Friday, January 30, 2009

color in the city

chsueh will like this post...

new york has a particularly subdued color scheme, especially in the winter and during the weekend we visited. yet everywhere, hidden between the gray and browns of buildings and streets, are splashes of color.

a special coincidence made it so that green was even more prevalent, at least in my camera's eye. so here is my green gallery, finding color in the city.

edit: added links to originals

The originals are also in the gallery: Color in the City picasa album . seriously, they don't look that much different than the grayscale/greenscale versions.

new york photos

i've finally gotten to take my own new york photographs. they're nowhere nearly as cool as other peoples', but at least i can focus on subjects i like, such as the awesome members of mit stkd.

all the photos are posted on my public directory, which i'm going to start using as a public photo web album.

1-24 NY Trip

chinatown pastries

a very genuine smile

times square with group

lots of red fobbiness

korean bbq


karaoke with stunners...what else to do in ny?

and here are a few cool panoramas. the first is from times square, the second is the view from the balcony on jackie's parents' apartment. 34 floors, into the Future.

there is one more GREEN panorama/collage to come.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

leg jackets

this morning i wore six layers of clothing because it was so cold. (especially in our living room, which has no heat.) but then i realized my legs were still somewhat chilly even though they're not as heat sensitive. that's because i only had two layers - my long underwear was wet so i am wearing a layer of tkd pants. but then i thought how easy it was after i finished the inner layers and put on my sweatshirt - just put on any jacket i can find, preferably in size order. then i thought, why dont we have pants jackets. (that was not a question, that was one of those statements that start with why.)

presenting the pants jacket, in my paintshop pro designer's sketch. see you at new york fashion week.

available in wool to match your peacoat, or gray nylon to match your snow jacket. single leg (skirt) version available for women or the manliest of men. can also be in plaid and comes with free bagpipes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

cold boston

the forecast for tomorrow is 6 inches of snow during the day in the greater boston area, and 8-10 to the north and west. that makes me wonder if i should go to work tomorrow, because lincoln labs is exactly northwest of boston. if it starts to snow overnight, maybe the lincoln labs snow emergency phone number will tell us to stay the fuck out of the cold.

of course, that's not possible in my house. we have the heat turned down to save money, but it's probably literally 40 degrees inside. which is good because the actual temperature is 24 degrees F. a man was found frozen to death recently (on reddit) and that shows that cold weather indoors is no joke. earlier today i had to sit directly in front of my radial heater in order to stay warm because my bedsheets were simply too cold.

why the f am i in boston? other than the fact that i love the city and the mit sport tkd club, there's no reason to stay here. why not go to san diego where 60 is too cold to go out to the beach and is a reason to have a bbq indoors instead.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

tuesday stuff

this morning, i opened my yogurt and it tasted sour. then i looked at it and realized that "sour cream" is not a yogurt flavor. T_T i guess someone needed sour cream for cooking at home (omar? christine?) fortunately i didn't take a huge bite of it before looking at the label.

sorry my blog has become a pretty much pointless, shallow regurgitation of my at-work distractions. one day i will find time to write more meaningful entries. but in the mean time:

this makes me want a sprite

Monday, January 26, 2009

ninja fatherhood

this is the kind of dad i will be. (no embed ;__; )

Friday, January 23, 2009

victorsolomon on openfilm

there's this one user, victorsolomon, who has all these short disturbing and very beautiful films. the subject matter is interesting and disturbing to say the least. the color schemes, camera work, and editing is pretty nice. last time i ran across his videos was for a short called Trick. But this one is even more haunting. warning: disturbing footage and concept, but pretty color schemes and good cinematic work.


speaking of delicious food, yesterday we went to Masa after CW. they were having a salsa night (every thursday) and one of alicia's salsa friends, rrrrrrricardo, was the dj. i am only beginning to appreciate the salsa culture and it is very refreshing.

what was great, however, was the 10 piece tapas and they great sangria. and since it was late, the tapas were half off, making this whole plate $5:

this was not my photo but it was exactly this plate. ommmmmmmnomnom it was so good. i dont see why we don't just go there for 2 plates of tapas, two sangrias, and some salsa every thursday. for me, maybe more sangria than the other two, but whatevs.

food photography

my photography finger's been itching like a rash on a hairless hobo. sorry for the imagery but i hope you get the picture. haha. anyway since i utterly fail at sports photography and can't get the shutter speed and aperture settings to complement for the life of me, and i think i'm ok at night landscapes but the above picture in my banner is still ten times better than any of the boston night scenes i took myself, i am resorting to closeup still life food photography. (of course, portraits are still in the works. men of tkd calendar should be out in april, after cutting weight is successful.)

i looked at some of my old food portraiture. they are actually results from the desire to eat and be happy rather than to fulfill my artistic inclinations. most of these images were taken right after cutting weight, during a quiet tuesday night (when there was no UCSDTKD) and when i'd sit down to a large bottle of two-buck chuck and a late night of oblivion (the rpg, not the state of mind.)

My picasa albums - images uploaded to this blog

i must have been cutting weight hard to savor a beer like this

the chicken wing was more tasty than it looks

the chicken has cranberry wine reduction sauce

i dont like shiraz as much now but here's the famous TWO BUCK CHUCK

shrimp spaghetti, with the ubiquitous delicious beer

not mine but the cat looks delicious

and chsueh has promised me that she is going to cook asparagus, artichoke, and shitake risotto. and my part will be to first photograph it, then devour it like a hobo on a ham sandwich. we'll compare photos to see how well (good? goodly?) ours looks compared to the one on smitten kitchen:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

obama impersonation

hahaha obama inspires the best production pieces. a spoof on TI's whatever you like, from one of the best obama impersonators

here's the original music video by T.I. i have never heard TI perform (they were at UCSD one year during spring weekend...none of my student friends invited me T__T) but the song is catchy.


a funny thing happened yesterday, or maybe it's just that i only started noticing yesterday, but when the national anthem played, everyone in the lobby stopped walking out to their cars, and actually stopped to face the flag. the last time i was out in the lobby when the anthem played, i remember walking out with everyone else without even paying attention to the music.

maybe it's a renewed sense of patriotism after the inauguration.

and i realized that in the past, i felt that the national anthem didn't mean anything proud to me, when hearing it evoked a sense of moral and political disgust, and brought up images of american military propaganda and a banner that was becoming more disliked around the world and even internally. however, yesterday it suddenly gave me a different feeling, that change is possible and that finally we have a man in the white house who would turn that flag back into a beacon of pride. one can only imagine the feeling that the stars and stripes would awaken in men serving under george washington, when america was a proud and indignant country to be, struggling to survive with nothing but hope, and for nothing but ideals. maybe we are on the path again to return the american flag, and the national anthem, to the rightful place in people's eyes.

meanwhile, i still need to catch the shuttle at 5:15, so see ya people in the lobby.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

bill clinton was a great man

looking back, those were some wonderful years. only now can we truly appreciate how great of a president bill clinton was. i'm talking about his personality and sense of humor. the only sad part is knowing that this video means w was going to enter the presidency.

after 8 long and grueling years, maybe we'll have another cool president returning to the whitehouse.

video self portrait

there are actors who get some laughable roles, like vin diesel. after hitting it big on the fast and the furious, he's gone into some other forgettable roles. you'd think that a person like that would just settle down into a life of wealth and forget about the art of acting. but here's a video that he wrote and acted in that actually shows some personality and insight into his real acting abilities. and it actually gets me to respect the life of a struggling actor.

also, it has all the low budget qualities and self reflective tones of a film that i would like to make for fun. maybe sometime over the remaining days of iap? maybe over the next semester?

house hunting, ball rolling

after a few weeks of blah blah blah finally the ball is rolling a bit. we waited for the appraisal and now the mortgage bank finally has a report for the value of the house. apparently the value was pretty low because of the condition of the foreclosure - so that is good in the long term for lower taxes, but worse in the short term since that means our loan amount is basically 95% of the value of the house, and we'll have to pay some monthly amount for mortgage insurance.

on the purchaser's side, we made a request for a lower price because of some water damage and roof repair. the selling bank has asked several contractors to give estimates for the repairs in order to assess the value, to see if our request of $10k is justifiable. this is a good thing because they will most likely give us some amount of price drop as a result, soon.

a few snags still remain. we've finally cleared all the transfers between the bank statements. one transfer i made in order to pay the downpayment, which was actually my money that was in my parents' bank account, had to be written off as a Gift so that it won't be seen as a personal loan. also, certain things apparently shouldn't be mentioned to both parties, ie saying that "the roof needs to be fixed" in order to explain a lower loan amount is bad for the mortgage because then they'd think the house purchase was risky. ugh. so keeping quiet and letting them ask the questions is best.

and online banks are retarded. i think financial institutions in general are retarded. amtrust won't provide me with electronic copies of my past statements, which i need to prove some other transfers i have. fortunately the mortgage bank would be ok with copies of old statements that show the account number, included with the printout of current activity, so at least they're not too anal about that.

if all works well, we'll be able to close next week. at current interest rates, this house is a steal. can't wait to start work on it.


sometimes i wonder why i live in boston. last year the weather was sort of appealing - a good change of season, two big snowfalls, and you get to experience the full range of temperature and make use of the whole wardrobe. this year, there have been constant snowfalls every week (which is good for the snowboarding trips) but the temp has become lower and lower. i actually wore BOTH my coats today, the peacoat then the snow jacket, and still froze my butt off.

and today i learned how to make real coffee. i guess in the past, the filter has always fallen over the coffee when i make it, because the outcome tastes like brown water, and the coffee grounds never look used. and today the water came out black and steaming and the filtered coffee had a crater inside as if the grounds were trying to get away from the hot drip of the water. and now i realize that 3 heaping teaspoonfuls are slightly strong because i'm beginning to get jittery hands and can't type anymore.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

lost and found

last night's haze caused a bit of panic this morning. because i had lost my driver's license, i brought my passport to get into crossroads last night. and because of my late night semiconscious diligence, i had the smarts to take it out of my coat pocket and put it on my desk before going to bed. and then this morning, when i was considerably much less lucid, i realized it wasn't in my coat pocket, and thought i had dropped it at roads. so i proceeded to search for it at roads, but of course it wasn't there.

just now i also realized that my driver's license had come in, and was in the pile of mail on our couch. so a part of me is relieved, that i still have my passport and my replacement license. the other part is kicking myself in the face for not being able to find anything in the morning. i guess it was a tough morning.

still, other things keep disappearing. someone left a pair of leather gloves in my car, but before i could find out who they belong to, one has gone missing. i can't find my most recent contact lens case. i almost lost a hat but it appeared inside the hoodie of my coat while i was snowboarding. i swear, there's a small goblin running around hiding my belongings, stashing them in the closet where christine thinks i hide dead bodies.


this morning i woke up dreaming about horses and fighting. i often have those types of dreams - fighting ones, not horse ones - where i'm kicking someone's ass and they have nothing on me. but i realized i got my ass kicked last night in fingers, twice. which is why i woke up with a trashcan next to my bed and a unreturned calls.

the thing is, i seem to know what's good for me when im completely drunk. around every corner i find surprises. like, i remember putting the bag into the trashcan and setting it next to my bed, just in case. but when did i change into my pajamas? when did i take out my contacts? oh shit there they are on the table right next to me, even with new solution. is my phone dead because it's out of batteries? oh wait, i even plugged it in. i just know that when i walk out the door, i will run into another pleasant surprise, like polished shoes or a washed car. it's like drunk bobby does all these things sober bobby doesn't.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

artists teach parenting

i think artists can change the world. a good piece of film or animation can be both entertaining and awe inspiring. here is a piece on my new favorite interwebs, vimeo, that is a good combination of hard raw animation work, music and storytelling, and, in the very end, also teaches a lesson that probably many kids today don't understand. at least, america doesn't seem to understand it.

Story from North America (FULL VERSION!) from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

surfing the pororoca

this looks extremely fun.

two guys riding a poroca

the pororoca is a long running wave in the amazon that happens a few times a year. just look at the smoothness of the ride. i used to swim out past the break for 5 minutes, sit there for another 5, then catch a 10 second ride back. and here, as long as you don't wipe out, you can have a 37 minute ride (the record). but i bet you get mad tired by the end. the height of the waves looks nice too - not too intimidating to me, ie not above the waist.

and if you're in texas, it's also possible to catch long rides using the wake of supertankers. that's the one upside to texan oil drilling tycoons, i guess.

the man made waves of tankers

imagine when a tanker goes in the opposite way. you make a u turn and start over again.

sigh, i want to visit san diego.


speaking of john williams -

for some reason stormtrooper gear causes me great pleasure. you could say it's full of lulz. i think deep down inside, though, i want to experience the feeling of starwars as the people who saw it when it first came out. and this is possible by owning the following items:

john williams

omg john williams is such an amazing composer. it's just like everything he's made is entwined in the very fabric of my being and my world. i hear the indiana jones soundtrack and it's not just the soundtrack to a movie, but an era.

oh man it is an ungodly hour for having to wake up to take the shuttle. but there's something that enhances your senses when everything is dark. and the music just sounds so much more real.

Monday, January 12, 2009

the ghetto of the boston area

in my alternate day job as the crime watching superhero of boston, i ran across a scary story close to home. in the boston apartment scene, this listing on craigslist actually looked pretty good:

i was thinking of the possibility of moving there, and actually appreciating the renovation work done on the house and thinking of how to make our house look as nice when we listed. then i realized that one of the images has a chalk outline:¤t=DSCF6369.jpg

then the ever vigilant members of reddit pointed out that this may be the same apartment:

in other (unrelated) news, 100 bags of cocaine were found in a house a few blocks away from central square. looks like my joke of buying our house and finding cocaine in the basement isn't so far from the truth.

snowboarding like a surfer

yesterday was the first snowboarding trip of this year that i've been on (and the second of my season.) i know wachusett is no whistler or even loon but it felt good to dust off the snowboard and hit the slopes really hard. i've owned it since freshman year, which was like november 2001, making my palmer and sims strap in bindings 7 years old. that's probably older than your little brother or sister. through all the years i've accumulated quite a set of scratches and dings (including the one time i set up a snowboard ramp on my driveway in NC, using up all the snow in the yard for a 1/2 foot jump onto the concrete.)

we had a huge group yesterday that included both some beginners who learned super fast, and a bunch of more experienced snowboarders and skiiers. the bunny lift on the green trail was the slowest piece of crap ever...the redeeming qualities of that slope were just that there were a few small jump ramps in the end, and that we get to spend quality time laughing at han and rene screaming down the slope.

Han right before impact

on the last few runs we bombed down the hill in order to catch the last ski lift. at this point, the ATS crew had joined us so we were like 20 people coming down the mountain like a horde of invading mongolians on yetis. then we'd all stop at the next slope, but the moment everyone got there we'd jump up and go again. it was highly satisfying just zipping through the moguls...oh wait, the moguls were hard on the knees and the ass. but the way i had to cut through them made chsueh describe my snowboarding as "you snowboard like a surfer." i'll take that as a compliment, since my surfing is nowhere nearly like a surfer.

i also found that my camera phone takes really nice pictures. much more than i expected, and probably much better in yesterday's lighting conditions (instead of the dark ones in paul's house while drinking sake bombs). there was one really scenic view that i couldn't quite capture on it because there's no good zoom or landscape mode, but if you look at the state of my phone (i finally remembered to tape the battery to keep it from falling out) it's amazing it still works.

thanks to rene and jordan for helping organize the trip, ziyan for visiting boston and feeding me sandwich balls, chris and arpun for making my trips to phi sig worth it, han for taking the leap and going on the blue, john wong and jackie for making skiing cool in my eyes, christine for playing phone tag on the slopes and the walnuts, alicia for ordering the much needed sangria, and auggie for having ridiculous hat hair.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

more lessons from starcraft

starcraft is becoming more and more true to life. as in, i actually find myself having to improve my macro irl. right now i'm coordinating a few things going on at the same time (house buying, snowboard trip, dinner plans) and on gchat it's practically like making sure your bases are all running efficiently. and i am failing at that. but i think my multitasking is getting a bit better.

on the other hand, starcraft is not a fun game. it is STRESSFUL. i actually get the same feeling when i'm playing a map, and when i finally sit down to deal with planning stuff - ie, my breath is shorter and faster and my chest hurts, and i find myself scowling. ugh, i am old and fragile.

also, i'm betting that work is like rushing in starcraft. there are those people who know the exact build order to get really ahead in the first few years of their work, then they cruise through the rest of the game of life, whereas i'm cruising now, just slowly collecting minerals. and one day, i'll be rushed by the damn protoss army in the office next door or something because he'd been a good worker and is now somewhere in life. i'll be left with 380 minerals and one probe. game over.

Friday, January 9, 2009

reddit ftw

reddit is full of gems today

for the recently deflowered girl: a handbook not lewd, just strange humor. reminds of me wondermark

and for all those who remember dialup or still have it at their parents house. dialup kid that's exactly what i imagined my face would be if i were a modem.

i would totally get this for my car. can we get it in see through so it is up while driving?

rockin the skinny jean/tie combo

when i was getting my car tires replaced i came across a cheap combo of white dress shirt/skinny tie at filene's basement. now i'm totally going the black jeans/skinny tie look. in my mind i look like this:

and look, i'm almost following fashion trends. must be all this "hipster" talk and indie music.

friday thoughts

it's the first true friday of 2009. and by the looks of it, 2009 will be full of events, days spent avoiding work and looking forward to the evenings and weekends.

ziyan gave me some music, and i am enjoying her "indie" tastes:

Medeski, martin and wood
good jazz grooves. but i also like spoon:

"so there's something to look forward to
gimme something to look forward to"

i feel like that every week. at least this week,

i have something to look forward to
go out for hotpot and korean bbq
maybe go snowboard a day or two
have a party and a drink with you
then we'll do it the next week too

i know it's lame cuz i used "to/two/too". whatevers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

cats are bullies

further proof that bella is probably plotting to overthrow me before omar gets back. omar, if i'm not here when you get back, please send my possessions to my parents.

this actually looks like fun...i wonder if bella is patient enough to thwart me like this.

Monday, January 5, 2009

buying a house - rewinterization and mortgage application finalization

sounds boring, i know, but these are exciting times.

today we met with the realtor again to inspect the house after the plumbers finally fixed the broken water pipes. it seemed they put in new ones everywhere and the heating on the 2nd floor feels fine. then we discussed pricing...i'm always very bad at approaching the subject. but finally we brought up that the moldy room would probably be about $10k to repair, and eugene said he'd look into asking for $10k off the price. not bad - it's good to start high.

we ran into a bit of a snag with the mortgage. it seems that they are wary of the large deposit to my bank account, which was actually MY money that i had given to my parents to help pay for a car. so now they're giving it back...but the banks have to make sure it's not another deposit from another creditor, so we have to sign a "Gift Form" to prove that it's a gift. these are all just technical bureaucracy...but it's so ridiculous how every party has to cover their ass. fortunately, now we have all the funds readily available so we should be able to close the mortgage application and get to closing the whole purchase soon.

up next: what to purchase? power tools, appliances, building materials, new duct work. there's a lot of work to do.

bella at night

bella (omar's cat) now basically resides in my room because it's warm here and cold elsewhere. occasionally at night when i'm on my computer, i'll see the door slowly open with a creepy creak over the glow of the screen. then as i squint to see if she's in the doorway, i'd hear a thump and on the other side of the room there's a ghostly movement as she jumps up onto my bed. briefly a chill goes down my spine as i see the flash of her eyes. it's scary as hell.

then maybe two nights ago i kept waking up with bella staring at me. for some reason, whether it was some bad dream, i was really frustrated at her and really needed her off the bed. and then i realized why i was mad:

this is probably what she does all night. and she laid a smelly one today that even the kitty litter crystals couldn't cover up.