Monday, June 29, 2009

day one in serbia


Today we arrived at Serbia at about 3 pm Serbia time. the whole country smelled different - it was slightly smokey, like an industrializing country city. you could see distant smoke stacks beside the shiny new universiade buildings.

when we went to baggage claim, the luggage was gone. all of the ones we checked in boston, including the big ones that contained all the team swag, and the small duffle bags that had our emergency clothes in case the big ones got lost. i knew we should have kept them out but laziness got the best of us, the air france got the rest.

i'm going to post the rest of the action on the mit sport tkd blog. so far there have been four days, one of travel, two of training and one of competition. i will update with photos soon.

also, alicia is writing a blog for the ncta, as well as our women's finweight anees.

Alicia's Blog
Anees Hasnain's Blog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

music technology

this morning, i began to enjoy music at work again. i saw a stupid music video about backwards music and subliminal messages. the last song was about how led zepplin's stairway to heaven has a message about satan, and suddenly i wanted to listen to stairway to heaven because it's just such a nice damn song. so i started playing with rhapsody and realized that you dont really need an mp3 player or your own music.

then i saw, through, a bunch of cool apps to do with interactive music. first, there's cold war kids, i've seen enough where you can select which instrument each person plays. the music gets resynced each time you switch an instrument so you can essentially play 256 variations of the song.

there's also labuat whose music is really calm and melodic, but basically you draw the music video by moving your mouse. what comes out of your mouse is set to the music but if feels like you're creating it.

then there's children collide's panoramic music video. this makes me think of the stuff i do at work with panoramic video views. but we're not nearly as cool because we don't have a soundtrack.

i also like all of this music. i think they pick good songs to go with good video effects and very creative use of technology.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"buzz aldrin is so gangasta"

is this music for real? if they actually recorded anything i'd love to hear it. buzz aldrin and snoop dogg have a collaboration for his 40th anniversary of the moon landing. ever since i saw buzz aldrin at the boston pops i was surprised at his love for performance.

"buzz aldrin is so gangsta" - talib kweli

and for more flashbacks, who remembers these toys? this is for all you kids who were born in the 70s and 80s. all the toys we used to play as kids. gak! crossfire! hungry hungry hippos! i remember playing perfection and that was actually kinda hard at the time. as one person put it, "just had a nostalgic orgasm."

live color select

this is so cool

Monday, June 22, 2009

anticipation for SWUG

it hit me this morning that in a week, we're leaving for Serbia for the Summer World Universiade Games. i realized that my summer hadnt really happened yet because we've been pretty focused on training for this competition. even though it's not like we're cutting weight for sparring, there has been a lot of anticipation, and maybe its time to really begin to mentally prepare for it.

i also realized how many countries are coming to this competition. here is the training schedule that we'll be following once we get to serbia. there are a shit ton of countries on it. thing is, when i looked at the list, it really hit me that we're going to be competing against the top competitors in so many other nations. i didn't really get that feeling after the ncta collegiate championships, and not even at pan ams, because it was such a small tournament. this one, however, is big, and there's no room for slack anymore.

i am very nervous. but also very, very excited. i think the time is going to pass by so quickly, but it'll make such a deep impression. i'm dying of anticipation.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


mm this is cool

Thursday, June 18, 2009

action thursdays

because i havent posted that many interesting videos recently and i saw some cool shit today, and i have been reading hajime no ippo on onemanga, i think its time for a few videos to get you amazed and hopefully off your lazy ass.

this is from the makers of ong bak. "chocolate". it looks pretty sweet.

and if you're a rock climbing fan, here is some dude flipping upside down on a vertical wall.


Monday, June 15, 2009

north korea

i spent all of this morning in a bad mood. lots of things have contributed to it, including stupid real estate agents, saying goodbyes, sad movies, monday, and other things. to top it off, the world is a crazy fucked up place. i was mindlessly clicking through the posts on reddit, many of which are now going off about iran, when i can across a documentary about actually documenting being in north korea, and i thought that i should really try to understand some culture through my medium of choice.

so i watched the vice guide to north korea. and it is hauntingly scary. like 1984 come truly to life.

just watch some videos on your own time and feel it for yourself.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


awhile ago i installed a firefox addon called autopager that takes any website that requires you to click to get to the next page of content, and turns it into a long vertical scrolling page. it worked pretty well for those stupid "top 5 movies/celebs/clips that are " blog posts. and it makes reddit into one long continuous scrolling page of time wasting content, where you could even see the repeated articles right on top of each other.

but recently i got an update, maybe, that's made autopager really useful. i went to xkcd and suddenly every comic in xkcd is displayed vertically. and the same's happening at onemanga. autopager has now revolutionized my comic reading, and for once my 30" vertical screens are truly justified.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

hump day thoughts


this morning i cooked eggs to bring to breakfast because i'm tired of eating just granola. i've talked to people before about meals - when you really think about it, you only have a certain number of meals in your lifetime. each time you skip one, or eat something quick and boring, or cut weight, that's another opportunity to enjoy life, lost and down the drain. this is why asian food, especially japanese food, is so good for the soul. the care put into creating a bento makes each meal meaningful, even if it's just a quick breakfast and lunch, and even if it is just rice and seaweed and a few other ingredients. i could cook something really tasty at home but when i bring it to work it's probably all sloshy and messy. but if i had a bento for lunch, it would be packaged just as freshly as if i had made it and eaten it right away.


phantom traffic jam. this is something i've always wondered about. why the hell does traffic slow down suddenly on the highway when we're all cruising at 65, then you pass through the congestion and the road before you is completely clear? wtf is everyone doing slowing down when there's no gruesome accident to be looking at? well now the answer is being studied by mathematicians. and the simulation is exactly as i imagined it - idiots overreacting to a slight braking action from the guys before you.

i've actually played a simulation like this when i went to a west point summer camp in my junior year. it was actually about supply chain management. a bunch of people sit in a row. from the left, you receive orders for a product. to your right, you send orders for that product to replenish your inventory. if you have enough in your inventory, you can go ahead and deliver it to your left. after like 3 turns, the inventory for each person was out of whack. some people had a huge overstock, some were completely understocked and had outstanding orders piling up. and all it took was one shift in demand. the person on the left went from a steady stream of orders of 4 to orders of 8, and as soon as the first person reacted to this change, the people to his right started making way bigger and smaller orders. of course, we were no economic experts anyway.

Monday, June 8, 2009

awkward penguin

i go through each one of these daily.

and i have a new hobby: typing while others are typing on gchat to see if i can interrupt them. unfortunately niv is incredibly bad at it. when i start typing she doesn't start typing, and when she's typing and i start mashing my keyboard, she just interrupts me and sends the message anyway. damn you niv for making my live socially not awkward!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

in memory of...

this weekend in nc i spent most of the time at memorial services. on friday, my parents went to my grandmother's gravesite and added my grandfather's ashes. today, i went to the memorial service for my piano teacher, louise tripp. i'd say maybe 200 people showed up - either all of her church congregation, all of her students (over 60 years!) and family, or both.

i had prepared to play four pieces: eckstein rhapsody, le petit an blanc, chopin's etude in e major, and moonlight sonata. i interspersed the excerpts from these pieces with some commentary about mrs. tripp's teaching. but i was at a point where my memorization was starting to lose its natural touch but my eyes weren't used to the sheet music, and i crapped out several times in the performance. but because they were excerpts with commentary, it think that my flawed performance simply added to the peoples' enjoyment, and emphasized that the most important thing that a child can do even if they mess up is to be able to continue and finish the piece.

there were many speeches, including one lady who had taken lessons with her 57 years ago. that means mrs tripp was 37 at the time, and this lady was a little girl. (my piano teacher was 94.) there were also some other things that were said that caught my mind - bud said that "she saw everyone's lives as a tapestry, intermingled and woven together." thinking about it, no one is really isolated - and those who are have very lonely and sad lives. it's better to live and be a part of the tapestry of everyone around you. the paster also said, "for louise, heaven is not a whole step away, but just a conjugation of a half step, for she was living jesus's teachings on earth." not that i'm religious, but i do believe that the way she was living represented one of the best ways people should live - following not necessarily a particular religion but one's moral standards. and i thought it was fitting that the pastor, who was a good speechmaker, used such a musical pun.

the reception was full of both old and young, mingling and talking about the old times. it's actually amazing to think how many people must have come through mrs. tripp's piano lessons. and everywhere i listen, the stories of the students and family members are the same: her gardenia perfume smell, the butterflies before recitals, long chats on the phone and during lessons or visits, curling up the fingers like you're holding a ball, musical pieces like the claire de lune, christmas classes and cookies and punch, "piece of dried toast" and "knee high to a duck". mrs tripp left a legacy, she left almost a village of people brought together by her music.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

surf adventures

today (wednesday) i went on the last surfing trip with Z. we planned to hit up half moon bay again and wade into the waist high water to ride the shoulder height waves. (or are they waist high, measured from the surface?) this time z brought his own longboard and i used my own 3/2 wetsuit. it was actually sunny and slightly warm, though the water was colder or seemed colder to my feet than on monday.

after about 1.5 hours of awesome rolling waves, z went back to the car to get more wax. while i itched to use his longboard while he was gone, i just waited out two or three more waves while his board sat on the beach. then, he came back running to me and said,

"i can't find my keys."

when i went back with him to his car, the keys were no longer under the wheel well that we had thought. while wondering if a while animal mistook it for dinner and grabbed it, we saw also that his glove compartment was open and his gps was gone. then we kind of got nervous.

one thing i learned is that no one will ever stop for you on the road. i kept waving my hand at passerbys, and they all passed me while staring at me. seeing if i was a hot hitchhiker or not, i guess. but no one stopped to offer me a cellphone.

as i did this, i was thinking that if i were the thief, and didn't drive the car away, i would toss the keys right into the field next to where we parked. so i walked around to look for the key - and the first step i take, i see a large black lanyard with they keys on it. there was a bit of relief - the situation wasn't as bad as it could have been - and for a second that actually made it seem like everything was ok.

z found that his wallet and gps were stolen, and proceeded to call his bank and all the credit card companies. it turns out they had tried to make purchases of $700 at bloomingdales in the time it took us to get back into the car. fortunately, he was able to cancel the cards, and they didn't get to my wallet because it was hidden inside athletic shorts instead of pants. i was also extremely lucky that i didn't bring my d90 camera this time - even though it was such a beautiful day and sunny on the beach.

as z took care of his finances, i went back out into the waves. the water was about chest deep, the waves were maybe 2 ft, but rolled so beautifully. i caught several right at the start of its break. the water was a bit chilly but the sun and the high proportion of time i was standing up on my board made it all good.

later, Z and i went to stanford to drop off his board, and i got a chance to see the campus. the "oval" is such a nice, open, grassy sunny place, and i just wanted to join in on the ultimate frisbee there. it almost makes me want to go to school at stanford for something...anything.

and tonight, i went to fluid to see margaret bartend. there were definitely some noobs from her bartending class trying to serve up drinks. overall, i could tell that all the drinks were made by bartending students, and not ones that experienced much drinking in college. but it was a good time. and there are so many asians in general that i almost can't stand it. i demand to be unique, damnit!

tomorrow is just a chill day. i will be packing, and planning to leave cali and the norcal surf. this time i'm leaving with a surf rack, so rhode island longboarding is in the books for the near future.

tianamen square

happy 20th annivery of the tianamen square incident.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

san francisco

tomorrow (today) i will attempt to travel to many places in san francisco. i am actually skipping some of the touristy spots and going instead to many foodie spots, suggested to me by conor, rich, corinna, and

here is the itinerary:

tartine, 600 Guerrero St
haight st and ashbury st
japanese tea garden, 7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
sophie's crepes, japantown, 1581 Webster St # 275
ghiradelli square, 900 N Point St
cioppino's on the wharf, 400 Jefferson St
golden gate bakery, chinatown, 1029 Grant Ave
ferry building, 1 Ferry Building

i might throw in a lombard st in there somewhere, between japan town and ghirardelli square, but overall it's all about food locations. i will probably be stuffed by the end. to assist me in traveling through an unfamiliar public transportation system, i made a completely unrealistic hour by hour schedule of which muni buses to take. once i get lost or off schedule, of course, this will all just become another episode of where's waldo.

Monday, June 1, 2009

norcal surf

today i hit up pacifica and half moon bay. (i didn't realize it was the location of the mavericks! just about another half mile out, i guess.) i met up with beeg's friend z and we grabbed a board and wetsuit and went to pacifica first. there weren't any good waves and the water temp was supposed to be about 53, air temp 57, and the area is so foggy that there's an updraft of fog that covers the mountain road as you drive through it.

we found a surf shop that had a 4/3 wetsuit and a 9' longboard. they told us to go south to half moon bay, and we headed out at about 2:15. about half way down we found a small surf spot between some large cliffs - it was actually really pretty from the bottom - but the waves were so rough that we couldn't get past the breaks for about half an hour, and i was completely beat. walking back up the stairs on the cliffs wasn't much fun either - i only carried the shortboard but by the time i was at the top my head was spinning.

we decided to keep going - and finally passed princeton harbor which the surf shop told us to look for. then, there was a long stretch of road that lined a long stretch of sandy beach. this place was much calmer and the waves were more solid. i got several good runs in with both the long board and beeg's shortboard.

the water was a bit colder at the half moon bay than the little place in the cliffs, but it wasn't cold enough to need boots. i rented a 4/3 but some people were swimming without a wetsuit, so the next time i think i'll go with my 3/2. funny enough, after surfing today i don't have a huge craving for beer and barbeque like i usually did in san diego. i am just dead tired and not sure if i'd be able to go rock climbing later. i guess it's just how out of shape i am right now.

and the best part about california is that now i am sitting in rich's apartment, and there's a lot of sun streaming in the window. so when i return to boston i hope that i'll have an apartment tan.

the beginning of the rest of vacation

i am now writing this to remember what i did during my vacation. i just finished surfing so i'm relaxing a bit and spending some quality time on the computer and in front of a bright sunny window. i'll work on my laptop tan - i'll be nice and tan except for my lap.

saturday morning, i woke up with a slight hangover and no recollection of the night before, except for flits of memory that would come over the course of the day. a few people were still around - johnny, anthony, and jason hwang, so we went out for pho. except it was 10 am and most places weren't open if they weren't serving breakfast. we walked to shattuck which took about 15 minutes, found that every place we wanted to go was still closed, and walked back to the dining hall at 10:30 and found that it too was closed. we ended up eating at a trattoria that had the most delicious, and hang-over inappropriate, alfredo and calzones.

rich had come up to berkeley to ref at the uc open, and we met up with him and sparky in the venue. over the course of the day i had to sneak in and worm around the stadium to avoid paying spectator fees. i wanted to tell people, "i'm a us team member" but i dont think they would have given us a free pass either. as i brooded over this lack of recognition, the loudspeaker announced, "jason hwang, anthony nguyen, johnny nguyen, bobby ren, and terrence jennings, please come to the vision booth if you are at the venue." we looked at each other, wondering if they would announce us as "honored guests from the us collegiate team" and open us to the public for photos and autographs. but then we met up with the girl in charge and she told us we were supposed to have checked out at 12 so we should go pack as soon as possible. honored guests, please leave soon.

later that afternoon, i took the bart to fremont to hang out with christine for the rest of the afternoon. she taught me to shoot an air pistol, and i was able to hit little farm animal targets in her back yard from about 5 meters. one pellet ricocheted off the fence, off the garage, and onto my foot, and we decided to put on eye protection from then on.

i have a few pretty cool photos from the tournament. one is johnny nguyen's first attack against his canadian opponent. i think i will try to adopt the "go crazy in the first 5 seconds to establish pace and dominance" method.

later in the day there was the tj vs canada front leg kick. it was just a bit ridiculous because i could see it coming, and i kept thinking, he better back out. he did not.

on sunday, i chilled at rich's place and played some fable 2 and recovered from some drinking. later, we went to palo alto to have dinner with tom. it was a pretty chill day overall. i enjoyed riding the bart from fremont to millbrae. it is kind of like taking the lincoln shuttle - you can find a comfortable seat and almost just sleep the whole way. the only problem is making sure you wake up at the right time - otherwise it's like a straight 1 hr 15 min ride, from one end of the bart to the other.

usa vs canada

just a brief summary of the events that happened:

canada created a poomse team out of the people they brought for sparring. might as well, right? take home a few silvers. plus one gold. the judges in ring 3 were old style judges. they had no idea what poomse competition really was. so when carissa went up to do her individual forms, they put two of them together in the ring and announced, "taeguk pal chang" and she stopped and said, no, that's not the form we're doing. after more deliberation, they estalished that she would be doing taebek, and only taebek, and the judges decided who won by pointing to the winner at the end of the form.

we finally cleared it up that the womens' team was doing both forms, but the judges basically didn't understand the format or the standards. canada did an ok form - the style was all old, and the sync wasn't exactly on, but the judges ended up choosing them as the winner. only the korean judge with blond highlights chose alicia's team - and later rich would say that this guy definitely knew his stuff.

canada sparred well in the women's divisions, taking the heavy, light and fin weight medals, while we got the feather, and then all the others by default. our men were pretty dominant over theirs. johnny, james howe and tj whooped up on their men who were outsized and outclassed. one guy who usually fights in the senior nationals qualifiers, sven lorrimer, appeared as a representative of guyana, so he fought jason hwang and won closely in overtime. later, we had sparring matches with korea (yong in university), who were really good. you could tell they have a lot of experience and were not only powerful and fast, but smart.

at closing ceremonies, we got all of our medals, and were ready to leave when they called for teams to assemble for another parade of nations. this time it took about 5 minutes to start marching, which was a relief. then, there was more speeches - it was like another opening ceremonies, and we were confused when the mc said, "welcome to the start of the closing ceremonies" because we thought she was going to say "start of the pan am tournament." when they removed the pan am flag, the flagpole almost hit a ref in the head.

that night we went out to a bar/restaurant and then a karaoke club. these kids know how to PARTY. we went through a ridiculous amount of alcohol at the restaurant, and the waiters stopped carding after a while and just started bringing trays of shots. then at the karaoke place, we had a few 24oz and 40oz drinks, and someone brought jugs of sangria and white wine. later, back at the dorms, i remember sitting in a room while others played some drinking game, then i had to run out, hit the toilets, then pass out in my bed. once again, i somehow remembered to take out my contacts and change clothes. thus ends the competition, and the celebration.