Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Zen of Motorcycles

I've been tempted to get my motorcycle license. In Michigan it only costs $20 for a course after which you can get your license. Plus, parking for motorcycles is pretty widely available most places.

I like these older looking motorcycles. It's like a motorcycle Captain America would ride on.

However, I will never ride a motorcycle because so many things can go wrong while riding a motorcycle. I could just fall over while sitting at a red light and then not be strong enough to lift it up off of me. Or falling off while riding and skinning myself all over pavement. Or just plain getting hit by a car and going flying. Or fall into a pot hole and then go flying. Or slipping on a turn while it's raining on wet pavement.

So ultimately I've convinced myself that there are enough bad things that can happen to you while riding a motorcycle where I won't ever ride a motorcycle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pixel Art

Kevin and I made these about a year ago. I borrowed the idea from some artwork that I saw in a bar in SF. We ordered a bunch of canvases and paint off of Amazon. Then we picked up a couple of paintbrushes at a local art store.

We designed these on the computer using a 24x24 grid. Then it was just fill in the color in each of the squares.

It turns out each bottle of paint is a lot of paint. We also needed to apply a lot of paint in order to make the colors dark enough so that the underlying grid we drew didn't show through.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trying out the "cloud"

A week or so ago my family went through a huge hassle to try to get an iCloud shared album set up. And I'm still not convinced that we have it properly set up.

In one of my attempts to join a shared album, I thought I had to enable iCloud drive, but my storage exceeded that of my free iCloud provision. So I bought the bullet and decided to pay for additional iCloud storage. I got the $2.99/month plan for 200GB, which is about one hipster coffee a month (slightly less, sometimes)*.

* Meanwhile my subscription plans are starting to add up. Currently I have Netflix, Spotify, and now iCloud. When I move to NYC and get rid of my car, I will free up my monthly car insurance expense so I might add the online HBO too. But I'd be doing that strictly for John Oliver. Great show.

So finally, I think we got it to mostly work with about 3 or 4 members of my family having set up a shared album correctly. Invites to shared albums disappeared and reappeared. Shared images were "shared" but didn't show up in other people's phones. I really don't trust Apple to do the cloud right and yet, they're the only company that I'm currently paying for a "cloud" service. And they mostly convinced me by making it incredibly cheap. I turned on the option to let Apple automatically sync my photos and it has been taking a while to upload over 23,000 photos from my computer. It's been over a week now and it's only uploaded 14,000 of my 23,000 photos. (I still have yet to figure out a decent workflow for my DSLR photos but that's a post for another day)

Also, as a result of having access to over ten thousand photos on my phone, it's pretty much now impossible to find a particular photo that I'm looking for. E.g. I want to find that cute Yoshi photo from a couple years ago. Impossible. I want to find that picture of DH in a trench coat. Impossible. I want to find a picture of dinner from that one time. Impossible.

Every so often I like to look back and marvel at the technological progress that we've made over the past few years. Like how I can easily watch a movie on my TV now that I rented and downloaded from the Internet without having to have the correct cable to hook up my laptop to the TV*.

* Remember in college how we were always looking for the correct adapter and cable to hook up to the TV in the dorm lounge

This is almost the moment where I can look back and marvel at how cheap and accessible cloud storage is now.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spectating eSports

I've recently, in the past couple of years, gotten into watching professional Starcraft. If you had told me this just like 5 years ago, I would have admitted that it is kind of strange. Nowadays I still wouldn't even consider myself much of a "gamer." Starcraft 2 is the only game I play with any regularity. I'll play some sports games (Fifa, Nba 2k, Madden) and some Halo during VGN*.

VGN stands for Video Game Night. Colloquially it's pronounced "Vegan" night. The most historical moment during a VGN session was when we took a break to eat pizza and watch basketball, we inadvertently started Linsanity when we watched Jeremy Lin come in against the Boston Celtics.

I forget that sometimes I live in this bubble where in my work and social circles, watching eSports is a casual event. I can throw around gaming terms and names like "Day9" and most people would recognize the reference. However, in talking with regular people, it can get a bit strange:

"Hey what'd you do today?"
Me: "Oh not much. Got up, made some coffee, watched some Starcraft"

I was, however, pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago. We met one of Chris's friends during brunch and they actually weren't taken aback when the subject of watching eSports was broached. I actually think that casual gaming has gone fairly mainstream.

Commentating is the main draw of watching eSports. The commentators bring a great deal of excitement to the game. This stands in stark contrast with some of the boring, boilerplate commentary of real-life sports.

There are still several aspects of watching Starcraft where I can't really keep up. I can hardly keep track of different players; there appears to be a large amount of churn within professional gaming. Then there's a bunch of different teams and sponsors and tournaments and geographical regions. I've been following sports for practically all of my life, so I guess this is what it must feel like to people who are new to sports like football or baseball.

I haven't had the chance to go to a live eSports event. Unfortunately the Starcraft season was over when I was in Seoul so I didn't have a chance to watch any games. Maybe next time.

Sidenote, if you're interested: a while back, The New Yorker had a great article on eSports.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly update

"You're not confusing, you're just odd"

  • When I moved to Michigan for grad school, I arrived with only two suitcases. I eventually had three boxes of stuff shipped to me. I remember taking the bus to the mattress store. I was fresh off of my adventures in Seattle where I got the naive notion that I could take the bus everywhere.

    I remember walking into the store and asking for the "cheapest mattress." At the time, my bedroom in my apartment was small enough to only accommodate a twin mattress. So I got a twin mattress, a mismatched box spring, and frame for about $220. It's been the same mattress that I've had for the past 5 years now.

    I got a new pillow, so that's why I bring this up.

  • I've gotten back to playing basketball recently. I got new shoes and we've played about 3 times in the past 10 days. I forgot that I play in such a way that maximizes pain on my body. I'm in really horrible shape. Sometimes this leads to blinding migraines (literally I lose my peripheral eyesight). Other times I get really bad leg cramps. When I got back to my apartment, my leg cramped up when I was taking off my shoes so I was on the floor of my apartment in debilitating pain for the next 15 minutes while I waited for it to go away.

    I had also forgotten how much I enjoy playing sports. Sarita once asked me if there were anything that I liked more than watching TV; I responded with playing sports.

  • I'm not particularly good at ironing. I was ironing my shirts earlier today and it still takes me forever. I also don't iron the sleeves because I'm not particularly good at it and it's not clear that there's much benefit. I convinced my psychiatrist to get a steamer instead of using an iron for his shirts. He doesn't have to wear a tie because there's a risk that his patients will try to grab him by the tie and choke him.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walking in the snow

It's March so it's probably going to be snow's last hurrah here in Michigan.

Ever since I moved in January, I have been taking the bus to work and have been walking back. I always found an evening walk in the snow to be really peaceful and contemplative.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snapchat is useful for drawing diagrams


I had a very productive last Saturday. I got a haircut, went to the bank, got coffee at a coffee shop, went to the farmer's market and went for a run. Then played some lawn games with Evan and his lawyer friends and went to the Distillery with Claw, Evan, Bri, and friends.

Yesterday (Saturday) I played basketball and took a nap. My new basketball shoes were a bit stiff since I hadn't broken them in. The traction on them are insane though. Though I think the ability to stop on a dime puts a great deal of force (or torque?) on my knees and feet.

I also got this spam periodical newspaper in the snail mail yesterday. As I was reading it, I realized I had gotten accustomed to seeing Internet comments at the end of articles. In print, there aren't any comments. It's quite refreshing actually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New basketball shoes

Unfortunately they're not orange.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Live Yoshi cam

I was watching Yoshi this past weekend, so I set up a live stream to watch him while I was away from my apartment.

It actually worked quite well. I bought a Raspberry Pi a few months ago and it was sitting around doing nothing and I had a spare webcam that I took from my parent's house over Christmas.

Now that Yoshi is gone, I've been using the setup to monitor other things in my apartment. Like today, I used it to watch my slow cooker when it was making chili all day.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Random grab bag of sorts

  • I'm still getting used to my new apartment. I live right by some railroad tracks. Trains don't go by very often, except for in the middle of the night. Also there's only one set of tracks, which I found to be rather odd. A week or so after I moved in, my downstairs neighbor came up and introduced themselves. They were apologizing for how loud their bird was being, which I hadn't noticed until they pointed it out. Also one of my other neighbors has a couple of dogs that bark a lot. I basically live in a zoo.

  • LJ has instituted the "8 or higher" rule on me. I've been watching HIMYM again. It holds up surprisingly well. Much better than Friends.

  • I've been eating a lot of chips lately. I think I've just been craving salt -- which is bad for my blood pressure. I can't even substitute it with candy either since I'm giving up candy for Lent.

  • Fight Song is a great song. I've been listening to it for months now after they used it for a Supergirl trailer. I really do wish that Supergirl were a better TV show. Meanwhile, The Flash is still really good and so is Legends of Tomorrow. Hurray more CW TV!

  • I bought a safety razor. It takes forever to shave now and I still cut myself all over. It's still better than the crappy Harry's razor I used all of last year. I honestly think that the Mach 3 is still the best razor out there.

  • On my previous movies list I forgot The End of the Tour. The Infinite Jest movie. It was really good. And now I want to go read the book. Luckily it's in my stockpile of books that I've bought for my Kindle.

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

"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.

"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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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