my team lost 2 of the next three games. Ah wells, it was still fun to get out and play some ball and get my Asian butt out for some exercise ^_^ The new sneakers I got held up pretty well too, and no turned ankles to report! :P

Monday, August 23, 2004

New Stuff!

Although I might be getting older, it's still always cool to get new stuff to use and play with, and today was definately a day of new stuff. I had an eye exam two weeks ago to check up on my vision, and I also wanted to get some contact lenses since my glasses have taken quite a beating when I played sports. The legs were bent outwards and the nose pads were spead far enough that they didn't grip my nose that well anymore, and if I turned my head quickly, my glasses would likely fly off my face. I had thought it was a lost cause to fix up my glasses, but forunately, during the intermission period of my eye exam when they put those drops in your eyes to dilate them, the women who was responsible for fitting and selling glasses fixed and tightened up my frames, and they feel new again! Anyways, 2 weeks go by, and today I go to get my new contacts. Since I have astigmatism, the optomotrist had to fit me with some custom contact lenses called toric lenses, which are weighted so that they orient to your eye in a particular way and won't move as much as you blink or look around. Well, whatever they do, the lenses worked surpisingly well, and I'm able to see details again that my blind vision use to filter away :-P One other thing I noticed is that everything also looks BIGGER looking through contacts then through glasses, which was kind of weird at first, but I slowly got use to it. Apparently I need to rebuild my tolerance back up for contacts, so I only wore them for about 6 hours today, and I can add 2 hours every day from now on till I can basically wear them all day. But so far, they're working well ^_^

Another new thing for today was the new office I now have at the ESL lab. Although I didn't have too many problems with my old office, it was kind of dusty and messy and uncosy sitting in a room surrounded by yellow-colored cinder blocks and no windows to look outside. Well, that has all changed as I'm now officed in a more spacioius room with new desks and lamps, cubical dividers, AC, and a window to look outside too! ^_^ One strange thing I noticed though was that the door to my office seemed to be sawed in half but held together with makeshift bolts and duck tape, and this is a metal door we're talking about o_O! But other than that, I like my new office :-P

The last new item of the day was some new Nike cross trainers. My old running shoes were begging to be retired as the treads have long been worn off and the left shoe has a hole large enough for my big toe to poke out of, so it was time for a new pair. I went to Famous Footwear to check around the selection, and walked out with these Nikes. For me, spending more than $50 on shoes is a bit much, and these were on sale for $39 from $60, so just in my price range ^_^ I'll give these guys a test run when I go play some bball tomorrow night.

I like new stuff ^_^

Back in action!

Well, I never thought I would get back into this again, but here I am back once again into the blogging world after a year hiatus.

I had just come back from visit my good friend Allen up at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The trip up was pretty rough at first due to the fast passing thunderstorms that dropped marble-sized raindrops. The visibility was so bad that cars that traffic slowed to around 35-40 mph. I didn't see any accidents along the way, so traffic was at least moving through the strorm. The trip itself going up was a bit shorter than I though, around 2.5 hours or so when I though it would probably take like 4 hours.

Once I got up to Ann Arbor, the hard-falling rain had cleared out but it still continued to drizzle a bit. As I followed through the Mapquest directions, I noticed that Allen's apartment was very close to the medical center, which I found kinda funny since I also lived pretty close to the medical center at Ohio State. One thing about Mapquest directions: although Mapquest seems to route the shorest track possible, it sure doesn't map the most convenient one. I later found that I could have just followed this one road all the way to Allen's apartment instead of taking 3 or 4 turns like Mapquest suggested.

Usually, whenever I'm scheduled to go somewhere, I usually get there much earlier than what the scheduled time is, but I was a bit worried that I might have gotten to Allen's place too early. He had said it was ok to get to his place around 6 pm, but I somehow ended up getting there around 3 pm o_O Luckily though, after a quick phone call I was able to find Allen just waiting at his apartment. Although I had seen Allen back in March when he and a couple of other friends came down to visit me and go to Cedar Point, it had felt like a while since I seen him. But Allen was still the Allen I remembered, so it was cool to be able to pick up our friendship where we left off, talking about games, anime, and other random stuff that ever came to mind.

Saturday was a great day weatherwise in Ann Arbor. The sun was out, the humidity was down, and the temperature was just right, not too hot or cold. Since Allen didn't have access to a car, we went out and did some grocery shopping. We hit up Meijer's Grocery, Sams Club, Target, and the Home Depot. Now you might ask why of all places were we at the Home Depot? Well, we were searching for a toilet plunger after I nearly caused the toilet to overflow at Allen's apartment. Luckily, the toilet management skills I acquired from living back at Valentine Place came to good use as quickly turned off the water flowing to the toilet :P I felt really bad after it happened, but Allen said that this wasn't the first time this had happened, so I felt a bit better afterwards. However, things almost got worse as Allen called up the front office requesting for maintenance, only to find that maintenance had left for the day, and we might have to live with this clogged toilet for a day or so! However, a maintenance guy came by almost 10 minutes after Allen place the call, and the toilet was promptly taken care of, leaving Allen and me in relief as we wouldn't have to resort to going to the engineering building to use the bathroom!

When Sunday finally rolled by, I left Allen's place around 2:30 pm. Driving back, I wanted to see if I could find a route faster than the one Mapquest created by taking major highways and interstates. However, this proved to be a futile goal as I found myself taking a hour more to travel back :P One good thing though came out of this as I was able to drive through some rather beautiful roads through some vast farmlands with cornfields as far as the eye could see. Oh, and did you know that there was a city called Flag City?

All and all, it was a fun trip to end the week with :)