Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
On Thursday, my parents asked if my brother and I wanted to head to Jumbo Buffet, which has become sort of the default restaurant/hang-out amongst my parent's friends, in the morning to eat, but both my brother and I thought it was sort of silly to go there given we'd be eating a lot for dinner, so we passed on that and grinded through Gears of War 2 through the morning and into the afternoon. We eventually ran into the infamous fish boss that Velius had talked about, and it was indeed annoying as it probably took us like 10 or 11 tries to figure out the steps to beat the boss. My brother became a big fan of the lancer chainsaw and tried to chainsaw every enemy within melee range without realizing that not all Locust be cut in half :P
My brother recently got a mortgage for a new condo and was looking to accessorize his new place, so after finding a good save point in Gears, we scrounged the ads for Black Friday sales on TVs. With online shopping becoming so prevalent and online pricing being much cheaper that B&M pricing, Black Friday deals have been underwhelming the past couple of years, but we managed to find some two LCD TVs (40 inch and 32 inch Samsung) at Best Buy that my brother wanted to purchase, and with Best Buy offering no interest financing for 18 months on $500+ purchases, my brother decided to get a BB credit card to purchase the TVs to lighten his financial burdens from getting the condo.
The evening rolled around, and M was in the kitchen prepping while the usual suspects of Chinese families came to our house. M bought a smaller turkey this year since we "only" had 3 families come over this year instead of the usual 5 or 6, but she never disappoints on turkey cooking as it always comes out moist and juicy. Usually, there would be a "kids" table and an "adult" table set up to eat, but everyone was able to squeeze into the same table this time around. The "kids" were entertained by many rounds of RB and Castle Crashers, but what I found sort of interesting was the many rounds of Geometry Wars 2 that people wanted to play in the "Pacifism" game mode. In this mode, your ship can't shoot, but you can destroy enemies by passing through these barriers, and there were furious battles amongst the "kids" to get the high score!
Once all the families left, my brother and I hit the sack for an early 3:30 am wakeup to raid the local Best Buy. We eventually got there at 3:50 am to find crazy people who had camped out waiting in line (there were even 2 or 3 tents set up). When my brother and I parked and got in line, the line had wrapped halfway around the store plaza. Even though it was cold, there were people pushing around carts with free coffee, donuts, and hot chocolate, so my brother and I got two cups of hot chocolate to keep ourselves relatively warm. Some BB employees came out and handed paper vouchers for various items if people were looking to buy them, and my brother managed to snag a credit card app from one of the employees. There was a chatty guy behind us in line who struck up a conversation, so the wait passed by relatively quickly. 5 am rolled around, and we finally got into the store and walked quickly to the TV section where we found the 32 inch LCDs all stacked up. We couldn't find the 40 inch LCDs, and after asking around, we found that they weren't releasing those till 11 am, but you could take a voucher to pay for one for pickup. Of course, paying for the TVs became a bit of a hassle as my brother was told he could have his credit card app processed at the TV center register before paying, but once he got there, he was told to go to customer service to get the credit card app approved and pay over there. So we meandered to customer service, and my brother got approval, but had to head back to the TV center register to pay -_- So we headed back again and eventually paid for everything and escaped Best Buy by about 10 AM.
One of our friends on the tennis team was also in town, and he introduced me to Scene-It on the 360, and I think this might be a good group game for future Veg Outs.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
So this weekend, I went back home to attend my High School class 10 year reunion. 5 years ago, I didn't make it because I had class till the late afternoon on Friday and missed the activities that night, so I was sort of curious to see who would show up. The first class event was a tailgate for a homecoming football game at my high school, but my 1.2 hour drive back to Mechanicsburg turned out to be a three hour drive since AA called ahead and updated me about a bank robbery that had gone on earlier on I-83, which backed up traffic considerably as I got closer to home. Fortunately, the GPS came through and eventually plotted an alternative course back, so AA and I managed to catch the 2nd half of the game, but we missed the tailgate, and trying to find fellow classmates in the sea of teenagers proved to be a tough predicament. My HS ended up winning the game quite convincingly, but it was sort of amusing to notice how small the football players were, and there was actually a girl on the football team!
Saturday morning was the tour of the new HS, which has undergone about 88 million dollars worth of renovations since I graduated. And man....these high school kids now a days have the good life as everything is so high tech with assignments being posted on websites and everything being turned in electronically (at least for English classes). And pretty much, there was only one or two staircases left from the school I remembered, and everything else was all new. Even the teachers are pampered to as they get their own gyms to exercise in. I made the comment to AA that they weren't using the school colors in the building (everything was green and earthy), and she made the comment that red was probably too "angry" of a color, and our tour guide who was part of my class but now an English teacher mentioned right on queue that the colors green and brown were chosen so that it would be soothing to the students. There were a few people in the tour whose face I recognized, but I didn't remember their names. Although one thing that I was disappointed was that I didn't find or see the HS's Hall of Fame, and I wanted to find my face up there since I was inducted to the HoF under music for being the uber viola player back in the day.
Later that night was a social which I expected more classmates to come to, and it was quite crowded as about 60+ or more definitely showed up. Unfortunately, none of the friends that I hung out with back in the day showed up, but I was pretty amazed to see a lot of classmates that I remembered back in elementary school, and they obviously remembered me since I was probably one of five Asian students in our class :P The one thing that struck me was that even though 10 years have passed (which seems like a long time to me at this point), people's looks and faces really don't change to much as I was able to recognize more people by name. And people seemed to make the effort to go around and see what others were doing, as evident by me having some conversations with several people who I had no recollection of, but they were all nice and courteous. A lot of classmates were married and talked about their kids, so I guess I better get working on that once I finish up all this grad school stuff :P
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I got my electric bill today, and usually I don't read anything else on the bill except for the amount that I owe, but today, I was quite surprised to see that I owed $0.00 on power. So I looked a bit closer on my statement, and I found that BGE had reached a some sort of settlement with the State of Maryland, which resulted in a $170 credit applied to everyone's bill. No complaints here!
Monday, September 29, 2008
You know you're getting old when you check your mail to find a invitation to your 10-year High School Reunion. Man...ten years have really past by and gone. Right now I'm sort of on the fence about going. Part of me is curious to see how some of my high school classmates are since I'm terrible at keep contact with people (though I'm sure AA will try to drag me along), but the list of current people attending didn't have too many names of people that I hung out with, so part of me says to not bother. Ah well, I'm sure I'll make a more decisive decision as the date crawls closer.
Friday, September 5, 2008
So when I went home for the weekend, D showed me a letter from Violation Management Services that said that I got a traffic violation ticket in Culver City on July 10th, around the time that I was in San Diego. I know I wasn't pulled over at any time but perhaps I got caught on one of those silly cameras that catch red light runners or something. But after I dug up my car rental receipt and took a look at where Culver City happened to be in relation to San Diego, it became pretty obvious that they have the wrong person.
Exhibit 1: Culver City happens be 130 miles away from San Diego, and given that my rental car receipt said that I driven a total of 14 miles, there's no way I could have driven over there.
Exhibit 2: The letter said that performed said traffic violation at 8:15 AM. Now, my car rental receipt said that I had returned the car back to the rental place at 8:41 AM, which means that unless I was driving 300 MPH away from Culver City, there was no way I could have made it back.
So unless I have the amazing ability to wormhole through 130 miles or time travel, I think VMS has the wrong person...
Update: A woman from VMS called me this week and apologized profusely about the issue and said they figured out the problem. Someone messed up at reporting the violation date, which was suppose to be on August 10th (instead of July 10th). In addition, D got another letter from Culver City which had the photo of the culprit, a brunette female driver...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I did managed to find a use for the credit I had on Frontier, and thanks to the hospitality of KiraTomato, I flew over to San Diego for the second time this year to crash at his place for Labor Day weekend. Although I complained about Frontier's pricing, I must say that their planes are pretty comfortable (all seats are leather) and I felt like I had a bit more room than the average coach airline seat. Every seat even had its own LCD screen, although it was sort of annoying that Frontier only let you "preview" the DirectTV channels they offered for about 10 minutes before putting up in giant VHS letters in the middle of whatever you're watching that you would have to pay $5.99 to continue to watch. I put up with the letters and continued to watch the US Open match that was on for about 15 more minutes before the system shut me out for good. Perhaps on a longer flight, I would have paid up, but by then, they probably would have offered you the channels for free. Each plane even has its own name based on the animal that was pictured at the tail of the plane, but I only remembered Bottleneck the Dolphin from my flight out of Denver to San Diego.
I arrived in San Diego at around 10:30 PST, but I too tired since I did some napping on the plane, so Kira and I hijacked his roommate's Xbox 360 and proceeded to crash some castles. Although it was sort of annoying that my Green Knight's profile wasn't recovered with my Xbox gametag recovery, Kira and I had a good time bashing our way about halfway through the game before we called it a night.
On Saturday morning, it was time to hit up the tennis courts! Kira decided to try and see whether we could grab the Qualcomm tennis court, and luckily for us, it was empty! No scoring was kept since the action would have probably been ugly given that I hadn't touched a racquet since Seattle and Kira hadn't had much luck finding someone to hit with, but about half an hour into it, both of us started finding our range as Kira started to move me around the court, and I tried to do my best Federer impression to hit impossible shots past him. I even let Kira use my racquet for a few minutes, and remarkably enough, he started hitting even better! I thought Kira was going to hold on to my racquet forever with the improvements, but he was kind enough to return it. Overall, I think Kira gained 6 levels in this practice session, and he probably would have gained 10 levels if he could always use my racquet :P
Thankfully, Qualcomm had free sodas in their break room, so we went to cool down with some Brisk ice tea, and then it was go time for some TABLE tennis action on the Qualcomm ping pong tables! The action was even more heated since Kira and I are probably an order of magnitude better at ping pong than, and there was some video-worthy rallies where Kira would slam the ball at me multiple times, but my defensive skills would just barely put the ball back in play, which would drive Kira nuts after the 4th or 5th shot he thought was a winner :P We were both pretty exhausted and hungry after the double header of racquet sports, so we headed back for showers and some lunch at Jack's down at La Jolla, and then strolled around the coast since it was a typical nice San Diego day. Afterwards, we headed back to Kira's place to finish Castle Crashers, and had some Phở for dinner before calling it a day early since we were gonna try to schedule some early snorkeling.
On Sunday, Kira managed to book snorkeling for the afternoon, so we took the opportunity to go to the Wild Animal Park, which Kira managed to snag some tickets for from a coworker. Unlike a lot of zoos, WAP gives the animals quite a bit more room to roam around, and this was quite apparent in the "Journey into Africa" tour where visitors loop around a giant "African" area that represents different parts of Africa. Fortunately, we got to see the rare baby rhino which is always under the strict eye of its mother, and hundreds of other animals along the way as you can see here. It was a pretty hot day, so some of the animals were not very motivated to be up and about :P
After a quick lunch at Elijahs, we drove down to La Jolla for snorkeling. Kira was worried that we'd be late, but we made it just in time for the 3 PM session. After putting on wetsuits, we were off into the water! It's hard to describe how amazing it was to be floating on the ocean and watching all the action going on under the water with schools of fish swimming by, underwater "grass" swaying back and forth, and even the occasional seal swimming by :P Unfortunately, the ocean was quite crowded with kayakers and other snorkelers, and the water was also really turbulent that day, so we didn't get to explore some of the caves that the instructors said they usually took everyone, but we did manage to swim by and get an up closer and personal look. Ah well, something to look forward to next time!
After snorkeling, we were pretty much spent physically, so after eating some dinner at the Blue Wave, we headed back to the house where Kira owned me at a Naruto fighting game and in Super Smash Brothers. My flight out was early the next morning, so we hit the sack early so we'd have some semblance of sleep to get to the airport.
Thanks again to Kira for letting me crash at his house! A Veg Out with San Diego will definitely be in the list of places for the future.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Over the weekend, I decided to pick up an Acer Aspire One which was on sale at Best Buy for $349 and enter the world of netbooks. The One is a pretty peppy machine despite its small footprint, and it actually has more memory (1 gig vs 768 megs) and hard drive space (120 gigs vs 60 gigs) than my old 700m. The Atom processor is definitely capable of regular desktop processing tasks, the screen resolution is very usable at 1024x600, and there is even a tiny little webcam built into the top bezel of the screen for web conferencing. But what I was most impressed about this netbook was the keyboard, which actually is not too difficult to type on, but having small Asian hands help as well :P If I had to complain about one thing, it's the fact that the fan inside the One has to spin constantly all the time, and it's definitely noticeable in a silent room, but I think I'll just phase out the noise after using it for a while. The 700m will now go into the hands of M, who has been complaining to me about how huge her current laptop is to drag around.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Although the headlines at the Olympics have been dominated by Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and others, in the handball arena, a little island off the coast of Greenland is making their own incredible run as TheDragOnfruitS has been cheering his homeland to the Gold medal round vs France. I've been telling TheDragOnfruitS that Iceland would go all the way since they've beat all the good teams in their round robin section, and so far my prediction is coming true :) So all Veggies should watch Iceland win the Gold Medal on Sunday :)
Update: Doh, guess I must have jinxed the team with my bold prediction. Still, Iceland doubled their silver medal count, so it wasn't all too bad :)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Having not changed the layout of my blog in 4 years (man...it's really been 4 years), I'm gonna shake things up a bit and try some of the new templates. The brown from the previous template wasn't really a color that I enjoyed yet I somehow put up with it for quite a while. I guess it looked a lot different than the other templates Blogger offered at that time, which is probably why I went with it. Although this one seem pretty Plain Jane, it's clean looking, so I'll give it a shot and see how it goes.
Monday, August 18, 2008
So this past weekend, I was out to New Jersey for a BBQ/game weekend hosted by BlueOrca, and part of the trip involved driving up I-95 north. But when I drove to the ramp from Aberdeen to get onto I-95, I noticed that cars were stopped near the intersection of the ramp and I-95, and as I drove up closer to the cars, a whole bunch of police motorcycles started driving by.
And then the police were followed by a looooong line of Harley riders.
For about 5 minutes or so, the Harley riders just kept on coming, so I got out of my car to get some better pictures and to wave at some of the passing riders.
I posted a quick video of the cyclists here. I learned a bit later that these riders were riding as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
This past Wednesday, when I got back from lunch, there was a box sitting on my desk, and taped to one of the sides was a sample business card with my name and contact info. For some reason, it feels strange to me that I have a business card since I'm still sort of transitioning between the student mindset and the working mindset, but on the other hand, I look at it as one of those achievements/milestones in your life where you can say hey, I've got one! Although I doubt I'll ever exhaust my supply since they printed out like a quadrillion of them...
Monday, July 28, 2008
So I have this $380 credit for Frontier Airlines that I need to use by September 9th. I was gonna try to visit Velius and dominate in the Wii tournament he was having in two weeks in honor of the Olympics, but Frontier is charging $1k for the tix -_- So...anyone have any good suggestions on where to go at this time of year?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
And just when I thought it was safe to settle back down in the east coast, another conference calls for me the next week back to west coast and into the Emerald City. This time, I was there for the User Group Conference, where users of the various DoD supercomputers showed off the interesting projects and research that they were performing with all those computing resources. There were also some interesting presentations about clusters of PS3's potentially being used and marketed as "efficient" computing clusters due to the relatively low power draw compared to your typical setup of server blades. So now I know where Sony sold all of those PS3's too :P I didn't have any particular presentations in this case to present, but I definitely networked and met up with a bunch of users that I'll potentially be working with later down the road. And since one of the presentation rooms was the "Orca" room, I had to go and sit down through a few presentations in honor of Blue Orca, even though the computational chemistry stuff the presenters were talking about was way over my head :P One sort of annoying thing though involved my badge. Apparently, the way they check your citizenship was through your HPC account since there were particular presentations that were restricted to US only citizens. Since I had just gotten my account started the week before, the registration desk didn't have my name as an account user, so I was stuck with a pink non-citizen's badge the entire week -_-
Luckily for me, Catnipped and her friends were around during the evenings that week to hang out. After the conference ended for the day, I met up with Catnipped and her friend Snoopy and D at Matt's Rotisserie and Oyster Lounge (fyi the website is quite musical). Afterwards, our attempt to win at trivia night on Monday (7-14-08) was thwarted by the "Name that Tune" category and questions about movies that Kathy Bates were involved in, but we managed to step up to score 8 of 10 in the sports-related category and Catnipped stepped up with her knowledge of Canadian provinces (8 of 13 woot!), which just pushed us out of the running for the $1 pitcher of beer. The last place reward is now a bit harder to get as the two last places teams actually have to answer a trivia question right to get the beer. During trivia, the MLB all-star festivities were being shown on TV, and Snoopy had mentioned something about Josh Hamilton being her favorite player because he went to her high school. Sure enough, Josh Hamilton goes on to be the star for the night at the home run derby as he goes nuts for 28 HRs in the first round!
Tuesday (7-15-08) saw more presentations, but there was an important meeting for everyone employed in my company that afternoon at the conference as we had to discuss on how we were going to win an upcoming contract. Since I hadn't been working that long yet and didn't know the ropes that well, I didn't have that much to contribute, but the discussions between everyone was surprising lively and energetic, and I felt pretty proud afterwards knowing that those who I work closest with in the company were gung-ho about winning the contract. After the meeting, there was a poster session on more HPC related topics, but the room was waaaay to cramped for the poster presenters and the attendees, so a couple of my coworkers and I headed to the Fisherman's Restaurant out by the water, and we got a table outside so that we could enjoy the view while we ate dinner (mmm salmon steak). After dinner, I met up with Catnipped and company to go see The Incredible Hulk, which was surprisingly entertaining even the second time through. *Semi-spoiler via ROT13* Vg'yy or vagrerfgvat gb frr ubj gurl pbzr hc jvgu na hore fhcreureb pbzvp zbir tvira gung Veba Zna znxrf na nccrnenapr ng gur raq naq FUVRYQ vf oevrsyl ersreerq gb ng gur ortvaavat bs gur zbivr.
As I noted before, after I got back to my hotel room from the movies, I though I had lost my laptop, but some kind people at the hotel held on to it, so I was relieved to find it the next morning (7-16-08). There weren't as many presentations that I was interested in that day, so I took some time to go back up to Kerry Park and enjoy the always spectacular views.
Sporting events were the activity of the night as Catnipped called me up later for some tennis. I got to the courts a bit early to see some people playing cricket over two of the courts, and for the random times that someone managed to hit a ball out of the court, I helped them out and retrieved it. But I was quite surprised when I picked up the cricket ball because it looked like a worn tennis ball, but had the weight of a shot put o_O. The cricket players eventually left the court just in time as Catnipped and her friend D from Monday and another friend A (though I can't remember his name at the moment -_-) all arrived, and we got a game of doubles going. The first was sort of a feeling out process for everyone as me and D teamed up to take it 6-1, but the second set was quite competitive as me and Catnipped teamed up against D and A to a 6-6 tie as the sun was going down. There were one particular game where poor Catnipped had to serve through like 6 or 7 deuces, but she stuck through it like a trooper. After tennis, Catnipped, D, and I went to The Parlor, probably the nicest billiard's place I've ever seen, in Lincoln Square to play some pool. When we first got there, the person at the desk asked if I wanted to play some free pool since they were having some pool night where the guys could play free against some women, but I knew I would probably make an idiot out of myself since my pool skills were pretty mediocre, so I declined politely. The three of us got our own table and played where we would each try to sink a third of the balls, and I managed to put together one good round in the beginning and one good round at the end, but man, those rounds in the middle were brutally terrible on my part as I was scratching all over the place and missing baby shots. Catnipped used her star power in a furiously rally to win the third rack, and D showed off his ambidexterity off both wings to win the second and fourth rack. After pool, Catnipped took me to the upper floor of Lincoln Square, which happened to be a Microsoft floor, and out to an outdoor balcony where the view of Bellevue and Seattle was really quite spectacular. Man, I wish I had my camera at that time...
On Thursday (7-17-2008), the conference seemed to thin out a bit as it was the last conference day, and I had to rush back in between one of the breaks to check out of my hotel. I booked a red-eye flight out at 11:30 pm that evening, so there was still quite a lot of time for me to kill once the conference ended, and Catnipped found out her friends were kayaking in the late afternoon, so I joined up with them at the Northwest Outdoor Center. For whatever reason, I was being an idiot that day and I rowed into Catnipped's friend D2, which sent me into the water of Lake Union and washed my pride away -_- D2 tried his best to instruct me on how to get back into the kayak, but I was still sorta dazed and frustrated with myself at that point, so I probably tuned him out a bit. With D2's help, I made my way to a nearby pier where we emptied the water out and I got back into the kayak. I was still fuming a bit at myself but eventually rowed it off and enjoyed the last bit of time I had in Seattle. After turning the kayaks in and saying goodbye to Catnipped, I quickly changed in a changing room and it was off to the airport. Till next time! And a big thanks to Catnipped for hanging out with me for the week :)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As most of you already know, I made two trips in the past two consecutive weeks to the west coast. First trip was to San Diego for the International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation where I presented my work on magnetic photonic crystals as a well as lead an outreach to find new users for the DoD supercomputers as part of my job. This particular trip was sort of rushed on my part due to me not wanting to push my luck on the travel budget, so I didn't get to see as many sights in San Diego as I wanted. On day one (7-8-2008), I did however get to meet up with KL2, one of my undergraduate friends who had just happened to be vacationing there with his girlfriend, so I meet up with them for dinner on Tuesday. We got some sushi at Ra Sushi, which was sort of a contemporary-looking sushi place, and cashed in on the last five minutes of their happy hour to enjoy some cheap but really good sushi. KL2 had a travel book with him and after dinner, he suggested that we go to a dessert place that the book suggested called Extraordinary Desserts. And man...the desserts there were very exquisite and extraordinary indeed. In honor of DragOnfruitS (and since I'm a sucker for chocolate), I had myself a slice of Viking, which was surprisingly not as sweet as I expected from looking at it, but it was still a really good cake. After desserts, KL2 and his girlfriend called it a night, so I headed back to my hotel to meet up with Kira, who had just gotten out of his Chinese class. Since Kira didn't live in downtown San Diego, we just strolled around downtown and talked about random stuff. We also went back to my hotel room so that I could show Kira the presentation that I would be giving the next day, and somehow I got to show Kira around Facebook, which seemed to draw some interest to him as he seems to update his Facebook profile pretty regularly now :P I have to mention though that this hotel room at the Westin was pretty awesome. It was on the 21st (or was it 24th?) floor and had a really nice view of the city and the waterline. The highlight though had to be the dual headed shower, which for whatever reason was really comfortable to shower in :)
My presentation was at 8 am the next day (7-9-2008), so I got up early to head over to the Grand Hyatt where the conference was going on. When I finally found the room where I'd be giving my presentation, I was sorta shocked at how large it was (probably fit about 100+ chairs), and they had a 12 foot screen behind the speaker for his/her slides. So this was definitely the biggest crowd that I'd ever spoken to, but once I got started, the nerves went away and the talk went pretty smoothly although I have the tendency to talk ahead of what I'm thinking. The chairman of the presentation group that I was in acknowledged to me later that he was impressed to see the results that I presented, so that felt good to hear :) Afterwards, I attended a few talks and managed to find some new potential users, but I was dead tired by mid-afternoon, so I went back to the hotel to nap for a bit. After waking up, it was around dinner time, but I didn't feel like going out to a restaurant by myself, so I ordered up a burger from room service, which turned out to be pretty good, and watched my new vice, So You Think You Can Dance, to hold me over till AI starts again.
The next day (7-10-2008) was pretty much spent on travel, so nothing much to report on that day. But I definitely want to return to San Diego again another day since there were a bunch of museums to the north that I didn't have a chance to visit, plus maybe I'll go catch Shamu at Sea World.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Without trying to spoil anything, I will note that the message that the second half of the movie delivers seems to go against Disney's company ideals. But the message didn't really detract from that much in my eyes, so definitely go see WALL-E if you have the chance! :)
Oh, and the cartoon short they had before WALL-E was really good as well :)
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I shouldn't be worried bout it too much, but I sometimes get a sense of deja vu every so often and then realize that I had dreamed of it before. Hopefully there won't ever be any deja vu with this dream...
Saturday, June 21, 2008
One of the unexpected perks for having my office at Aberdeen Proving Ground is the outdoor tank museum, which I had driven by every day this past week, so today I brought my camera over and took a bunch of pictures of the various tanks that were on display. I managed to get pictures of about 60% of the tanks on hand, so I'll have to make another trip next time to get more, but it's pretty cool to see the wide variety of tanks they have on display.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Maryland heat continues to beat down today, but fortunately, half of my apartment is below ground, so there's some extra insulation to keep my apartment shielded from the heat. Most of my stuff has been unboxed (except for the books), and I've found that I probably brought a bit more stuff over than I comfortably have room for (the BBQ grill is taking up a bit of the kitchen), so it looks like my parents'll have to take some stuff back when they come down this weekend.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
To pass the time, my parents and I drove over to Delaware to go to the Christiana Mall, which excited my mom since Delaware doesn't have any sales tax. But how they get you is by setting up 2 toll booths so you end up $10 to go to the mall :P
8 PM rolls around on Saturday night and the movers show up and quickly unload all of my stuff. So everything arrived, but I'll take the next weekend to set everything back up. Now I'm back in Ohio to take care of some other errands before heading to work on the 16th.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
After a three day stay at the body shop, Kungmobile 2 is now back in my hands as of yesterday without the scratches and dents :) I talked to the manager on how the repairs were done, and apparently they have some magic filler that they spread on top of the hood surface after stripping the paint to fill in the dents, and then they put a new layer of paint and clear coat. Whatever they did, they did a nice job on it as the hood and side fenders pretty much looks as good as new :)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
=VGI= members should listen to the Rock Band song list on Seeqpod so they know what to expect when they play :P You might be surprised at what songs you might know (I didn't know that the song they played in that SNL skit with Will Ferrell and the cowbell was "Don't Fear the Reaper"). For those who have played Portal and finished it, I did download Still Alive, so warm up those falsetto voices if you want to sing this song :P
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Update: After getting some estimates on the costs, the apartment manager agreed to pay for all the costs that are involved to fix my car.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I've been thinking on and off about how to schedule things for VO4, and I've come up with a tentative plan for what to do on Saturday and Sunday.
- After everyone wakes up, we head to Marshall's for some breakfast.
- After Marshall's, we hit up Dave and Buster's since Grapes mentioned to me that he hasn't been there before.
- Lunch at D&B's or we can head to House of Japan. When we eat will depend on how much everyone eats at Marshall's, where they have huge pancakes :P
- To keep ourselves from food coma, I was thinking of having some sort of outdoorsy activity. I had mentioned Frisbee golf to Velius, who initially thought that involved throwing quarter-sized Frisbees into a golf hole ;) There's a Frisbee golf course around the Ohio State west parking lot, so I could give a brief OSU tour too if people wanted to see the campus before or after golfing. If there are any other activities in mind that anyone wants to do, we could do it during this time as well.
- The new Indiana Jones movie is coming out the week of VO4, so if everyone has a joint interest in seeing it, we could go see it as a group after dinner.
- If after all this we're not too tired and it's not too late, I will treat all =VGI= members to Graeters.
- This will primarily be BBQ day involving cooking, eating, football throwing, badminton playing, rock banding, karaoking, Bang!, Mafia, and maybe some poker if enough people are interested.
- This was a random idea that just came to mind. We could have a =VGI= dinner on Monday night be one where every person prepares a dish that is somehow related to your =VGI= name.
Anyway, this is the tentative plan I had in mind. We don't have to follow it by any means, but I figure since I'm the host, I have a plan in case no one has any idea on what to do :)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Honda gives all of their XM radio-capable cars a free 3 month subscription, , and on the long drive from PA to Ohio, I discovered how nice it is to have XM radio since before, I was usually station hunting about 4 or 5 times during the drive to find something that I want to listen to. With XM, the station stays the same wherever you are. XM also transmits all the info about what you're listening to like artist and song title, which is nice for those times when you're thinking "hmm...I've heard this before, but I forgot what it's called...". Although I do find it funny that for the channels that have commercials, the commercial info will come up as well.
The weather hasn't been that nice the past couple of week, and since K2 is white, it's pretty easy to see any sort of dirt and stains that get on the surface from rain splashing off the ground -_- This got me looking up online on what is the best way to wash/wax a car, but unfortunately, car washing and waxing seems to be a black art as all the sites I've looked at have their own "best" ways of washing/waxing cars and opinions on which products work best. I ended up getting some ideas, but I didn't have easy access to a hose, so I ended up taking K2 to a local car wash place that was always teeming with expensive-looking cars, so I figured it was a pretty safe bet. Sure enough, they did a pretty good job, so K2 is all nice and shiny again :) Once I move into my new apartment and get settled in, I'll try to figure out this black art of car washing...
The only negative thing I have to say about K2 is that the front driver and passenger doors doesn't shut with the same "thud" of a new car anymore, but I guess that's to be expected.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Q: What do you feel were the weaknesses of this instructor?
A: Although Kungfucius was knowledgeable, he was still not able to predict which piece of equipment was going to give us trouble that day.
Q: How do you feel the instructor could improve his/her teaching?
A: He could learn psychic powers.
Q: Was the instructor thoroughly familiar with the equipment and experiments? Please explain.
A: Actually Kungfucius was pretty familiar with the common types of glitches that would occur with the equipment and he would be able to magically cure the problem. Sometimes I think that he could communicate with the archaic pieces of equipment and they would tell him which button he would have to push for them to work right.
Q: Was adequate assistance available during experiments and were the procedures/techniques properly explained? Please explain.
A: At some points even Kungfucius was unable to tame the 30 yr old oscilloscopes and other equipment and sometimes was unavailable to the other groups during these malfunctions
Time to learn some psychic powers!
Friday, March 21, 2008
At the end, I found a new apartment about 5 minutes away from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, so transportation won't be too much of a hassle for work. The CR-V did a good job of sipping gas as well, averaging about 27 MPG for the trip. Apparently, the GPS also allows birds to track your car better as bird poop managed to hit my car three times on the way back -_-
Some quick makeshift pictures of the CR-V
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I mean, it was fun to pretend to know how to play guitar on a fake plastic guitar, and younger DS owners might enjoy it, but I doubt (though I could be wrong) that the older DS owner would want to be caught playing this...
Monday, March 17, 2008
The dealership in Harrisburg had a "Green Tag" sale going on where they had these green tags hanging on the rear view mirrors with the reduced price. So my mom and I got out onto the lot to look around, and I saw a white CR-V in the lot, so I naturally went over to see what it had. Whoa! The CR-V was pretty much fully loaded, but the thing that caught my eye was the Honda GPS navigation system, which is pretty rare to find as my brother had to wait a couple of months for the dealership to get a Civic with the navigation system. So I looked at the tag hanging in the car just to see what it was priced at, and I had to do a double take because the price seemed waaaaaaaaaay too low. For comparison, the CR-V next to it basically had the same things as the white one minus the navigation system, and it was priced EXACTLY the same! o_O I showed this to my mom, who was quite surprised as well, and we both agreed that someone probably put the wrong tag in the car, but she figured if the dealership would sell it to us that day at that price, we'd probably buy that CR-V.
Long story short, the dealership said that someone had put the tag wrong inside the car and insisted on selling it for 1K more than the tag price, but my mom, being the master haggler, wouldn't budge and continued to insist that we would buy the car if we got it at that tag price. I personally thought this was an impossible proposition for the dealership to take, but they said yes at the end! I don't have the new Kungmobile yet, but I'll be picking it up on Thursday, so there will be pictures to come :) I looked up the price later on Edmunds.com and found out we got it just over $500 the invoice price.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Time to hit up research again and get that thesis going...
Saturday, March 8, 2008
When I went to sleep the night before, I had no idea that there was an impending snow storm coming, so I was really surprised to wake up the next morning to see almost a foot of snow on the ground through my window. The snow wasn't really coming down hard, and the flakes weren't that big, but the the snow just kept on coming at a steady pace and continued to accumulate throughout the day till maybe about 4:30 pm in the afternoon. The blustery wind also made the sight quite a bit more intimidating to watch through the window. Strangely enough, once the snow stopped, the sun came out and the sky cleared pretty quickly, so it was actually quite nice to step outside after the snow passed.
For some reason that morning, I foolishly thought about driving out to get some groceries, but after seeing the 2 and a half foot mound of snow behind the Kungmobile, I turned around and went back inside...
The copious amount of snow reminded me of a blizzard back when I was in high school. Not only was there 3 feet of snow on the ground, but Mother Nature decided to make the situation extra difficult with a 1 inch layer of freezing rain on top! Needless to say, my brother and I had that entire week off from school, but we had the time of our lives playing and sledding on the ice (once we dug out of our house). It was like the Jade Sea in Guild wars, except it was all white :)
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Seriously....Rambo is probably one of the MOST intense movies I've seen in a long time. It reminded me of the brutal action movies back in the 80s, and Stallone doesn't hold back in this new installment.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Although Memorial Day is still quite a bits away, I figure I put down some things that I've been thinking about for VO4. Judging from the responses that I've gotten, it looks like there'll be 5 people coming, which is a nice number because the Cove will sleep 5 comfortably. If you have your own favorite sleeping bag you want to bring along, feel free to bring it, but there're 2 couches, 2 inflatable queen-sized beds, and 1 sleeping bag available for use, so sleeping accommodations shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Like I said before, I'm gonna pick up Rock Band and a Xbox 360, which means we should never be bored on this trip :P Catnipped, if you have room to bring one of your GH guitars along, that would be great :) I don't know how warm it'll be when May rolls around, but my apartment complex has two swimming pools with hot tubs if you feel like taking a dip. The apartment complex also has a movie theater (it's basically a really nice home theater) stocked with movies, so if everyone wants to watch some DVDs on a projector and surround sound, I can reserve it.
There aren't as many cool things to see in Columbus as compared to Seattle, but there're some things that might be worth seeing if everyone is interested.
COSI: This is one giant interactive museum where you can play around with robots, fly a flight simulator, and do a bunch of other sciency stuff. It's pretty fun the first time through, and you can see some pictures of the exhibits here from a previous trip.
Columbus Zoo: I was pleasantly surprised by the number of different animals that the zoo has to offer, so it's definitely worth a visit for animal lovers.
Cedar Point: This place is the roller coaster capital of the world. But I also know that Catnipped and Grapes aren't the biggest roller coaster fans, so it probably won't be as fun for them as for others. It'll also probably be a day trip, but I figure I mention it in case anyone is really dying to go.
Dave and Busters: Velius had mentioned he went there, but didn't really get the full experience, so I'm gonna put this as another point of entertainment.
As for places to eat, here are some places that came to mind.
Hang Over Easy: Velius expressed a wanting to eat at some mom and pop places, so this is one of the two breakfast places that came to mind. This is a popular venue for OSU students since it's located on the edge of campus. I can't vow whether their food can make hangover's easier, but their breakfasts are pretty good, and they have a lot of creative names to their menu items.
Marshall's Restaurant: Here's the other mom/pop breakfast place I had in mind. They serve food all day, but I've only ate their breakfast, and it's pretty darn good. They serve some pretty huge pancakes (we're talking like basketball diameter-sized), but they also have a variety of omelets, and Dragon approves of their biscuits and gravy.
Jeni's Ice Cream: A mom and pop ice cream parlor with a bunch of unique flavors that you'll probably not see anywhere else.
House of Japan: This is the Japanese steakhouse that I'm sure I've mentioned before. Dragon and I eaten there so many times we have nicknames for all the different chefs, but it never gets tiring to eat there especially when it's prepared well. If we do want to eat there, definitely bring your appetite because it is a LOT of food. Their lunch special is probably the best deal, but you get more food variety and a better show for their dinners.
Cap City Diner: This is one of the many Cameron Mitchell restaurants around Columbus. They have a variety of different foods and deserts, and I've been pleased every time I've come to eat there. Just make sure you don't attempt to eat the Seriously Bigger Chocolate Cake by yourself like I did...
Restaurant Hama: I just went there over the weekend, and this place has some incredibly good sushi. And with sushi names like Sunday Morning and Area 51, how can you go wrong? Restaurant Hama is part of the Easton Town Center shopping area, so if you don't feel like sushi, there're a billion and 1 other choices there to eat :P
Graeters: Before any of you leave Columbus, I will have to take you to Graeters for some ice cream, since I heard or read somewhere that you should have some Graeters' ice cream at least once before you die. And boy, their ice cream is good...
I was also thinking of having a BBQ maybe on Sunday or Monday and inviting some OSU friends from out of town. Therefore we could have a huge game of Bang! or Mafia going, and we would have a live audience for all of our Rock Band performances :P
Someone had mentioned golf, and there is a driving range relatively nearby if everyone wanted to go and take a couple of swings. We also have a 9 hold golf course really close by that only costs about $10 to play, but as a part of golf etiquette, everyone who plays needs to have their own clubs, so it would be hard to get our group to go play.
OSU also recently revamped their rec center, so we have some pretty awesome facilities for sporting activities like wall climbing and racquetball. The thing is it'll cost like $10 to get access to the indoor facilities. If the weather is nice, there're outdoor basketball and tennis courts available for free as long as we get to the courts first.
Anyways, that's all that I can think of for now. If there's something you want to do or see or comment on, please let me know :)
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
It's time again to give yourself some new goals for the new year, and I'm looking to see if I can improve on my 0.500 batting average on last year's resolutions.
Graduate this year/Find a job: Yeah, I know that Kira won't be happy with me repeating some of my resolutions, but I have a much better idea of my graduation schedule now, so hopefully this'll be the year that it happens. I'm combining this with the job resolution since my advisor thinks that there're opportunities for me this year to find a job before I graduate.
Lose some weight: M is convinced that I've somehow gained weight, so to keep her from nagging me, I'll strive to lose some weight this year. I'm about 858 Newtons at the moment, so we'll see what the scale says at the end of the year. I think ideally, I want to be in the 823 Newton range.
Wake up a earlier each day during the weekdays: I've been typically getting up at around 8:30 am to 9 am, so I'll try to make more of the day by getting up an hour earlier, like around 7:30 am or so. Maybe I need to move overseas or something, because I was getting up at around 5 am without any problems while I was at Taiwan :P
Cut back on Ice chewing: This can be a good or bad habit depending on how you look at it. I can chew through a bowl of ice as if it were a bowl of pretzels, and on one hand, I could look at it like I'm replenishing lost water for my body (and maybe burning some extra calories at the same time since my body needs to warm the ice into water). But on the other hand, it's easier to drink water, and ice chewing probably won't be good for my teeth in the long run. I've already had practically every teeth-related health care done on my teeth and don't particularly care for any more in the near future, so I'll take care of my teeth and cut back on the ice chewing.
Maximize fun for Veg Out IV: Columbus Edition, and Veg Out V: EVACuation Edition: The task has been put on me to plan the next two Veg Outs, but I sorta enjoy planning get-togethers. Hopefully I can follow in the footsteps of Catnipped's awesome hosting in Seattle, and we can finally have Grapes attend a Veg Out :)