Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!

Or Happy Decemberween!!! I just enjoyed a nice evening with 17 relatives and the 7 younger ones and I played cards (a game called Bishop). Then, after everyone left and the first floor was deserted, I turned off all the lights and gathered all of my unwrapped presents. Then I sat down by our lit tree with my white fluffly dog sleeping beside me and started wrapping them. It was a very Calvin and Hobbes moment, one of my favorite.

Anyways, I'm off to bed now in the off chance that Santa Claus should want to stop by :). Hope you had a wonderful evening too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Home at Last

After a really long and sucky drive down the ever-boring I-5 on Sat., I made it home in time to have dinner with my family to celebrate by birthday. 24.... that's mid-twenties. It's honestly a really weird age because I see it from two different angles. From my fading college perspective, that's damn old. It means I'm no longer a kid (no matter how much I want to be) and that it's time I start making a place for me in the Real World. From my solidifying workplace/Real World perspective, I'm still a kid, bright-eyed bushy-tailed and overly ambitious. I think that's why older folks get jaded, because when you're young and you're just becoming jaded by something, it changes. You go to a new school, get a new job, travel to a new country. Life keeps you on your toes. But when you get older and you have your family and you have your steady job and you have your Career, you get jaded and you stay that way because nothing forces you to uproot yourself and move on to a place where you're the rookie again.

Anyways, returning from the tangent, yes, I'm home now, in Chatsworth for those of you who don't know. I've loved every second if it except for the fact that, despite the area being criss-crossed with bridle trails and surrounded by horse ranches (this is the last outpost of the Wild Wild West in SoCal), I can't find a darn place that will take me a on a trail ride in my own "backyard". Instead, I get to watch everyone else ride their horses around my street and up into the mountains where I want to go. Bastards. I'll have to call around more tomorrow. I think I'll resort to bribery this time.

Finally, I have to begin preparations for our 28 person family reunion which officially kicks off tomorrow and continues through New Years. Amazing. I haven't seen these people in years. I can't wait to hang out with them all, though the old and jaded part of me (see above) thinks it's a pain in the ass to prepare for so many people. But yeah, this should be the most fun winter vacation in a while.

Happy Holidays everyone. And if you're sad that you don't have someone cuddly around to keep you warm, try a blanket and a heater or fire. Works for me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Ahhh (sigh of relief)

Finally, everything is sorta back to normal minus a cough. Not only am I enjoying the departure of the nastiest bug I've had in years, but I'm enjoying the post-flu immunity. Since everyone seems to have what I just had, I don't have to worry about getting sick AT ALL. It's like right after you get the chicken pox and you're happy your immune system has just elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as its governor and is kicking butt. But I digress...

In other news, I finally caved and watched half an episode of Everwood. I admit I was sucked in by the wedding scene and only until then did I realize too late that it was Everwood. I can see how the drama would get old after a few seasons of the same stuff over and over (like Dawson's Creek), but in all honesty, I enjoyed this episode very much. Some neat things were, first of all, the adults were real characters with real issues. It wasn't just the teens in the foreground with their parents being annoying. That helped give the show a "real" feeling. Also, I really liked how some relationships worked out while others didn't. Usually I'd expect everyone to be all angsty and depressed. And I liked how in the end, together or not, everyone was enjoying a last slow dance together in each other's embrace to Etta James' At Last. That song is seriously my weak spot. Hint: don't ever play it when I'm around, especially if I'm pining after you. The results could be disastrous.

Anyways, I should sleep now. Gotta prepare everything before I leave. I can't wait until I'm home!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

In Sickness

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so glad that I'm having cold symptoms... because they are SO much better than Flu symptoms. Basically, I've been debilitated for the past two days with some "mystery illness" typical of dormitories (I swear I got this from my Stanford friends this Friday). Anyways, to make a long story short, it's finally devolving into a normal cold + bronchitus-like symptoms which is a good improvement.

I have to say though, one lesson I learned: If you have a friend, boy/girlfriend, husband/wife, family member, etc. who's sick, go look after them. It makes an unbelievably big difference. When I was half-delirious and semi-dying Sunday night and no one was around to help me find a thermometer or get medicine (no, not even Mommy), I was reduced to stumbling around looking for stuff only to find out all my medicine had expired. So then I had to get in my car, hope there was no one else on the road (there wasn't thank goodness) and "drive" my way over to Safeway at 2am in my PJs, buy some 7up, apples, and TheraFlu, drive back, heat up water, mix in the medicine, and drink it. By the time I had fixed myself, it was 4am and I was really really sad.

Anyways, that's the end of my public service announcement. Please resume your lives.... now.

Thursday, December 4, 2003

EE!

I had a really interesting experience tonight. I met up with my favorite electrical engineering lecturer of all time from my sophomore year in college. He's the reason I switched to EE from CS. I hadn't seen him for three years and I was visiting mainly to drop off some recommendation forms for him to fill out. To my delight, we ended up talking for some thirty minutes, at first just catching up (he's been in Croatia most of those three years) and then talking completely nerd-talk about EE and the current trends in technology. Having been away from EE for three years, he was quite behind the times and was absolutely fascinated as I described the current technologies we use, which three years ago were only theoretical and fanciful. It was like explaining to an overjoyed Leonardo da Vinci how airplanes work nowadays. Talking to him and living vicariously through his excitement at just three years of advancements made me really appreciate how wonderful EE is. Even more so, it struck home the fact that perhaps the greatest thing of this field is that things move so fast and there is always something new and fascinating to explore. It was quite a contrast from all the input I heard from my coworkers and bosses who border on jaded. I guess you really do have to step back once in a while to regain perspective. Now I appreciate my job, career, and field so much more. The renewed excitement is just in time as I prepare to dedicate my energies toward going full steam ahead in EE!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Woman brings pitbull to park. Chaos ensues.

I read this really funny (well, only funny cuz it didn't happen to me) article in the San Francisco Chronicle a couple days ago. For those of you who didn't read it, I think you'll enjoy it:

So this woman takes her pitbull to Golden Gate Park and she gets the bright idea to let her PITBULL off the leash. A nearby mounted police officer (they have mounted cops in SF?) riding on a horse named AAA Andy (awesome name) sees her unleashing the dog and hollars to her to put the dog back on the leash. The woman takes notice, but unfortunately, so does the pitbull. The pitbull immediately decides that the horse, AAA Andy, must die, and bolts towards him. Before the officer can react, the dog is attacking AAA Andy who freaks out and throws the officer onto the ground, hurting his back and neck. The woman runs over and tries to wrestle her dog away from the horse, but is rewarded with a hoof to the face. She collapses onto the ground next to the officer. Then, AAA Andy takes off full gallop while being chased by the pitbull. Half a mile away, another officer receives the distress call sent out by the first officer and spots the horse running at him full tilt while a by-stander shouts, "Watch out, it's that damn dog!" The officer manuevers himself in between the horse and the pitbull and attempts to kick the dog down while it tries to take another bite out of AAA Andy. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the officer pulls out his Barretta and shoots the dog who scurries injured into the bushes. Afterward, the first officer and the woman are hospitalized and AAA Andy and the pitbull are sent to the vet.

I believe everyone was okay in the end. So there you go. And yes, this stuff ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I hate stupid people

I hate stupid people, especially when they're in our government. Apparently, someone has banned the use of "Master" and "Slave" in all descriptions of computer components (commonly used to denote unidirectional control in things like hard drives) in Los Angeles County. Has anyone explained to him/her that hard drives have nothing to do with the African slave trade? The words do have meanings outside of "Deplorable White Man" and "Subjugated Black Man." When the manual says, "set hard drive to slave mode", it's not saying, "Take a ship across the Atlantic and enslave an African." I mean, I don't get all offended when people talk about a "chink" in the table. They're talking about a CRACK in the table, not a slant-eyed railroad worker. Can you imagine what this person would think of "male" and "female" connectors? What a dumbass. Anyways, read up on it here:

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/master.asp

Saturday, November 22, 2003

GO STANFORD!!!

F**K CAL

(Please come see me in person for the unsensored version).

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Names

Here's something that I think about every once in a while. What are some names you'd want to name your children, or names that you just plain like? Here are my thoughts in order of preference (I've actually forgotten a lot of them so I might rearrange stuff later). What are your favorite names? Add them to the Comments section.

Girls:
1) Brenna <-- Check out brenna.com
2) Persephone <-- I don't think I'd ever name anyone this one
3) Vanessa
4) Noriko <-- It's too bad I'm not Japanese
5) Chloe
6) Chelsea <-- I like this one written more than spoken
7) Talia
8) Jane
9) Penelope <-- Again, dunno if I'd actually name anyone this
10) Chandra

Guys:
1) Ewan
2) Wilson
3) Orlando
4) Cameron
5) Darrin
6) ... Okay, I don't think about guy names that much. I give up.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

sulfur, gasoline, and flowers

Seriously, this is ridiculous that my life's been so bleh recently. So much so that I'm barely scraping by with one post a week. The only things that made my recent time any bit worthwhile were my riding lesson this Sat. and the upcoming Kuo Family Reunion.

I honestly think my utter lack of inspiration is directly due to the fact that redvsblue.com has taken a hiatus to produce their first DVD (which you should buy). The pressure to compensate for the sudden loss of the gold mine of a time sink is too much to bear!

Anyways, so my riding lesson this Sat. was so exciting because it was one of those lessons where everything just clicked. For three weeks, I rode a horse named Bean who was a great athlete but really hated me. He was really picky about everything I did and would complain about everything I did wrong. By the third week, I was really frustrated at my seeming halt in progress and wrote my instructor to see if this was her desired result. She said that having patience to nail down fundamentals would pay off in the long run, so I grit my teeth and kept at it. However, I didn't need to last Sat. because after three weeks of running into the same problems over and over again with Bean, I got put on a horse name Levi and rode like I've never done before. I wish everyone else knew how hard it was to do something so simple on a horse like trotting or cantering. Three weeks of frustration paid off incredibly. I think a big part of it was that Bean was such a pain that riding Levi seemed like a breeze. Just to give you an idea of what Levi's like, he's big, furry, and very friendly. Levi's basically a big dog and carries the nick name of Sir Sloth. Anyways, without going into further detail (since none of you'd care), it was a testiment to the benefits of patience and perseverence.

In other news, the Kuo's (25+ of us) are gathering for a family reunion this winter in Los Angeles. It should be a total blast because I haven't seen that much family in so long. We even have the newest member of The Next Generation coming with us, little Syndney. It's times like these that I wish my kids would have this many aunts, uncles, and cousins to play with. Unfortuantely, there's only my sister and I and we're only planning on having around two kids each. It's too bad because being a part of such a great extended family is absolutely wonderful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Matrix Revolutions

My college roommates convinced my working roommate and I that we should relive our crazy undergraduate college experience by waking up ass early to see the world premiere of Matrix Revolutions at 6am PST. Having been let down by the last movie, I was a bit skeptical about donating hours of treasured sleep for a movie I might be again disappointed by.

But I caved, and I'm really glad (and tired), because here's Matrix Revolutions in two words:

Pure Awesome

Of our quick poll of four people, it seems that the awesomeness of Revolutions is inversely proportional to how awesome you thought Reloaded was. I can see in many ways how Revolutions is the anithesis to Reloaded. Reloaded was all about super-long fight scenes inside the Matrix where Neo is basically immortal, thus making said fights pointless. Frankly, I can go rent any Hong Kong action flick to fulfill my RDA of "kung-fu" on wires. Of course, Neo fighting is partly what makes the Matrix so great. I'm just saying there was so much of it that it just got old after a while.

After the first Matrix, which is very focused on Neo, Trinity, Morpheous, and the Matrix, I was hoping for the movies to gradually expand and eventually encompass the whole war with the machines with Neo at its epicenter. This seemed the only way to stay fresh and novel. Reloaded did not deliver that, but Revolutions did. That, along with the wide variety of adventure, action, and plot is what I loved about this movie.

Anyways, if you're in it for the action sequences with Neo kicking everyone and their mom's butt, you might not like this movie. But for all of you out there who want a little less "kung-fu" and a lot more sci-fi, this one's for you. Look, I know you've been hurt before, but you've gotta go out there and try again. GO SEE IT, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Welcome to zombo.com...

For lack of better news, here's another hilarious site. Make sure you have audio on! Also, yes, it actually ends. You'll see...

http://www.zombo.com/

Saturday, November 1, 2003

California Secession

Here's an absolutely hilarious flash cartoon. It reminds me of a New York Times Opinion article on why California should secede from the Union and join the EU. I'll be sure to post that later because if it were on the ballot, I would totally vote for it. But for now, go here!

http://members.cox.net/impunity/endofworld.swf

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween!

Ahh, one of my favorite holidays is finally here! Halloween, when ghosts and goblins lurk behind knarled trees and mist lingers close to the ground. Jack-o-lanterns light their eerie orange glow while children traipse around in costumes searching for candy.

The strangeness of this cold autumn night has inspired my imagination for as long as I can remember. It's quite a nice break from the normal hunky-dory daily life.

Be sure to check out homestarrunner.com today. They have lots of neat Halloween treats for you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Burnination Part 3

Thanks to all of you for sending your best wishes. I'm glad that all of your homes are safe as well. Right now, things look much better for Chatsworth. The fire has turned away and is headed north-eastward towards Stevenson Ranch which is unfortunate for them, but good for us.

I just have to give thanks to all those firefighters who took a fire that was going full bore towards Chatsworth and skirted it entirely around the border without a single home lost. If you've ever seen the mountainous, brush-covered terrain, you'd be as amazed as I am now that they could accomplish such a feat.

Anyways, hopefully this will be the last of the fire updates. If not, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Burnination Part 2

Alright, so my parents single-handedly got everything packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. After I checked on them twice (I think they were getting sick of my phone calls), I told them just to call me if they were forced to evacuate. That was quite a few hours ago and I haven't heard from them since then, so I'll take it as a good sign.

What's really cool is -- get this -- an Evacuation Plan ACTUALLY WORKS. Go home and make one for yourself right now. My mom was telling me how she just busted out the list we made 10 years ago, went down and checked off all the items, and bam, she was done. No stressing, no cursing, and no forgetting important things (unlike me flipping out over here in NorCal).

Being paranoid, I asked if all our neighbors had non-shingle roofs (our neighborhood had all shingle roofs before... total stupidity). Otherwise I was going to make my parents go over to their houses and water their roofs down for them.

So good news is I still have a house and my parents can still stay in it despite not being able to see anything outside. Air conditioners apparently filter interior air better than anyone would've hoped. Bad news is they're probably not out of the woods yet. Plus, my poor favorite Oak Tree out in the hills is probably not doing so well. But we'll see. Hope all is well with your families and homes.

Burnination

Okay, I just got the phone call I did NOT want to receive. I now have 20 minutes to choose what of my past life I would like to save and what I will leave behind to the inferno that is approaching my house in Chatsworth. Then my dad will call back to get the list, he'll pack everything in his minivan along with our other important stuff, and then they will water everything down and then leave. At that point, it's up to the heavens, or the weather, or the quantum uncertainty whether I see the rest of my stuff, along with my house, when I return Home this Thanksgiving.

The nice thing about it is, last time we didn't even have 20 minutes, so this could be considered a gift. Also, me being me, I've already been through this list several times in my head "just in case". The previous fires and earthquakes helped motivate me as well.

One thing that I'm also concerned about is how they're going to get the hundreds of horses out of Chatsworth. There is an organization set up just in case they need to be evacuated, but this is a pretty huge evacuation. Where do you get that many trailers from? Where do you put all the horses??

Anyways, so now I'm just waiting for the next call that will ask me what part of the past I'd like to keep. And that will be that. Wish us all luck.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Kill Bill

will readily admit that I thought this movie was a joke from the looks of the title. Boy was I wrong. If you haven't seen this movie, GO AND SEE IT. There are so many great elements to this movie, I can't even begin to describe them all.

At it's very heart is Quentin Tarantino's take on a Hong Kong action flick. The story is told with such zealous childish glee that you can't help but find it endearing despite the incredibly graphic violence and gore. It's a parody of almost every Hong Kong Kung-Fu movie I've ever seen and them some. There are also some very distinct anime elements to it as well.

I couldn't stop laughing the whole time because even when the movie wasn't try to be funny, it was funny anyway because of the ridiculously excessive blood and gore. The characters themselves only add to the "festive" atmosphere and are so extreme that they become cartoon-like and two-dimensional, which in this case is a good thing.

Anyways, very cool movie. Just go see it because it's really pointless for me to sit here and expound the sheer AWESOMENESS of it.

Another really AWESOME movie is Battle Royale. I'll save that for another day. If you're curious and want to see it (maybe because Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo) is in it), make sure you won't need a good night's rest that particular day. Seriously, it's totally crazy-go-nuts.

Smallville

Because I don't have a quote section on my website and because quote sections tend to grow like weeds, I'm going to post my friend, Ed's, quote about Smallville right here. It, impressively, summarizes the entire show in one sentence:

"Smallville is a bad show, but it has pretty people... so I watch it anyway."

I don't think Smallville is that terrible, but it is on the WB in the post Buffy-nervous-breakdown era (in other words, SUCKS) so yeah, pretty people...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Joe Schmo

Reality shows. I hated them for several reasons. First of all, TV is a break from my everyday life; reality TV only adds the drama and stress of others to my own, as if I didn't already have enough of those things myself. Secondly, reality TV brings out the worst in people. The entertainment is completely negative consisting mainly of cruelty, malice, and selfishness and does nothing to showcase the better side of being human.

I was beginning to lose hope when the Joe Schmo show came along. The Joe Schmo show is absolutely ingenious. They have basically created the first real Truman Show. And most importantly, just like Harry Truman, our protagonist, Matt Gould a.k.a. Joe Schmo really shines as a good person, someone we find likable and care about.

The gist of the show is that Matt thinks he is a contestant on a reality TV show called Lap of Luxury. He is placed in a house with nine other contestants for a week. They have immunity challenges (usually involving doing things with strippers) and vote each other off the show like in Survivor. What "Joe don't know" is that the nine other contestants are actually actors following a script. The characters they play are hilarious, ranging from "The Rich Bitch" and "The Hutch" to "The Gay Guy" and "The Buddy". They mercilessly entangle Joe Schmo in love triangles (one involving the host of the game) and drama, but also reward him with friendships and even loyalty.

In one episode, Joe Schmo and "The Virgin" (a buxom blond) are handcuffed together in the pool, he in swim trunks and she in a tiny bikini. Then, unexpectedly, "The Virgin's" boyfriend walks into the yard on a surprise visit playing a guitar and singing a serenade. This naive, straight-laced, conservative young man is appalled to find his attractive, blond, half-naked girlfriend chained to another man. He asks her why she is chained to another man and is dressed "slutty." Joe Schmo is dragged along with her throughout the house as she argues with her boyfriend and absolute hilarity ensues. Joe respectfully turns his back to the two the whole time despite the fact that he has a crush on her. In the end, the host of the show tries to make a move on her but Joe Schmo sticks up for her. "The Virgin" and the host end up in a bedroom together anyway.

What really makes the show is Joe Schmo himself. In every situation, he stands up for the little guy and is courteous no matter what the abuse he receives. He treats everyone fairly and well, keeps his word, and is loyal until the very last. He is the epitome of what a truly good guy is, and watching him be such a good and noble person makes me feel good knowing that people like him exist. I find myself rooting for him to beat the system because he deserves to.

Which brings me to my last point. I would find it absolutely hilarious if we found out at the last episode that Joe Schmo was an actor too and we were the ones being fooled. If at least, they purposely edited the show this way to make him even more likable. After all, he's almost too good a person to be true, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Rush Limbaugh

In case you haven't heard, our favorite radio host has checked himself into drug rehab. Apparently, he became addicted to pain killers that he was taking for legitimate reasons and began abusing them.

I suppose, as another fellow human being, I should be feeling extremely sorry for him, but I think Karma dictates that I do otherwise. I find it absolutely HILARIOUS that he's in drug rehab and hope that everyone, especially his regular listeners, takes a good look at him and learns a thing or two.

Some of his ultra-conservative supporters would probably argue that it wasn't his fault that he was addicted. For once, I agree with them. They are 100 percent correct. And I wouldn't at all be surprised if at some point in Rush's illustrious and sensationalist career, he suggested all drug abusers should go to hell (and/or jail). So there's poetic justice for you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Recall Election

Okay, so I've already voted but I still want to hear what your thoughts are.

I must admit I'm slightly disgusted with myself, but I think we gotta give Arnold a try. The Republicans should enjoy this Democrat's vote because they aren't likely to get another one from me anytime soon (screw Bush).

I basically decided to vote what I really want and trust that the majority of Californians are smart and will choose the Right Thing even if it's not what I voted for. This is a big step for me because I usually think that the electorate, as a whole (including myself), are undereducated, undermotivated, and no better than highschoolers voting for student council president. However, having been surrounded by very intelligent people for many years now, I feel there is a decent chance that I am mistaken and that our state is in good hands after all. Well, we shall see. In the end, the governor is but a cog in the wheel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A nice week

Wow, what an action-packed week!

This week was absolutely crazy. Not only was work kicking my butt but Fleet Street Auditions were in full swing. Tuesday's O-Show performance was wonderful. We performed better than ever with 18 strong voices, young and old, and soloist extraordinaire Alex Camp to top it all off. Unfortunately, the reaction from the frosh was not as exciting as usual. Usually the applause is deafening, but our performance was scheduled in a weird slot and as a result, the audience was not very warmed up. Despite the lukewarm reception, O-Show and the rest of recruiting was obviously successful because three days later, after the annual ritual of nightlong deliberation and bickering, we produced an extraordinary Fleet Street 2004.

One strange side-effect of my increasing temporal distance from Fleet Street is that I've never had so much fun being an alum. More and more of my good friends are climbing the ranks and retiring from Fleet Street. As a result, I get to hang out with more and more cool people at oldfart (our word for "alum") functions. Who would have thought getting older was such an enjoyable thing?

Saturday, I had my weekly riding lesson. My horse this week was Lexus and true to her namesake, she was quite the smooth ride, but I wouldn't really know because I spent most of it getting jolted around on her back while she trotted around in circles. Right now I'm working on cantering (that's the thing that looks like a slow gallop) and for some reason, everyone else can do this just fine but I'm retarded at it or something. When I signal for canter, the horse goes, "What the hell is he saying?" and just trots faster making my life that much more painful. After three weeks of experimenting with different techniques, my instructor and I finally figured out on the very last attempt this Saturday that my lack of success was due to me sitting incorrectly. My mistake is a good example of what the learning process has been like for me over the past two and a half months. Basically, it was something really small, but apparently very critical. All I needed to do was lift my weight slightly off my inside seat bone and as soon as I did it, the horse would instantly sprung into a canter on my command. I was relieved to have discovered my mistake and exasperated at the same time that I had wasted three weeks trying to figure it out. Now only two small items remain: staying in canter once I get it, and my prime directive in riding: not falling off the horse.

After my lesson, all the Fleet Street oldfarts and I drove our way down to Carmel where the new group was staying for the weekend at retreat and commenced the traditional "oldfart crash" by busting down the doors singing "Come Join the Band." The initial meet and greet was then followed by a very short round of Fleet Street stories and lore which was truncated by the call to sing. And so we sang for the next couple hours until our voices were hoarse and the new members were yawning (it's also traditional for the oldfarts to want to sing while the current members just want to sleep). We had a jolly good time reacquainting ourselves with songs we sang "back in the day."

The next day (Sunday), I drove back down to Carmel (that's $40 of gas right there) to attend my coworker's, John and Grace's, wedding ceremony which was one of the cutest ones I'd ever been to. They had the wedding on the beach with about 20 people, a boom box, some rice, and lots of BBQ food. The Groom and Best Man (his brother) both wore suites and the Made of Honor wore a flower dress. Grace wore a beautiful red Chinese dress. Everyone else was in khakis and shirts. There is always something romantic about being dressed up on the beach. Their mutual friend had "the power vested in him" for a day and married them under the blue sky and by the rolling waves. After throwing rice and giving lots of cheers, we built a cooking fire and began a good old fashioned BBQ, eating until our hearts' content and enjoying the nice weather, comradery, and then the sunset and twilight. Overall, it was one of the neatest things I'd ever experienced and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking a cozy and romantic way to be wed.

And finally, tonight, the moon was just perfect. It was in the phase just after a new moon when the moon is lit just right so that you can see that it's like a giant marble hanging in the sky instead of the usual flat disc. Mars and/or Venus was nearby and for a moment, I could truly imagine all of these floating spheres and the Earth in their three dimensional arrangements, the great distances between them, and the sun lighting all of them from the center. It always makes the world seem so much smaller to see that we're floating through such empty space, just another round ball of dust spinning around a sun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Gallery

I finally sucked it up and installed The Gallery, a php-based web photo gallery. I've been meaning to do it for a while but never got enough motivation to do it. Finally, it took my friend, Barbara's, lack of luck sending pictures through webmail (sucks) to kick my butt into motion. The ridiculous thing is that it only took me ten minutes to set up.

Anyways, hope you enjoy Barbara's pictures. I'm going to migrate my own photo gallery over there soon enough.

In the meantime, I'm going to get some sleep. I'm performing with Fleet Street (a cappella) at Orientation Show tomorrow in front of over a thousand plus frosh. I can't wait for that nervous queezy feeling just before I enter the auditorium, the sweat in my eyes as I sing my heart out, and the deafening cheers and applause at the end of it all. It's one of the few things in life that I really live for and I get to share it with my best of friends all the while on and off stage.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

HTML templates anyone?

Figuring out how to modify HTML templates with Movable Type tags is quite difficult. I wish this were editable purely in Dreamweaver, but it looks like a combination of Emacs, Notepad, and Movable Type will have to suffice for now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Canadia eh? Part 2

All right, I'm sure you've all been waiting breathlessly for another update on my recent trip to Canadia. Hey, get your finger away from the Back button! Good, now back away slowly... Anyways, let's see, where were we? Right, in Banff.

After the horseback riding we took a gondola up to the top of Sulfur Mountain to get a better view of the Rockies. Let me just say now that I don't like the idea of entrusting my life to a tiny cable and 100 feet of air. Therefore, i was glad to reach to top. Here's where my mom surprised me again when she joined us on a hike up to the summit. I honestly didn't expect my mom to do any hiking on this trip. I always forget how similar we are in some ways.

Once we reached the summit, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valleys carved out by glaciers eons ago. They're hard to describe since none exist here. Basically, think of a gigantic icecream scooper scooping out large U-shaped valleys. Combine that with jagged grey rocks, green fuzzy pine trees, a dab of snow, and silt-laden azure rivers and you have the Canadian Rockies. We also got a really good view of one of the forest fires raging out of control up there. Apparently, some of them started as controlled burns that flared up out of control due to a week of record-breaking scorching 86 degree weather. This naturally caught everyone off guard and the fires spread and began consuming entire mountainsides worth of forest.

The next day we headed over to Lake Louis, the posterchild of the Canadian Rockies and rightfully so. The entire lake comes from a melting glacier just above it. The silt from the glacier gives it a greyish-blue-green-aqua color which is visually pleasing when set beside the dense pine forest and sheer granite cliffs. Strangely enough, humans have actually found a way to enhance this natural beauty even more by building a gigantic hotel at the downstream shore of the lake. I'm usually against such things, but the architecture blended in nicely. The best part was sitting at a coffee table inside looking out a huge bay window facing the lake. I guess framed beauty can be so much more effective than unbounded beauty at times.

Here's where we had our longest hike (2 hours uphill). If you think that's nothing, just remember that my mom was with me. I always forget that me taking after her implies her taking after me as well. It seems that our love of hiking is mutual and she climbed up, albeit slowly and with a lot of breaks, without a complaint and enjoyed the scenery along the way. When we got to the very top, we were rewarded with another beautiful lake, this one a deeper blue color, and a small teahouse built at the head of a waterfall. It was nice up there because there were fewer people because the uphill hike had filtered out all but the more dedicated tourists. We decided to sit down and have some lemonade to cool off before the hike back down. They ended up serving us disgustingly watered down lemonade which our whole family (very unpicky eaters) found repulsive and disappointing. My mom, normally very acquiescent about such things refused to leave a tip. I had to sneak a coin in after she'd left.

Our last day in the Rockies was spent up on the Athabasca Glacier. It was awesome, but I wasn't as awed as I should have been. Standing on a flat expanse ice thicker than the Eiffel Tower is something humans really can't comprehend, much like the national deficit for example. The only thing that was really sobering was that there are cracks in the ice (crevasses) as deep as the glacier which made walking outside the specified boundaries suicide to us normal folk. The other thing that was really cool was our transportation. We took a Snocoach onto the glacier and drove on the glacier for a while before we stopped and got out. A Snocoach is basically a bus-sized cabin with 6-wheel drive. Each wheel monster truck sized and taller than i am. It's a very cool looking piece of machinery. Apparently this tour company owns 22 of 23 ever built. The 23rd is owned and used by the scientists in Antarctica.

Our final stint in the Rockies was white water rafting on the Athabasca River itself downstream from the glacier. It was really fun despite being easy rapids. We even jumped into the river to swim and quickly discovered what hypothermia was like. I had to keep my bare arms out of the water (we had wetsuits) just to avoid excruciating pain from the freezing water. Very refreshing I'd say.

Turns out it was lucky we left Jasper when we did because about 30 minutes after we left, they closed the highway because the forest fire (still burning and only getting bigger) was burning out of control by the highway. I've never seen that much smoke in my life (and that's saying a lot coming from Chatsworth where brush fires are the norm).

The next stop was Edmonton, home of the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in the world. Having been to Orange County and seen some pretty large malls, I was skeptical. How big could a mall be? As I learned before, apparently sub-freezing weather will push humans to do wonders. That thing was the size of an amusment park. In fact, there were SEVERAL small amusement parks within it: huge wavepool w/ beach and 4 story tall waterslides, two rollercoasters + smaller rides, IMAX, dolphin show, and (my favorite) a full-sized ice(hockey) rink. Of course there was no one on the indoor ice rink, this being Canada and all. In addition to all the regular stores, there were a great many stores I'd never heard of, a whole Chinese area, restaurant area, etc. Of all places, we had dinner at Tony Roma's called it a night and flew out of Calgary the next day.

Anyways, that's the last of my trip. Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I had actually being on it. Other than Canada, I spent a couple days just lounging around my home in Chatsworth with my family. You all know how much I love home. There's nothing quite like it. I've gotten the pictures back so I just need some time to post them. I'll send one final email when those are ready.

And next time, "Hawaii"!

Canadia eh? Part 1

You might have noticed that I'd fallen off the face of the earth last week. Well, it was because i was in Canada (or Canadia as it's called in my head). So now you ask, what the heck was i doing in Canada? Who GOES there??? My family I guess. This was our annual Kuo Family summer vacation. My sister and i voted to go to Hawaii and my dad voted for the Canadian Rockies. So to the Canadian Rockies we went! It's okay, he's been wanting to go for many years and what's Canada got that Hawaii doesn't besides warm oceans and gorgeous women... i mean beaches?

Anyways, all that really matters is that it turned to be one the best vacations i've had in a long time.

We flew into Calgary and it took me forever to figure out that we were somewhere north of Montana. WOW, Calgary is the most loaded ($$$) little city i've ever seen. There were plasma displays every 10 feet in the airport. It made more sense after i remembered that the 1988 Olympics were here. Absolutely amazing.

In the grand tradition of Canadian cities i've been to, Calgary really appealed to me. Small enough not to feel squashed in a giant metropolis, yet large enough to actually have a downtown district. It was, however, unnerving that despite being the middle of the day and there were almost no people or cars on the street.

The first thing we did was go up the Calgary Tower (a teensy version of the CN Tower). It looks like a thumbtack stuck in among sky scrapers. The view up there was okay. Not much to see but the river and lots of green below. After that, we went to China Town and had a good laugh because it turned out to be a block-long glorified strip mall. Not many asians in Calgary eh?

Apparently it gets cold in Canada (i'm so smart!). Our next stop was this indoor garden which basically doubled as a Central Park for Calgary. Inside were fountains, streams, ponds, sculptures, grass, flowers, trees, and a dance floor. What was amusing were the many white flower-laced arches scattered all throughout the garden. I imagined five weddings taking place simultaneously within 50 feet of each other and was glad i lived in California.

The place we went to after that, Heritage Park, blew my mind. I guess it's a place you might consider corny, but me being overly susceptible to these things really enjoyed it. The whole place was basically an entire 19th century town transplanted onto an entire peninsula complete with a town hall, hotel, saloon, schools, Victorian residences, horse-drawn carts, steam engine, tents, stables, horse show ring, bank, trading post/fort, newspaper, and shops. Every building was a vintage 19th century building moved from the vicinity to be preserved and they had people dressed in period costume actually running them. For example, a trader in the trading post was explaining how things were traded with beaver pelts and how they were made, school teachers taught lessons in the school, and a printer demonstrated how newspapers were printed using a vintage printing press. They even went as far as to stage a continuing series of scenes from daily life in the 19th century throughout the day, things you might read out of a jane austen novel. It was total immersion for four hours. By the end of the day, i was thinking it would be such a nice life to sit under one of the aspens on the green grass and eat an apple whit my horse grazing beside me. Anyways, you see that i'm a) easily amused and b) have no shame.

Then it was on to the Rockies! We stayed in Canmore which is just south of Banff (where the really pretty mountains are). The first day we were there we went horseback riding. My sister and i have independently picked up this rather expensive and random hobby. In my opinion, i'm surprised we didn't do it sooner considering we grew up surrounded by horses for 15 years. It got to the point where we both called the smell of horse manure the sweet perfume of home. Anyways, the thing that worried me most about the whole affair of trail riding was my mom (she doesn't do ANYTHING athletic). I thought she was going to hate it and that the horse would run off with her. To my surprise, nothing of the sort happened. In fact, she controlled her horse better than most on the trail and had a wonderful time riding by the rivers and through the woods. I guess i should've known that the woman who learned to ride a bike the first time she got on at the age of 45 wouldn't have trouble with a silly old beast. My sister and i had a decent time. We couldn't run, or even jog, but being on horseback is soothing nonetheless. It was a good time to enjoy the azure water and green meadows.

I've decided to break this into parts because it's honestly too much work for one night of a working man so stayed tuned for the next installment of Albert's Vacation Adventure! And if you're wondering about pictures, those will be back Friday so hopefully i'll be able to have them up in the up-till-now-abandoned Pictures section.. Okay, seriously pompom, i'm tired, i go sleep.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Dude, what the heck?

Alright, i've finally caved and am doing this in a "blog"-style format. Did i mention that i hate the word "blog"? Oh well, I guess there's no way around it.

So why's this page so stagnant you might ask? What is Albert doing that is taking up so much of his time that he can't update a simple little web page? Well, a lot of things actually. For one, i moved this last month. When i say "this last month", i really mean, every day of this last month. Anyways, i'm in Mountain View now which means cheaper rent!!! But no, more rent because this place is 2400 freaking square feet. AWESOME!!! You should come by and hang out sometime. There's enough room for 50 of you!

Besides moving, work is also keeping me rather busy. I guess i've been around nVidia long enough to start accumulating some responsibility. That basically means i do even parts of doing actual work and handling mindless logistics and meetings.

Other than that, i guess i'm busy with my friends seeing as i live with them and hang out with them every night. It's times like these that i feel bachelor life really is a blessing.

And finally, i've taken up yet ANOTHER expensive hobby (as if paintballing didn't bankrupt me already): horseback riding!!! Seriously Pompom, it's frickin awesome. Or it is until you open up the catalog of stuff to buy and only then do you realize what Old Money really means. Yet another joy of bachelorhood, i have money to squander. I've decided to ride English because, unlike my hometown of Chatsworth, there are no cowboys in Palo Alto. Therefore, i'll be scandalizing the English riding community with my white plastic helmet, rough blue jeans, and dirty tennis shoes for a long time to come.

Incidentally, my sister has taken up riding as well, unbeknownst to me. Must run in the family or something.

In closing, check out my newest feature in Awesome Stuff:

http://www.redvsblue.com

It's HILARIOUS.

Until next time...