Friday, May 21, 2004
The Blog Lives On!

Cool, Blogspot changed their interface. I guess it's more efficient than the last one. Even has a spellcheck. But who would use such a thing... The bloggin' x-perience iz all about da slangz 'n da 1337-zpeak rite?

So I guess my rate of update so far is around 1 post a month.. Hehe, I haven't forgotten. I do think about a lot of things on a regular basis, just forget to say 'em and share 'em. By the end of the day, work has drained my mind of its energy; and what little momentum I have when I get home, I've spent it cooking (it's therapeudic and how I unwind half of my weeknights), practicing the guitar, playing the occasional TV zombie, etc.

I'm far worse at summarizing than others, so I'll refer to chpstcks' blog to tell you about our little trip to LA and E3 last week. He seems to emphasize mainly on the *food* tho... Hehe, actually that's at least 1/2 of what the trip was about. Even tho' I'm up here in the bay area, we seldom see such a concentration of cheap *and* specialized asian restaurants, let alone taiwanese cuisine. So yes, if I had to sum up the trip in a sentence, it would be, "what a great way to see my friends!" But if I had to do it in 3 words it would be ?-?-?... ("shim-ba-la", or as chpstcks calls it.. "new guava" -_-).

So I just spent some time cleaning the paint off some brake calipers that I'm eventually putting on my car. The cleaner I sprayed onto them is called aircraft paint stripper. Sounds industrial-strength, doesn't it? Hell yeah!! Last time I used this stuff I realized my disposable nitrile gloves (better than latex supposedly) barely protects my hands. If I get any on my hands, the gloves wrinkle up as if they're pretending to be prunes, and it takes but a couple of minutes before I get a cool, tingly feeling on my fingers. And since the process of paint-removing involves scraping the gunk off, it obviously gets messy quickly. Working on a car can be such a chore sometimes, alas.

Well, tomorrow I'm hoping to check out a couple of used Miata's for potential buying. Yeah I'm hoping to get a daily beater, so that I can start doing work big projects on the Corrado and at least preserve its value somewhat. I'll post some more in the afternoon when I drop by w0rk. Gotta put in some extra hours... cuz I'm going to Miami with Bert, Jane, and David (my current housemate in sunnyvale, not to be confused my previous roommate) next weekend! Ahh! Grr.. the rush of trying to get w0rk done and the anticipation of tropical sun and awesome gelato (Parmalat off Lincoln St in Miami Beach, best I've ever had) -- and the tension of it all!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Food for Thought

Tonight, I brought a half-eaten bento box of Taiwanese to-go to my cubicle, and I made sure I chewed and savored every bite of it.

Nine thirty pm. I came in originally because I thought I'd do some extra work, to make up for distracting myself with the web browser all day long today and yesterday--it's been hard lately to focus my attention on my job. I was also planning to finish the meal I only half-ate earlier before class.

Nine fourty-one pm. As I munched and glanced at someone else's blog, I realized that it's been almost a month since I was last reminded that I had things to say. A month that felt just like last week. I stopped chewing. I must have bought these bentos twenty times, but when was the last time I tasted what I was eating? I jet around in search of scenes to photograph, but when was the last time I handed my own camera to a bystander and say, here, take a picture of me and my friend? When was the last time I had something insightful to say to somebody, and could expect them to follow that conversation a month down the road? Or why is it that whenever I call home, "how I am doing" is always followed by "work is okay, same as usual"?

I made sure I chewed and savored the last of my meal. The chinese mustard green had bits of fried challot sprinkled onto them. The tofu chicken was not as chewy as it's usually made but the dipping sauce was good. The rice tasted great with the little bits of pickled radishes and veggie hearts on the side. I left the egg yolk alone because I'm wary of blatant sources of cholesterol.

Nine fifty-three pm. As I write this, I realize I need to somehow start tasting each day the way it is again, and savor the bits and sides of every morning, noon, and night. But I will have to think about how. Whether that I force myself to flip a calendar page each day, or that I start keeping notes of random thoughts again, or that I accomplish my work through sprinting in between resting instead of relying on a constant droning cruise-control. I think I'll have a lot more to say once I think about it..

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Away with it all..

I want to start my blog anew. I just finished cleaning up the template, and now I'm getting tired, with melancholy circus music playing in my head. It's more like a waltz than a silly polka that you might have imagined. I'll try to update on what's been happening. (That's almost a year and a half from the last entry; I must be crazy! No, simply been living low-key. =)

Saturday, December 21, 2002

AWW crap, it's barely 3 days til Christmas and I'm stuck in the office trying to debug this device driver, while some Jurrasic 5 verses play openly from the laptop. No one's around here to listen. Too tired to write about much, except to proudly announce, I bought a new car!

But it's not the one below. Not exactly anyhow. So I went to the Opera two weeks ago on a Thursday; Turandot was excellent -- I loved the music and its simple but elegant backdrop. Puccini even adopted the well-known Chinese folksong "Jasmine" into one of the main motifs of the music! If you're obviously Chinese and still know what I'm talking about, look up the translation for jasmine. It was even prevalently blended into the execution of a Persian prince in the first scene. Very intriguing to hear such a normally heart-warming song wrapped around quite the opposite atmosphere on stage.

Alright, about the car. I swung by the guy's place in SF before the opera, and check out the dark green corrado below a second time. Everything checked out okay; I just needed to look up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on to verify its history before finally sending him an offer. He seemed convinced I was a nice enough guy to even tell me what a previous speculator had already offered him, $7200; but I already had plans to offer $7800, a reasonable price that I was sure he would take up on and so told him I'd make him a very fair (*hint hint*) offer after I get back from skiing that weekend.

Funny how things turn out -- well he got an offer for $7700 that weekend, and seized that opportunity, feeling that I wasn't likely to counter-offer that amount (did I give the wrong impression?). Unsuspectingly, my hopes were high all weekend, and I was ready to call him to seal that deal on Monday. All I needed now was his phone number; ahh, it's on his email to my Yahoo! account.

And I open up yahoo, log into my account.

Hey, a couple emails from the man. First one says, someone made an offer for $7500, but I can counter-offer. Well, no big deal.

Second one, he just got an offer on Saturday he couldn't refuse. He consulted with Bob Barker and Bob says the Price is Right. He sold the corrado. Sold the corrado? And my mind returns to what I was doing Saturday. Stupidly falling over on the bunny slopes of Squaw Valley trying to remember how to snowboard. I didn't suspect I'd be outbid before even bidding!

Well, I definitely don't blame the guy; he was acting on his own hunches after all. I really should've just told him my interest in that car, and hop-scotch over the guessing game. Should've made that offer right away! All that hunting and researching for a corrado, I though were to be wasted. But as lady luck might have it, as I frantically searched craigslist, autotrader,, and whatever classified I could think of for Corrados and Nissan 240sx's (my next-up choice). I dug up an 5-day-old ad on craigslist for a red 1992 corrado. With aftermarket exhaust, 17" wheels, and new sound system. $5800. I couldn't believe my eyes. How could this car not be bought already, after how quickly I saw the first corrado go (and I'm not talking 0-60mph here)?

Well, I guess I did get lucky after all that. I called the second seller; the car's still on the market! Someone came by who said he loved the car but couldn't come up with the money to pay for it! I tried to act quickly, got my friend Markus (a car nut and a Type R owner) to come up and test drive it with me. Checked out the exterior and interior; asked the seller about its history. He really takes care of his cars; works on the Corrado and several dirt bikes in his own garage, so I felt like I could really trust him. Overall, I got a great impression of the car, and it was even in red, much fancier than the dark green.

Back at the batcave, I poured over more Corrado websites, did a VIN check, blue-booked the car from multiple angles of estimates. $5800 just seems like a good deal! I was sold on the car that night. And two days later, I was sold the car. So now I'm a proud owner of a red 1992 Volkswagon Corrado with barely 93k miles on it, and I have now the pleasure of cramping my left leg trying to learn stick-shift and not stalling it in 1st gear, like any armchair car "enthusiant" has dreamed. ;)

Alrighty and time for the salivating pics:

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

AS most of you know, i had a car acccident and messed my nissan up pretty bad last october. And so now I'm in the market for a new car.

I've been doing some amount of research. I don't want a new car yet; I don't believe I should get something shiny and new for the sake it being new. Plus, it's possibly I might end up damaging it again, judging from my track record so far. But don't worry -- I am being a lot more careful when I drive now. I think older cars have plenty of personality to them, and to me it's a romantic but warming idea to buy a unique car that I can learn to appreciate and take care of.

So here's a car that I've been looking at, up in San Francisco, that I'm almost set on getting -- a metallic green 1993 VW Corrado. No need for me to quote its spec here; you can easily find it on the web. I just like its simple but stealthy exterior, excellent handling, and a punchy V6 that supposedly makes this car shine while driving. This one comes with leather! The drawback is the Corrado (and VW's in general) can be expensive steeds to maintain and to buy parts for. Nevertheless, I'm set on taking care of this bugger if I can buy it. Tomorrow before going to see the opera Turandot I'm stopping by the owner's place in the city to take a look at it a second time. If I'm satisfied it I'll make him an offer. Thinking about it stirs my excitement!

HMM... i was just rummaging thru the japanese website that I got the apple sidra pic from, and came upon this one. "NETWORKER" drink? with resident evil characters on it? that's kinda cool; i'd drink something with Jill Valentine on it. Red Bull gives you wings; maybe this drink gives you the power to kick zombie ass in a tube-top.

Current song running through my head is Bonnie Pink's Curious Baby. A minute ago was Luna Sea's With Love. And a minute before that, Heart Baazar's Digitalis.

WHY is it that whenever I drink Taiwanese APPLE SIDRA [å_‰Ê�¼‘Å], my mouth starts to feel dry? This sharp and flavorful soda is apple-licious. It's great for sipping at work and is certainly more natural than Dr. Pepper or Coke. But it seems to dissolve the saliva right out of my mouth after a couple of gulps, leaving my tongue groping for more moisture like coffee tends to do, only without the after-taste. Maybe I should mix a little bit of vodka in there to smooth it out and add a bit of punch. Or maybe a lot of vodka. And rum maybe... hmm, some triple sec.. iced tea never soured my mouth, so why would a long island, right?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I updated my template today. Dude these things really takes up time for me. I lack the genes for web design, but imitation is a skill well-honed from school. Well, even typing up a blog entry moves slowly for me; I make solid use of that backspace key in search of the right words.

Well, nothing happened much for me last weekend, 'cept on last Friday I visited the scene shop of a very cool local theatre production company called Theatreworks. They schedule I think about 8 or 9 plays every year but still give you an intimate, mom-and-pop shop feel. I get envious of these smaller but more colorful companies. =) So they recently started this group, called the SET, for younger people interested in plays and productions, and Friday night was one of these behind-the-scenes SET events that I attended. Jodi who lead the volunteer program and Patrick of the scene shop took us into the back of company building, a spacious warehouse space chock full of wooden beams of different widths, tall slender steel and aluminum structures, and various assemblies that looked like could have easily come from a furniture or housing factory. Sitting within a clearing near the center was a mostly finished set, the structure and floors of half a log cabin, for their next production, On Golden Pond. The finish on the wooden staircase, the rough texture of the stone fireplace, windows opening to a wilderness, all look quite real until you step very close or peer behind them. You would then realize that the stairway was hallow and the stones were made of cheesecloth glued to foam. It was learning a bit about the magic behind the production process -- pretty cool. And they also had a few fun items lying around, like an exact replicat of a Ford Model-T with the original frame. They fitted a golf cart engine to it, but can't drive it on the street cuz they would need an electric vehicle registration! Another was a giant silver high-heel made of foam. Apparently people have rented it from them before, maybe for parties or such.

So that was Fri night. The rest of the weekend, I slacked off, switched between reading random magazines and Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, a Dutch author I've recently picked up some admiration for (hmm... I just found out the Dutch even made a movie about it.. I must check out). Went to dinner with a CMU friend Markus and talked about what new car I should buy (VW Corrado VR6 vs Mitsubishi Gallant VR4) and old video game consoles like the Sega CD. Rode with some nvidia interns to the outlets in Gilroy but decided not to buy anything.

Hmm... I'm itching to post up some new music to share with you guys (some more j-rock, in fact), but I've nowhere to place mp3s. Can't wait until I can get my hands on a decent desktop with the nForce2 motherboard, move into a new place with decent broadband, and be able to serve up my own stuff.

Hehe... I enjoyed chopstick's mini course on "Urban Parking Consulting in the Community." Of course, I think the lecture notes are incomplete. Why aren't these important locations pinpointed on the map itself? =) I'm waiting to sign up for the guest lecture series called "How not to Get Towed in Downtown Toronto."

Cheeseness aside... cheers.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

OH, and the word of wisdom for tonight is, don't go driving crazy around Schenley. in fact don't drive crazy anywhere, unless you really know what you're doing. I bet none of us do. Two of us can attest that the excitement of rounding corners at hair-style changing speeds cannot compare to the "thrill" of working with insurance claims and hospital bills, or the wrath of parents for that matter. And although one of us doesn't quite regret their accident (why squint your eyes at me), neither would recommend acting brashly and stupidly on the road. at least find a big parking lot for that. or double pad the sides of your car with pillow cushions or something.

DIVERSITY in the bay area is amazing, even overwhelming. You can't always take that for granted. There are no easy road signs pointing out psychedelic trance camp-out parties in the wilderness of San Joaquin valley, or the commentary film on gun violence called Bowling for Columbine playing at berkeley and stanford. But certainly, it's hardly possible not to find an interesting festival to scope out or some recreative activity to hone your skills with every weekend, if you've put in at least a tinge of effort and don't mind the necessary commuting around. I sometimes wonder if the occasional downfall of diversity is the loss of individuality. This area can be a very nurturing place for anyone to be yourself, discover yourself, remodel yourself. At the same time, I find myself tracking the paw prints to too many pursuits of different interests and end up losing the scent and the trail to all of them, and in straying from my pursuits I lose the scent of my own individual. The trick is to focus on and savor a few excursions at a time. Otherwise I'm a child in candy store, glutting myself with so many confections that each loses its unique flavor. Charcoal and pastel drawing. buying and fixing up a new car. expanding my exposure to literature and world affairs. training myself to indulge in my job (this may be most difficult). For the mean time, the game plan is to concentrate on these things. That and of course to write more on my blog. Each entry always unfolds at a tortoise's pace. it really does. but I haven't stopped writing down ideas, nor getting into troubles to tell you all about. I'll enlighten you in due time..