Monday, August 27, 2007

the family in nc and boston

i am visiting my parents in north carolina. it's sort of the same old feeling i usually get when i go home, except this time it's really more brief. and there's no longer large waves of nostalgia hitting me. probably because the smells, sights, and locations are all different from my actual childhood home. but the dogs are still there, and we went surfing at the beach. yes, we went to carolina beach, about 30 mins from myrtle beach on the NC/SC border. i didnt actually rent a board because the waves were really small and shortlived, but i managed to bodysurf the most i've ever done on the smallish 2-3 ft waves that come crashing down pretty quickly. the water was warm and the sand was soft, almost reminding me of san diego.

about my other family members in boston, soon i will be meeting up with a large number of them. i've never felt that i had any extended family in the US, but it seems that now my generation is coming into our own and actually being able to visit each other. Asia is going to get some sort of job training in boston for a week in september, and now Samuel is living in boston, at sid pac no less, going to mit for his PHD. wtf. of course there's always my young uncle sisi who is working in boston, and another cousin, yang, who's a freshman at yale. so it seems the bobby ren mafia is slowly taking form.

Friday, August 24, 2007

phi sig 2011

for the past two days i have found myself back at 487 commonwealth avenue again, in that great house where i discovered what it means to be a social animal. same old sights, sounds and smells, new occupants. i couldn't believe that the 08's were now seniors because they would always be the freshmen i had rushed in my senior year. (is it so long ago already?)

i went for work week, where we clean up the house and touch up things before rush. the familiar smell of paint, the dusty floors, the clutter of tools and random pieces of wood lying around 1st hall, they're still there. it's a never ending cycle: trash the house during summer, clean it up for rush, let it slide during the year, clean it up again, then summer comes and it repeats. that's phi sig for you.

i met some of the class of 2010 and decided they are great guys. just like every class i've met since joining phi sig. but oh i miss the hawaiian air that used to pervade the house, and is now only an idea. maybe we'll get some more during rush? who knows what the class of 2011 will be like. yes, the next class will be the class of 2011, born in 1989, when i was already 6 and immigrated to the US.

Friday, August 17, 2007

apartment found

my new address:

456 putnam ave
cambridge, ma 02139

I'm living in cambridgeport which is close to central square and MIT, and basically along the river. It's pretty nice.

here are some images:

on your left
on your right/kitchen
on your left/kitchen

there's also a back yard that potentially could support a garden as well as summer barbeques. nearby is a whole foods and trader joes, which will satisfy my craving for organic food and cheap wine and milk.

the best farmer's market ever

I went back to haymarket today because I finally had my apartment and didn't have to do any more searches.

For those who don't know, haymarket is da bomb market for fresh, cheap foods. And i realized that I still had my "grocery store" eyes for pricing because I saw something like 2 lbs tomatoes for $1 and was like holy crap that's a great deal but then I have to walk once through the whole market first because otherwise, the moment you buy something you'll see the next stand selling BETTER fruit for HALF the price.

Haymarket is somewhere where the unit of exchange is the dollar bill. So the larger the number, the better the deal. But sometimes you might be tempted by 8 oranges for a buck, but you realize those are the smallest oranges you've ever seen.

There's a stand with an old farmer couple that I always like to shop because their prices are kind of ridiculous (Something like 5 lbs of greenbeans for $1 and 8 cucumbers for $1.) No one ever has use for 5 lbs of green beans or 8 cucumbers before they go bad. But they're willing to let you mix and match so I got 3 green peppers and two cucumbers for $1. as paul would say (in a fobby voice) "you got a great deal!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

boston in august

it is beautiful in cambridge. the weather's just slightly muggier than it was in san diego (more humid, not much hotter) and it just makes you appreciate any breeze more. i went to breakfast at andala cafe. my goal is to try every independent restaurant i the area on lincoln's tab. and there i had a chocolate croissant and an iced coffee. the cafe is located on the corner of river street and some small street near central square. it is raised up to the second level and i sat at an open window overlooking the outside patio seating. i could see myself bringing my laptop to do whatever it is we internet cafe people do at a cafe with internet. the food was pretty tasty and i wanted another chocolate croissant but didnt order it.

today is probably going to be ridiculously busy. i'm meeting with three realtors, one at 11, one at 1, one at 3. hopefully they can show me their listings in the two hours i slotted for each one. where's my camera?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

there, and back again

august 14th i am back in boston again, good old massachusetts on the east coast. the weather was nice (70) so that I would feel comfortable and only have to ease into the summer. it doesn't really seem real that i'm away from la jolla. i can still hear paul saying "oh man" or sei doing his machismo dance. instead of convoy, gilman, I-5, there's mass ave, storrow drive, I-93. none of which i know how to traverse in my car.

speaking of which, this is the rental car i have:

yes, i drove around today with the top off, cruising around cambridge apartment hunting. with r-kelly and usher's Same Girl blasting (as much as two male hiphop tenors can) on the radio. it was at once liberating and vindicating to drive a muscle sports car that was so impractical. my suitcase didn't fit in the trunk.

i am jumping into the apartment hunt. and the weather's slowly getting muggy so i will definitely be looking for central air or utilities included rentals.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

road rage stories

Ah, it's justice for the little guy. Although the story is a bit one sided and you might wonder what actually caused the rager to get all pissy.

And if there's ever a way to get over an encounter with someone that leaves you shaking in your boots, it's to post to craigslist. Or to rant on a blog. But man, I have to say, why do people get angry? It's not good for anyone.

surf paraphanelia packrat

I'm selling off my boards...well, just my old surfboard "big kahuna" which was basically a raft. But now that I have a buyer, I'm getting cold feet. One, it's a really cool looking old board that would be cool turned into many things non-surf, such as a bench, a raft (attach a sail), or just wall decoration. But also, I can't stop wondering if it might be some sort of long lost classic worth $1000, and here I'm giving it away for $20. And I want to save the fins too, which are still useless to me. Maybe to put on my wall? Turn into coasters? Turn into a bookend? Whatevs. Time to sell it, and if it turns out to be a valuable board, good for the guy who is out browsing craigslist and garage sales.

I am, of course, keeping Sharapova. I am returning ryan's board, though I have been surfing with it recently, ever since my skills got above the threshold needed to stand up on a shortboard. But it was broken and fixed, and I really have no use for two boards. But you can see why I want to pack everything until i have a garage full of useless surf paraphenelia.

Monday, August 6, 2007

cost and benefits of texting

I've always debated whether I should get the $5/month text message plan. I know I personally don't really text but many people, especially here in California, love to send text messages. And when the price went up from $.10 to $.15 (gasp!) it's like, the cost increased 150%. That's the same as if you're buying trader joe's two buck chuck in the east coast for $3. wtf?

But the costs don't come without benefits, of course. For one, people are sometimes socially lazy or shy, and it's so much easier to just send a message rather than having to go through the long sequence of a voice conversation. For example, if you're confirming some party details:

(Incoming msg from paul:)

bbq at my place 7 pm

It's much simpler to reply:

k cu there, ill bring beer

Than to say:

"hello, paul?"
"whats up"
"it's bobby. got your message."
and then you feel the need to make small talk.
"how was practice on saturday?"
"pretty good. i had to spar some big dude."
"that's cool. blah blah blah. anyways i'll bring beer."
"ok, see you at 7."

For this month, though, the $5 plan wouldn't have been worth it. I don't think I actually ever go over that from pure texting. So each message is definitely worth my 15 cents right. Just, for all u koreans out there, stop replying to my simple message with "kk~" or "^_^". there's no need for that. (hint, it costs 5 cents per letter that way!)


I guess I'm coming to the period where you lose track of your age. Or maybe it's an early onset of a mentally debilitating disease. But the twenties are where the years merge, and really, there are no more milestones until you're thirty. And nothing between twenty one and thirty really matter.

My friends are aging, as well. My generation. Sometimes it's striking, scary even, to see someone you used to know because inevitably, they've changed so much. And you realize that people's lives go on after you have taken different roads, and everyone continues to evolve. And the people you remember from way back when are no longer the same. You see it in their eyes that they are the same person, and if I close my eyes I can remember from ~7 years ago, what they were like, and what I was like. But that was so, so long ago.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

saying goodbye to the surf

My greatest memory of San Diego will be the surfing, I believe. Well, actually, the second greatest, because taekwondo was still such a huge part of my life here that it will be the defining factor. But the most memorable and defining NEW thing I did at San Diego would be the surf.

I've become a beach bum, and the horrible surf tan lines show it. And as I desperately surf as much as I can before I leave, I discover things daily about the sea, about myself. Old sailor's metaphors about the sea being a woman that you fall in love with are true, and now to say goodbye the only way is to spend as much time as possible with her.

I feel that in a mere year I've become more familiar with surfing than many beachgoers. Of course not everyone surfs so much, or get into a sport as intensely.

These days I'm still conflicted about which surfboard to bring back - my 9 footer (Sharapova) or the shortboard that is actually Ryan's. But the past two days I discovered that I can do some serious ripping on it. (well, some serious attempts at ripping.) So I'm reluctant to give that board up too. Maybe I just don't want to give up the surf.