Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yoshi in a box



I moved again at the beginning of January. I tried to sneak Yoshi out in a box without LJ or Sara noticing.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My trip to Seoul, South Korea in December 2015

"How can there be Dunkin' Donuts in Seoul but not in California or Michigan?" --Me

(This post is about a month and half overdue.)

I took a 5 day trip to Seoul for LJ and Sara's wedding. When I first booked it, I thought it would be a 7 day trip, but you actually do lose 2 days to travel. It's like quasi-time travel because of the time zone differences. So as a result, I lost a day going there and got to relive Monday on my way back.

Seoul was a lot of fun. Here are some of the highlights:
  • The food there was so good.








    Surprisingly, one of the hipster restaurants we went to had the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin!

  • I went during the winter so it was cold. I bought a hat there though. It's like my other hat.

  • Despite what TripAdvisor said, they're not so English friendly. Everyone first tried to speak Korean to me. And I had to explain that I didn't speak Korean. One day I was wandering the streets of Gangnam for breakfast (while LJ was getting his hair dyed and cut) and I wandered into a McDonalds. So I did manage to order breakfast there.

  • I got a facial massage with LJ and Sara in Gangnam. That was fun.

  • I went to the MyeongDong district in Seoul by myself. LJ said it was the "Times Square" of Seoul. I've never felt so claustrophobic in my life before. There were just hordes and hordes of people. But I did manage to get street food (really good) and pastries (also really good). Korean department stores have this thing where they have a massive food court in the basement.

  • It's called the "N-tower"

  • All of the wedding stuff was fun. I got to accompany LJ and Sara while they went all over and took wedding photos. The actual wedding was really formal -- and I didn't understand a word of it because it was all in Korean.

  • 13 hours is a really long flight. It was worth it to pay extra for a direct flight.

  • Here are some more photos:




Everyday I'm shuffling

Remember how most of us had a Livejournal in high school? I find it amazing that I had material to write an entry practically every day. Though I think most of it was just silly recaps like "Today, KR squirted oranges all over my Fisics notes."
  • We got a new student in our lab who revealed the little Jason/Big Jason nomenclature to Big Jason

  • Sara banned LJ from using his phone because he is always on his phone. He really is always on his phone, example: any of my snapchats of him.

  • I got a bunch of coupons in the mail from moving. The USPS is so kind in giving away all of these coupons whenever you move, no wonder why they're in so much debt. I got to use the Target coupon today and I gave the Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel ones to LJ.

  • I'm doing a lot more walking now; I live approximately 1.3 miles away from the office. That's the farthest distance that I would consider walking.

  • I live next to the train tracks now. I didn't think there would be many trains but there are. I should start recording the train schedule. I think one of them was carrying corn because the next morning, as I crossed the tracks, I saw corn all over the ground.

  • Coffee is so good

Monday, January 25, 2016

Movies on the plane

It was about 13-14 hours each way to Seoul. I had loaded a bunch of movies on my cheap-o Amazon Fire tablet that I had gotten as a Cyber Monday deal. But it turned out that Delta's in-flight entertainment system had a huge movie selection that I ended up watching instead.

The Man from UNCLE Grade: A-. It was a really fun and enjoyable movie.

X-men: Days of Future Past Grade: B+. Although time travel freaks me out, it's never not enjoyable in movies.

Paper towns Grade: D+. This is a MLaw movie.

Ant man Grade: B. It's a fun Marvel movie.

Ted 2 Grade: C-. It was so bad I almost turned it off halfway through.

Comedians in cars getting coffee Grade: B+. I watched a few of these. These were fun and I had never heard of them before.

Trainwreck Grade: B. Lebron is surprisingly funny. More or less your standard romcom though.

Jurassic World Grade: A-. I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I expected.

The Year of 2015

It's time for me to write a year end post. This post's lengthiness is mostly for my own reflection's sake, so feel free to skip it as it's rather long.

For me, 2015 has been one of the longest years that I've ever experienced. Jake once told me that children think that time goes by really slowly because they haven't experienced a whole lot, so every thing seems new to them. And that newness and experiencing new things makes time seem like it goes slowly. (This article seems to back that up)

2015 was filled with all sorts of adventures for me.

  • Car adventures: Approx 3000 miles on my car this year
  • Video game adventures: Started the year playing Borderlands 2 with Kee and David, ended it playing Terraria with Kee and David.
  • Travel adventures: Countless number of trips

January
"Walking down Palm Drive is one of my hobbies"

I went back out to California for another extended internship. But first that meant I was going to vacate my apartment in Michigan and put all of my stuff in a storage unit. It was about my sixth move or so in Ann Arbor. This was the first one in sub-zero temperatures though. Moving is a nice forcing function to not hoarding things.

I made it out to California okay; I made sure that I got a Jamba Juice within the first few days. KR and Kee were kind enough to let me crash at their places for a few weeks while I was homeless. I was suffering from extreme jet lag (a common theme for the year). I would fall asleep at around 9PM while KR and I tried to watch Parks and Rec. We were able to watch all seasons of Parks and Rec before I was able to find a place out there.

I caught back up with MZ and Jedy. I did some limited condo shopping with them and I got to see how ridiculous it is to try to buy any sort of real estate in the Bay Area. Also they have 2 dogs.

I found a place in SF living with Tim. We adoringly called our place "the cave" because it was both in a basement and next to a bar.

February
"Who is this?"

I caught back up with Sarita while I was out there. She had deleted my number or lost her phone or something. Turns out, she was living relatively close to "the cave" so we hung out a bunch. I got to meet some of her cool friends as well and we all had a good time.

I went pottery painting with Jess and painted Moose, a tiny ceramic cat. Also, cool matching mugs.

I went skiing for the first time ever. MZ and I flew to Boston for Song's bachelor party and went up to Sunday River for "skiing". I borrowed KR's winter coat with all of his lift tickets on it so it seemed like I had gone to a lot of ski places in the Northeast. That was a quick trip though, redeye on Friday and back on Sunday. We almost got snowed in in Boston, though, but we just barely made it out before they got another bunch of snow.

March
Pink Shorts

I ended up going to Cancun for the subsequent wedding. It was my first time in Mexico and it was really hot and humid. I didn't have shorts, but luckily, MZ was kind enough to lend me his awesome pink shorts. The wedding was awesome and lots of fun was to be had all around.

The nice thing about being in a major metropolitan area is that you get a lot of friends visiting the area. DH stopped by for a quick trip and tried out trench coats and to stand next to a statue of his idol, Willie Mays. I also got to see Kat on her trip out there.

April
Sleepwalking
I went with TM and the other 2 members of his company to Oracle Arena to see the Warriors play. This was my first trip to Oakland and it took about an hour and a half from work. I wish that I could say it was faster the other time I went straight from work but it wasn't. Oracle Arena was awesome except I fell asleep during the second half and I managed to stay awake enough to see Harrison Barnes make the game winning basket at the buzzer.

Ben came down from Seattle to visit us all. It's weird when your friends from one place all gather in another. TM, Ben, and I caught up on some FIFA action on the Xbox.

May
Adventures in NYC

I took an extended weekend trip to NYC for Brent's wedding and to see een and Dave. The wedding was an absolute blast as I drank everyone under the table and then they followed me under the table. My current fad at the time was trying to get people to chant someone's name when I was drunk. So we got the entire party bus to chant Will's name.

NYC was a blast. een showed me through Central Park, I got to have a $10 hot dog, I got to see the Met, and we walked on the High Line. It felt a bit claustrophobic at times, but that felt good, in a way, it felt very real.

Back in California, KR and I went on a 2 year overdue shopping expedition, code named "life upgrade". We also finally did some canvas painting after months of planning. Unfortunately it was our only canvas painting.

June
Beers

Alex moved out to the Berkeley! We went on a nice nature hike with Sarita and Beth. Sometimes the Bay Area can be nice even though it's a giant desert.

Since Alex moved out to Berkeley, I was able to head out there a few times for dinner. MLaw and his brother Mike also made a trip out there, randomly. It was actually really nice having so many familiar faces in the area. It's one of the things I cherish most about the Bay Area. You get chance encounters like running into Alex at one of my favorite coffee shops in SF.

I went to my first beer fest with Tim and TM. TM dropped some bottles of beer he had bought, I told someone he was internationally ranked in chess, there was some really drunk girl who tried to kick down the bathroom door. We talked to some group of people, and then Tim and I ran into them at another beer fest right before I left.

July
Mendochino
MZ, Jedi, Fan, and I went up to Mendocino for July 4th. US1, the cliffs, and the ocean are insanely scenic.
Also, then later that weekend I did a fun bar crawl up through SF with Tim and Maggie. And we got In-N-Out.

Later in the month, a bunch of us went to see a baseball game in Oakland. They had a craft beer station there, which lead me to the revelation that craft beer is actually taking off at baseball stadiums around the US.

Also, nitro cold brew is apparently a thing and it's amazing.

August
More traveling

A quick trip up to Oregon and Bend and then up to Seattle for work and to see Ben for a week. I got to commute from Redmond to Seattle for the week on public transit. It was more convenient than I imagined. Ben and I got to play basketball. We also got to eat Taco Bell, pizza, Red Robin, Cold stone, and we went to a tequila bar where we got so many nachos. That's actually a lot of things that I really like to eat. We also discovered Rick & Morty and we watched the entire first season of it.

I got my DSLR; there was a deal on Woot. I also had a really fun birthday in Golden Gate Park in SF. Kevin, Sarita, Aaron, Alex, Alex's brother, Ben, and TM were all there. It's weird to think that two of the most fun birthdays I've had in the past 20 years have been in SF. (Sidenote: Retrospectively I'm starting to think that I like SF a lot more than I acknowledge).

Right before I left SF, een got to come visit SF for work. She kept calling Palo Alto, "San Francisco". Also, now I make fun of her for flying into SFO and then taking a cab to Milpitas. No one else finds this as funny as me. Even when I tell them this story and explicitly tell them that it's funny.

She did, however, get to see "the cave", get $4 toast from The Mill, and Bi-rite ice cream.

September
Back in Michigan

Phew, I made it back to Michigan on a redeye. But the humidity what is this humidity? I need to change into shorts. Luckily I left a pair of shorts in my car.

That was pretty much my train of thought when I first got back.

LJ and Sara had gotten "American-married" the week before. They also had a house. In the time that I had left and come back, they had bought a house and fixer uppered it. Also, Yoshi.

I moved into an apartment that was kind of far away from everything.

Ben, Dave, TM, and I tried to start a podcast.

October
Adventures in Pittsburgh

di di and Sam came to visit AA. It was really nice to see them. I showed them my apartment and my office. Then we had dinner with Sam's family. It was nice.

I finally made a trip to Pittsburgh to visit Matt. Jean, Matt and Chris also came from DC and met up with Dave who was also there for recruiting. We got a really cool Pittsburgh tour from Matt and Rachel and I got to scope out some warehouses.

My car is horrible for any sort of road trip. The trip to Pittsburgh was only 4.5 hours and it was miserable. I'm just not cutout for long road trips.

November
AA is pretty good

I went to a David Mitchell reading with EB and Bri. I really enjoyed it and I picked up a couple of his books that he later signed.

LJ and Sara moved into the apartment. So it got a bit more crowded in the apartment but also a lot more fun.

LJ and I cooked short ribs in the slow cooker and real ribs in the oven. They actually turned out really good. LJ says that every first-generation immigrant knows how to cook.

December
A break

December was great. I fly all the way around the world for LJ and Sara's wedding in Seoul. It was the longest flight I had ever been on (well actually the longest flight that I remember).

I went back to my parents' place for Christmas. I really needed those 3 weeks. It was a nice break hanging out my family and my friends.

Post of things to come

Sorry, I'm behind on my blogging. 2016 has been a little busy already.

I moved, again. I did my thesis proposal, finally. I was at the grocery store earlier today and I like the small grocery carts so much better than the traditional large ones. Also I'm not as against the self-checkout lines anymore.

Here are a few blog entries that I'd like to write when I get around to it.

  • Long version of my trip to Seoul
  • Movies on the plane
  • 2015 in review
  • The Exit Row
  • I'm not sure I like traveling

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fun with my sister's phone

een: Ugh I want a crunch wrap from Taco Bell
PR: Then go get one

Sunday, November 29, 2015

tru



I've been saying "t-r-u" (pronounced tee-are-ewe) instead of saying "true."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ATM Machines Machines

I like to carry around some cash with me, just as a safety net. Some places these days still only accept cash. I say "still" with the implication that they are in the stone age, but there were plenty of places in SF that only accepted cash as an active choice, probably as some form of hipsterism protest.

* On my recent trip to Pittsburgh, I forgot to take out some cash before leaving. I didn't realize tolls would be a good amount of cash, but luckily I had enough cash to pay the tolls out of Ohio and into Pennsylvania.

As a result, I end up having to go to the ATM quite often. When I take out money, I always count the amount to make sure that I get the amount requested. But while I do this I have the lingering thought that one of these times the ATM will dispense me one $20 bill short.

What if the bank were involved in a scheme to purposefully dispense ATM withdrawals one bill short every 1 in 100,000 withdrawals? How many people would notice that they are one bill short of their withdrawal amount? How many people would follow up with the bank on this?

How would you even follow up with the bank?

"Um, excuse me, you owe me $20."

How do they know you're not just making it up?

Even if they do give you the $20 to make it up, they still have a net positive expected value since there will be people who inevitably don't notice the missing bill or won't go and complain. This sounds like the perfect criminal scheme to skim people of their money, slowly.

These are the types of paranoid things I think of when I count my bills at the ATM.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween in Pittsburgh



It's been a great year of travel.

I made the drive this weekend down to Pittsburgh. It's only about 4 and a half hours from here, but it's been a while since I've done any sort of road trip of significant length.*

* The one before was probably my trip to Danny and Emily's wedding where I almost fell asleep driving to Toronto to meet Mark to drive down to Jersey.

It's been great seeing different cities and exploring different neighborhoods and pockets in them. Matt and Rachel showed us around a few different neighborhoods: Lawrenceville, Shadyside, the Strip, Mount Washington/the Incline.



As promised, there were a bunch of shops that were converted warehouses. We also saw a bunch of signs for warehouses for sale or lease. The dream of converting a warehouse to lofts is still very much alive.


Here's a picture from a coffee shop that's in a converted warehouse.


Here are some things that struck me about Pittsburgh:
  • It struck me as an old city, both visually and culturally. Lots of brick, exposed and exterior.

  • Like most other cities, it seemed to be growing, with lots of visible construction. Pittsburgh is the smallest city that I've visited/been to this year. SF, Seattle, and NYC had construction galore.

  • With going across all of the bridges and rivers and through tunnels, it felt like Philly. The GPS got lost on our way to Mount Washington so we went through a tunnel then right back through it and then across a bridge again. The city felt a bit sprawly and I definitely needed my car to get around.

  • With all of the rivers, I forgot that Pittsburgh actually is right smack in the middle of the state of Pennsylvania and not on a large body of water. It has that character of being a land-locked city.

  • We went down to the Strip District on Sunday Morning and there was a great farmer's market and we had a great brunch. It felt very old timely, like how these things felt before hipsters/yuppies/gentrification happened to most cities.

  • Some parts of the city are safe. I parked my car on the street outside of Matt's house on Friday but forgot to lock my car and it wasn't broken into. The next night I locked my car and it still wasn't broken into.

  • I had a Pumpkin Ale with a cinnamon rim

Pallet Town

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I feel like Bane broke my back


My back completely locked up this morning and I've had to endure back pain all day and the inability to turn my head. I made sure to complain enough about it so that everyone in my office knew about it. I'm not sure what I did to my back, it's probably just perpetual bad sitting posture.

Today was the second day in a row that I've gotten up before sunset. It probably won't be a third day in a row considering I'm still up (due in part to the Royals-Mets game). I've been getting up early because city inspectors have been inspecting apartments in my apartment complex and I don't really want to be sleeping when they barge in. I think they came today because my microwave clock was reset when I got home today and it seems like the type of thing that city inspectors would do.

Also, I brought my car in for an oil change and servicing. I feel like it always costs a lot more than I expect. And there's always something wrong with my car. Just like everything else in my life, I just tell them to put it off until later.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Autumn

I keep wanting to write a blog post about my time travel adventures, but I'm finding I'm having a hard time writing it, so it'll have to wait...




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Doodle is a palindrome

"I unlock the remaining 90% of my brain when I'm drunk"

They made a TV show out of that Bradley Cooper movie Limitless. I don't remember much about the movie. It went something like this: Bradley Cooper was a struggling writer* who took the drug NZT, finished writing his book, did lots of stuff while high on NZT, crashed, then became a Senator. I don't like the premise of the TV show because they're making Bradley Cooper out to be a bad guy, and I don't think Bradley Cooper should ever be a bad guy. Unless he's an Eagles fan, or the bad guy in The Hunger Games. Actually, I take that back, I don't think he's actually in the Hunger Games.

* There are so many movies about struggling writers. I can't help but think it's because movie screenwriters wish they could be novelists but had to settle with being movie writers. Then they expressed their futility through their characters.

Isn't it great how Bradley Cooper was in Jack & Bobby? With Logan Lerman. It's so random. It's presumably more random that there was historical fiction teen drama on the WB (loosely) derived from the lives of JFK and RFK. Or maybe it's more random that DH thought it was the rightful heir to West Wing (when really the heir to West Wing was Psych with Dule Hill).


Maybe this post should have been titled, "Brady Cooper is a palindrome."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Water park construction

They're building a water park in the middle of the quad.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Whole Foods

"Do you know what my favorite grocery store is?"
...
"Is it Whole Foods?!"
"No...it's not Whole Foods"

I just spent $30 on beer, milk, and coffee at Whole Foods. It's because I'm a coffee snob. And a beer snob. And I buy organic milk.

I think I might be a yuppie.

The first time I went to a Whole Foods was when I was living in Seattle for the summer. It was the first time that I had even seen a Whole Foods. The yuppie couple ahead of me in line had finished checking out their groceries and they ended up with only two paper bags full of groceries. Somehow their total came out to be over $200.

I ended up buying blueberries and organic dish detergent. The dish detergent ended up being horrible. It was clear colored. Never buy colorless dish detergent. I'll add that to my list of life rules.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Slow cookers



People are always so hesistant to try them but slow cookers are absolute life changers

YES! I definitely preach about slow cookers and if I wrote a TV show, I would definitely include a bit about how awesome slow cookers are.


Arrow?! You named your baby Arrow?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why I drink my coffee black


1) It tastes better.

2) I don't have to have sugar or cream in my apartment. I barely even have salt and pepper, how can I be expected to have sugar and cream?

3) When the barista asks you if you need room for cream, you can say no and get more coffee.

4) You don't have to awkwardly pour some coffee out when the barista fills your cup too full and you want to put cream in it.

5) It makes cleaning out your coffee tumbler much easier.

6) You don't have to decide between putting in regular sugar, brown sugar, half and half, or cinnamon (or all of the above). And then you don't have to worry about finding a mixing stick.

7) You can sound stuck up and describe all of the different aromas you can taste when in actuality all you can taste is burnt coffee.

8) It's gangster, like wearing your backpack with only one strap over your shoulder.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Open containers



Instead of drinking from the can, I'm drinking from a glass and it tastes better. I do the same thing with coffee now too. I think just being able to smell makes it taste better.

But what do I know, I'm a sub-taster and also sub-smeller (probably correlated).