Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Bush is Not My President

I'm technically an Independent as my voting record indicates. I did cheer after helping vote Arny in after all. However, after lifting my head out of the sand to find Bush STILL in the Oval Office, I've decided that since I didn't vote for him, he's not my president.

I've already talked about California secession earlier and how California should join the EU. Well, a lot of folks have been talking about becoming Canadian citizens. It makes me wonder if half of America threatened to switch citizenship whether the loss in tax revenue would speak louder than the vote.

Anyhow, here are some great links sent to me by my friend Julie:
www.sorryeverybody.com
www.marryanamerican.ca

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you're all having a nice warm meal with someone/people you love, or like, or can tolerate. If not then hopefully you're out there helping serve those less fortunate than us. Either way, may the turkey be with you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No more horsies :(

My friend, Julie, always greets me with an inquisitive, "How are you?" When most people ask me that, they don't even wait for the answer (which is fine with me). But Julie isn't most people, so I always answer truthfully with anything ranging from "bad" to "alright." Today, I was feeling just okay so when she asked me how I was doing, I answered, "Okay." "Just okay?" she asked. "What? Just okay -- it's better than bad, yeah?" I responded, not sure what she was after. Finally, she said, "I keep hoping one day you'll say, 'I'm great!'"

After telling her not to hold her breath, it occured to me that the reason she never hears that I'm "great!" isn't because I never feel that way, but because she's never asked me, "How are you?" on a Saturday before. Saturday, for those of you who don't know, is my riding day, the one day each week where I wake up, get dressed, and head to the barn where I ride, sit, chat, stand, watch, groom, and sneeze, until the sun goes down. It's my one day of sanity a week and really the only time I'm truly happy.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of my control, my wonderful instructor, Laurie, will no longer be teaching at the barn and will move to Stanford instead. With access to Stanford's lesson horses unlikely, it seems I am now left to my own devices and without a horse to ride, meaning I'll be grounded indefinately.

As a few of you have already pointed out, I could always seek a new instructor/barn. However, half the fun of Saturdays are the friends I've found in Laurie's other students. Through some crazy combination of luck, coincidence, and personality interaction, we've bonded into an extremely close group sharing some intangible common bond. I've yet to distill exactly what that bond is, but it's there and it's strong. I don't want to leave it.

As the sun set behind the hills this last Saturday and it became time to depart, I didn't bid my friends a long farewell, throw hugs all around, or give special thanks for a wonderful year and a half. That would be giving into defeat. Instead, I simply waived goodbye and headed to my car just as I'd done every other Saturday in recent memory, confident I was only a week away from another cheerful greeting with green fields, horses, and friendly faces.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Growing Pains

I've been asking myself this question over the past couple years ever since I left college. You might think it's a strange question to ask oneself, perhaps indicative of a low self-esteem, but it's actually about something completely different.

One of the hallmarks of my college experience, especially that of my freshman year, was the intense, personal, and constant exchange of ideas. Every night was a forum for a new topic about which my dormmates and I would debate, sometimes calmly and deliberately, other times passionately and sensationally, late into the night.

At the time, it was genuinely fun and invigorating. After spending our childhoods cooped up in our homes with parents telling us to do our homework, we could finally open the floodgates and indulge in our curiosity in different ideas and the desire to impress our own views upon others. In retrospect, our nightly debates were excellent practice. The constant push to think thoroughly about difficult topics, to form and express opinions, made me smarter, quicker on my feet, and overall, a more interesting person to talk to. It ties hand in hand with my theory on the source of intelligence. Intelligent people aren't necessarily endowed with more raw brain power (though many are); they've just spent a lot of time thinking about many things so that when a seemingly random topic arises, they have the associated knowledge and/or opinions already at their disposal.

Recently, however, I've noticed that my verbal agility is lacking, my mind wanders about shallow thoughts, and I generally don't have much to say when it comes to anything. It's not that I don't have an opinion -- I just don't care to express or fight for it. In other words, I've become boring.

Additionally, and perhaps most detrimentally, I've found my closest friends' company increasingly abrasive. Of course, everyone knows I love them dearly so this is nothing more than minor annoyance. At the root of the problem is that we all went to Stanford and therefore share the trait of being strongwilled and competitive, competitive not necessarily with each other, but with ourselves. In other words, we're never really good enough and feel compelled to be the best. Put simply, we take some things too seriously, from Halo to poker to Taboo to discussions about politics.

At first, I wasn't sure why this was annoying me so much. After all, I am just as guilty as they are of taking things too seriously. Plus, this behavior never really bothered me before; why was it grating against my nerves now? On top of it all, I feel an overwhelming drive to be absolutely passive and relaxed, to be boring.

After much thought, I came to a reasonable conclusion. I think I'm just growing up. This is not to say my previous behavior was immature, but it was just a different stage in my life. Now all of that competitive energy and analytical drive has been diverted to my job and my career. I spend all day at work exercising those very muscles and by the time I get home, I'm exhausted. All I want is a beer and some passive entertainment, and when all I find is more of the same aggressiveness, I become excessively turned off by it. Basically, my sense of work and sanctuary has polarized into well defined compartments and any spill-over simply irritates me.

The change is probably not as dramatic as I've laid out here; I think being burned out at work has simply exacerbated it. However, I'm glad that it's been blown out of proportion so that I have a chance to recognize and adjust to this newer tweak to my personality.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Welcome Back!

Congratulations to me if you're reading this page. It means you care so much about me, a month-long "My web page is broken" message didn't disuade you from coming back. Either that, or you were just so insanely bored, you had the slimmest hope that I could relieve you of your monotony. Probably the latter.

On with the celebration. After losing the war of attrition with the log/referral spammers, I'm finally with a professional hosting company, www.hostrocket.com. So far things are going smoothly. Migrating this blog took much more doing than I would've liked (migrating from postgresql to mysql is anything but possible), but it's mostly done. I just need to squish my 2.5GB photo/video gallery into my 1GB quota. Sounds like a task for tomorrow.

It's getting late and my eyes are bleeding from h4x0r-ing Movable Type 3 which is apparently infinitely less free than before (well, not if you use the el-cheapo free [neutered] version like me). To answer your final question, why did I bother reviving a web page with a readership of -5? That month-long hiatus really hit home how much I enjoy having a web site -- my own personal soap box in this big crazy world. I felt suffocated and silenced without it, trapped with no outlet. The need for self-expression finally overpowered the need to keep my wallet closed, so here we are, on 100% bonifide paid-for web server.

Welcome back. Hope you enjoy the many more years of blogging to come!

Monday, October 4, 2004

War against the spammers

*** Nerd Alert ***
The following should be completely untelligable to fuzzies (non-techies).

Many of you were wondering why my web page was constantly down or really slow last month. I thought it was because people loved me so much that they had to reload my web page five times every second, all day, seven days a week. Actually, I thought it was all those videos I posted in the photo album that was causing my server to run out of memory.

It wasn't until I finally sat down and poured over my server logs did I realized that I was actually under a Denial of Service attack from spammers. For some reason, I became known to the spammers in September and received hundreds of thousands of bogus HTTP requests which took down my server and our internal house network as well. Basically, I was a victim of log/referral spamming where spammers were hitting my website with requests and spoofing the requested page and referring page, replacing legitimate ones with their own URL. All of this just to get a link on my web traffic statistics page which no one ever sees.

My first attempt to stop this was to write a script that would update my server's firewall to block all traffic from the worst offenders. I basically blacklisted the top 100 IP addresses that generated traffic to my site. This cut the traffic down significantly, but my server still crawled slowly and my home network had begun dropping packets everywhere, much to the chagrin of my roommates and I. Suspicious that the two problems were related, I decided it was do or die at this point. I had to completely fix the problem, or pay for professional web hosting.

Finally, I devised an interesting solution with the help of my most wonderful domain name host, www.noip.com. I changed my http port to port 81, blocked port 80 at my router firewall, redirected all web traffic from albertkuo.com to the url home.albertkuo.com:81. It worked like a charm! The second I hit the Save Settings button, my spam traffic dropped to zero and my home network started working at full speed again.

Anyways, I'm sure you all care very much about it, but at the time, I felt empowered having beat the spammers for a week or two hopefully.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

England

I just got back from an incredible trip to England. Some of you may know my obsession with seeing the English countryside. Well, I got plenty of it. My riding instructor, a few fellow students, and I ventured to New Market and then the Yorkshire Riding Centre (in northern Yorkshire) for ten days. We spent most of it riding horses and doing good old-fashioned tourism. By the end of the trip, none of us wanted to leave and we decided we'd be back, possibly as soon as next year.

I've spent a week compiling all the photos and video clips from the trip in the Photos section. Unfortunately, my camera's lense is very slow and couldn't capture sharp images inside the riding arena. As a result, you'll have to wait until I get my fellow student's pictures from her camera for the horseback riding action shots.

Since my upload speed is capped at 256Kb, the pictures and especially videos will take a while to download, so please be patient. I've supplied compressed versions of each video to ease browsing. The full size versions are far superior, so if you see a video you like, spend the time and download the big file.

If you'd like a CD of all pictures and videos, please let me know and I'll happily make one for you. If you have pictures to contribute, I'd also love those as well.

Anyways, enough of the yammering. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Departures

I simply hate them. They make me sad, teary-eyed, and otherwise quite miserable for some time. This is one of those traits I've exhibited since the beginning of time. It was rare to find me with dry eyes after leaving any place, person, or thing... or if they left me. I've gotten much better at it. I said goodbye to my relatives from Taiwan, whom I absolutely adore, without much incident. Friends continue to come and go; some have even left without my knowledge. My room is littered with items left behind by those I care about: a signed book here, and stuffed animal there. I've had plenty of practice and simply accepted the comings and goings of people as a small part of life.

Even so, I'd been dreading today for many months, the day when Barbara, one of my closest friends of over three years, would finally move away for good. It reminded me of something I said to someone senior year in highschool. I knew we'd soon part forever and I wanted to take a snapshot of that moment to file away forever in my mind. A couple days ago, I was sitting across from Barbara at Starbucks just looking at her while she studied and had the same thought, that I'd want to save and cherish this moment forever. So I impressed the image of her concentrating face across from me and wrote in my journal, "There was this girl, Barbara, that I used to chat and study with at Starbucks..." Now, a couple days later the tense of that statement is correct and it will be how I come to recall her for future friends.

Let's just say that saying goodbye wasn't easy. In fact, after I handed her my farewell gift and letter, it was everything I could do to hold myself together. That distinctive moment when two lives diverge is so sharp and tangible, yet is infinitely short. At some point, you just know you've looked at someone in that old familiar way for the last time. You know that it will never be the same again.

So all I can do is wish her well on her journey, and that the winds be favorable.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I Loved You

Every once in a while, I think of this poem I read when I took Russian in highschool. I remember being so struck by the simplicity and sincerity of it. It's a poem anyone could write, but took Pushkin to do it.

The poem has stayed with me all these years. Pushkin was my voice again and again. Many times, I wanted so badly to recite this poem aloud, yet never had the courage to. I just thought I'd share with you a part of me:

Я вас любил

Я вас любил: любовь еще, быть может,
В душе моей угасла не совсем;
Но пусть она вас больше не тревожит;
Я не хочу печалить вас ничем.

Я вас любил безмолвно, безнадежно,
То робостью, то ревностью томим;
Я вас любил так искренно, так нежно,
Как дай вам Бог любимой быть другим.
-- Alexander Pushkin

Translation:
I Loved You

I loved you so, perhaps I love you still;
For in my soul love isn't yet extinguished.
But let this give you not one moment's spill:
I'd never want to cause you grief or anguish.

I loved you silently, hopelessly,
To shyness and to jealousy condemned.
I loved you so sincerely, so tenderly,
May God grant you a love like this again.
-- I modified a translation by Douglas Robinson to follow the meaning of the original more closely. It is still a sad approximation of the wonderful work.

You can see now, the poem leaves a great question. Does he still love her? That is always a good question.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Blue and White

Let's answer the $64k question first: where in the world have I been and why am I not entertaining you with my "interesting" blog entries? The answer is simple. I'm too busy driving my brand spanking new bimmer!

Now before you let out your sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe I've stopped bombarding everyone with bimmerisms and bimmerfacts, I must regretfully inform you that you will have no such luck. Then again, it is highly likely that you will see much less of me than before since I take a 15 minute detour just about everywhere I go now. That means any former commute is now instantly 15 minutes longer (or more on a good day), easily doubling my commute home from work for example. I've also managed to find an excuse every day to drive somewhere as a break during work. Gone is the foosball, come is the joyride.

Now onto the Ultimate Driving Experience (tm). My baby was delivered on June 22nd, a date that took me by surprise since I wasn't expecting it until a week later. When I showed up at the dealership, I had a difficult time containing my excitement. I wanted to skip down the street and into the entrance, but I decided not to look like a total idiot just yet. My sales associate, noting the stupid grin on my face, welcomed me and led me out the back door to the parking lot where my baby was apparently located. As we stepped out, my eyes leaped back and forth among the cars and settled upon several contenders. Then a silver gray beauty with no plates caught my eye. It was The One. There is really not much that can match the beauty of brand new glossy paint and a blue and white roundel on the silky curves of a fine automobile.

After going over the car with a fine-toothed comb, checking everything from the spare tire to the moon roof to the underside of the front bumper, I went in and signed my life away with a gigantic personal check. I swear there weren't that many digits in the price tag before. Then I drove away in my brand new baby.

Now, 200 miles later, I still have that idiotic grin on my face every time I get in. I took it up Page Mill, a local mountain road, and it was the most phenomenal driving experience of my life. As one who always hated driving (I figured it's was just another way of getting myself killed), I must say this car makes driving a delectable activity.

My mission now is to get past break-in (1250 miles). This car screams for more and it pains me that I can't comply for another 1k miles. No matter, delayed gratification is the best kind.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Seattle

Just visited my friend Bob in Seattle, land of the green trees, flannel-clad musicians, and rain. It was quite nice to see him as he's been gone in the land of Mordorsoft for the past year. Weird seeing a friend every day (roommate) and then have him disappear off into the misty mountains.

Being a Bob vacation, we did lots of active things like going on hikes and playing frisbee. The hike through the forest was fascinated for a Southern Californian. I decided that real forests were much much better than half-assed forests like we have here, the reason being that real forests have ferns and not much underbrush due to the shade of a real canopy. This makes them easy to walk in and does not restrict your view. Half-assed forests, however, are impossible to walk in as they are 50% trees, 50% bushes. You can almost never see where you're going and you're always scratched up.

In other news, my car comes in three weeks. Having seen the new E90 (or a prototype rendering of it), I realized just how obsolete my car is already and it's not even here! Bastards. But still, I will love it and cherish it for as long as it is under warranty. Then I'll love it and cherish it and curse my repair bills. This wait is pure torture. Must... have... car...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Radioactive Man

Today I am Radioactive Man!

A little dose of I-131 (radioiodine) and now I glow in the dark. Just kidding. Actually, I only register a measley 5mRads @ 1m, so nothing too impressive.

In case you're wondering why in the world I voluntarily ingested radioactive material, it's for treating my hyperthyroidism. There shouldn't be any major ill effects at the moment; I just might be a little more hyper/A.D.D. than usual these few days. I'm actually quite relieved that I'm finally taking care of this stupid problem after having been on a year-long addrenaline rush. It gets old after a while.

So now I'm just sitting at home (I'm quarantined due to the radioiodine) playing Ico all day long, cleaning my room, and other fun stuff. It feels good to have a nice break.

Thanks to all of you for your warm wishes, wonderful cards, and gifts :). I feel so undeserving; I really appreciate the thought!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Hwi Are Family

Yesterday was the annual Hwimori Spring Show, titled "Hwi Are Family" this year. It came complete with an adorable flyer made by Kim where every member of the group was rendered in cute anime form.

Overall the performance went quite well. Things fell apart here and there occasionally, but I'm really impressed with how the group pulled together at the end to deliver an entire spring show. I was satisfied that I finally got to perform the rather difficult Standing Solchanggo which involves both complicated rhythms, steps, and coordination with three other performers.

Anyways, if you're curious as to what we are or what we look like, you can either check out Hwimori's Homepage or these pictures from our spring show. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Glucose?

Hmm, apparently I'm glucose. Does that make me a sugar-daddy? Which molecule are you?

Glucose
You are glucose. People feed off of you. You are
sweet, caring, and a source of energy for
everyone around you. You can inspire others
with your creativity and depth, and you can
keep people alive when in times of famine.
People love you...or at least the way you
taste.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Oh the stress

I've been quite stressed lately. Again, you already know this because I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Work has been kicking my ass. Funny because there are technically no projects I'm assigned to work on. Therefore, I'm working on all projects because everyone thinks I'm free. I guess it's just hard working for such a lean company sometimes; they're perpetually short of hands. Of course there are always benefits as my Google friends are about to experience. Damn them and their stock options!!!

To add to an already stressful week, Hwimori's (Korean drumming group I'm part of) spring show is this Sunday and I feel grossly underprepared. Not to mention three hour rehearsals after work make me a bit tired.

In other news, my car is now coming the beginning of July. Woohoo!! I had no idea this wait was going to be this much torture. I should've known.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Getting New Car!!!

If you don't know by now, then I don't know where you've been. Really. Even my friend's friend who lives in LA and visited us a month ago asked me how my car search was going. I notice that I tend to absolutely obsess about purchases and research them to death before even dipping my toes in. This phenominon is magnified exponentially with the price tag involved. For example, when I was looking for a laptop, it took me month of daily website-reading price-comparing insanity before I settled on the model I wanted. Of course such agony pays off in the end with a purchase I am truly happy about, but still.. the agony!

Can you imagine what it must be like shopping for a car worth 20 times that??? It's pure torture, not only for me but for all my friends too. Our conversations go something like this:

"Hey Albert, what's up?"
"Sup ."
"What are you up to tonight? Wanna hang out?"
"Dude, I test drove this bimmer yesterday and it was AWESOME!"
"What?"
"Yeah, also checked out this Audi and Infinity. That Audi's got an AMAZING interior. Man, now I don't know which car to choose. What do you think I should get?"
"Get what you want man... It's your money."
"No really, should I get an SMG or stick with that 330i?"
"Dude, shut up."

Now, everyone, as of today you can officially celebrate a very special day. I prefer to call it, Albert Ordered His Car Day!!!, however friends might prefer Albert Finally Shuts Up about His Car Day!!! Now before you ask for a ride in it or to take it out/steal it for a joy ride, it's not here yet. Otherwise I wouldn't be sitting in front of a computer typing this stuff. I'd be out breaking my new baby in. When does it arrive you ask? Late July. Yes, that's three excruciating months, but well worth the wait. This car is AWESOME and I love every little bit of it. Special thanks to Barbara who actually went out and test drove for me my new baby (not to say it wasn't a fun favor by any means).

Alright, so now you're thinking, "Albert, cut to the chase. What the HELL did you get?"

I always said my next car would be a bimmer right? Of course, at the time, I figured I'd keep my Jeep at least a couple more years and save more money but oh well, everything can't go according to plan. I sucked it up and broke the bank with this one...

BMW Silver Gray Metallic 330i with:
-- Performance Package
-- 6-speed manual
-- Gray leather
-- Moon roof
-- Aluminum Silver Cube trim
-- Xenon headlamps
-- Parking Distance Control

It's not by any means a "fast car" compared to all those Infinity G35's I see running around out there (not even going to talk about the Evo or STi), but definately a gorgeous machine that's both wonderful to look at and exhilarating to drive, and most importantly, it's my dream car (until I get my M5 of course)!

Monday, April 5, 2004

Napa Once Again

Apologies for all those who actually read my site. I know it must've been a difficult month without me to entertain and assist your procastination. Honestly, I didn't post anything because there wasn't anything good to write about, and I hate writing about stupid stuff.

So the non-stupid stuff that happened was that my family came up to visit me last weekend from Los Angeles. I was really happy to see them and show them around the Bay Area because they don't come too often. We went up to Napa to do some wine tasting, take some tours, and take in the lush green Northern California scenery (LA is brown already this time of year). Hmm, funny, I was just up there...

Our first stop was the Robert Mondavi winery. We took their tour which was quite fun and informative. Of course our favorite part was the wine tasting portion at the very end. They served us some white and red wine. Then the guide served some sweet dessert wine which was really good as far as dessert wine goes. My parents and sister went straight to the store and bought a few bottles. Then they made two more trips back to the store to get some more. By the time we left, we had an entire case of dessert wine. Finally, before we left, I had to show my parents the I Block Fume Blanc which I had last time and really liked. Turns out I have expensive taste ($65 a bottle). We sat down in their well decorated and airy tasting room and passed around a glass. By this time, my mom was drunk and the rest of us were a bit tipsy so we had a good time enjoying the beautiful weather and surroundings with our wine.

After the wine tasting, we drove around Napa, Sonoma, and the outskirts of Santa Rosa, passing the bed and breakfast where Barbara and I stayed. Finally, we had dinner in downtown Sonoma which is even smaller than I realized and went home.

The next day I took my sister out to Half Moon Bay to give her a much belated birthday present: a ride on the beach. We saddled up and went the usual path. We managed to convince the guy to let us go without a guide, but we ended up running into a couple with a guide. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't shake them because whenever we'd try to run ahead, they'd follow. An hour later, I was so frustrated, I finally gave up and accepted our fate. It wasn't so bad though because our guide didn't restrict us too much. My sister and I could pretty much run as we pleased. However, both of our horses absolutely refused to canter and mine tried to buck me off several times when I tried. I finally decided that a nice run on the beach wasn't worth my life so I settled with trotting down the shore. In then end, my sister really enjoyed it and that's all that really matters. So any of you wanna come riding with me? Just let me know. It's fun (and expensive)!

Monday, March 8, 2004

All Nighter

You know, there is really nothing like pulling an all-nighter especially after 4 hours of sleep a night the week leading up to it. Smells like dead week doesn't it. I can't even feel my face anymore. Walk straight? Nah. Drive? Sure! Perhaps I should just stay here at work, at 6 in the morning, sleep under my desk, and wake up at 8 bright an early for a days work.

This school while working thing has been quite an experience for me. It's so different not being able to sleep in after working until 5 or 6 or 7 in the morning because you have work the next day. Can't ditch that. Also, you don't even get you usual hour or two of procrastination in. Anyways, I thought I'd have something interesting to post about today but really, I'm just delirious and the not seeing straight thing is bugging me.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Online personality tests

The internet would be so boring (and half the current size) without these nifty things that help waste you and all your friends' time. Anyways, my friend forwarded the http://www.okcupid.com test to me and it was more fun than doing the project I'm working on so I took it. Here are my results.

What do you think? Does it match? Note the Always Avoid section. That would be my friend. Here're her results. Funny funny.

Alright, next post, Viennese Ball (the last one?) because that's tomorrow and I'm starting to get all nervous. Did I forget something? Do I remember how to dance? Will my Battle Axe be happy?

Post your test results in the Comments section!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Arlene's Website

Just like Sha Sha did for me, I'm going pop the Google cherry for my friend, Arlene. So I'm going to link her website here: Arlene Gabriana and here: Arlene's Webpage and here: Arlene is cool and here: Arlene is so hot. Check out that cool couch.

Now here's a direct link to her blog: Arlene Gabriana.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2004

Weekend Recap

So I really have nothing to talk about so I'm just going to blab because something is better than nothing to read.

First of all, Barbara's birthday bash last last weekend was awesome. On Valentine's Day our horseback trail ride through Point Reyes was phenominal. If you ever get a chance, you should visit Five Brooks. I highly recommend them. Most of the time we were winding through tall woods in a sort of enchanted twighlight. Everything was lush green except for the dirt of the trail and the peeks of sky above. At one point, we started running through the forest at an exhilarating speed. I thought I was going to die, but what an awesome rush it was. Then, just when I thought the forest would never end, we burst out into open green rolling hills and took a slow walk through the tall grass. It was wonderful to soak in the sun and the view after having been under the forest canopy for two hours. Our path then led us into an open meadow where many deer were grazing. We walked quietly around them as Barbara and I gazed wide-eyed. It was so peaceful and tranquil...

I think we owe our guide most of the credit for such a wonderful ride. She was so kind and went out of her way to show us neat things (like the deer). The whole time she was talking about how happy she was with the horse she was riding. Apparently the horse had been "rescued" and was really disfunctional until our guide gained her trust to the point of riding her out onto open trails as a guide horse. It's quite a big step if you know how skittish horses can be. As a result, I like to think of her as some kind of horse-whisperer.

Anyways, enough with the horses. You want to know how the night at the bed and breakfast went. Well, sorry to disappoint, but all I'm going to say is that there was some serious wine-chugging drunkeness on Barbara's part and that she broke her promise not to puke all over me. I spent most of the evening catching things as they fell and performing other janitorial duties. By the time the night was over, I had one damp Barbara next to me, several puked on towels in the bathroom, a tub and sink worthy of a frat, and a stained carpet. This is all in addition to the stuff strewn all over the floor, etc.

Needless to say, Barbara did not make it down to breakfast the next morning, especially since I left the bathroom and the sink for her to clean. I had the honors of introducing her to the "Hangover" and she then went through the whole day thinking everything tasted and smelled like puke. This made the planned activity of wine tasting a bit difficult. Things didn't look up until dinner time when we gathered together with her friends and ate a scrumptious meal at Chandon. Ironically, there wasn't a single drop of champagne at the table all night. They must've thought we were weird and/or cheap.

Anyways, that just about sums up my weekend. Now on to Viennese Ball: The Last One?

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Valentine's Day 2004

Alright, you've waited long enough to find out what I'm going to do (if you don't already know). Since I finally have a spare moment now that I've just bombed my midterm (which could be a $3,000 mistake), I'm going to tell you all about what I'm going to do this weekend.

Just to give a little background, I've never had plans for Valentine's Day before. Usually, I give flowers to all my girl friends, and spend the rest of the evening serenading girls with Fleet Street. There's really nothing more fulfilling than watching girls melt at the sound of your voice.

But this Valentine's Day, I'm doing something different. No, I didn't all of a sudden snag a girlfriend. Instead, my friend, Barbara, notified me as of a couple weeks ago that we had plans (of which I was previously unaware). On Saturday morning (V-Day), I'm going to pick up Barbara, drive up to Point Reyes and take a nice private horseback trail ride in and through the woods and up to view the Pacific Ocean. Then we're going to head to Santa Rosa where we'll check into a bed and breakfast and dally around the town until dinner time. Then we'll have a nice dinner by Sonoma, perhaps some dancing, perhaps some chilling, then a movie, some wine, and finally some sleep.

The next day, Barbara's birthday, we're joining up with all her friends in Napa Valley and we're going on a wine-tasting tour with a fancy dinner to finish it off. Then we're driving back home and doing homework. Nice weekend eh? I never would've thought of it myself. I'll let you all know how it goes next time I write here.

Anyways, this should hopefully be fun. I personally don't think I'm ever going to plan anything like this again for anyone but a girlfriend. Not that it was super stressful or that I won't have a good time, but I feel this kind of thing is most rewarding if there's a deeper emotional investment in it. So if you wanna spend a romantic weekend with me next year, please check the girlfriend box first, like so:

_X_Girlfriend

Well, that's all I have for you for now. Stayed tuned and as usual, feel free to leave me comments. I read them you know. They entertain me. When I'm bored. Or at work. Or trying to study. You know?

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Tried and True

I found this cute article over at slashdot.org about obsolete technologies that just won't die, very much like cockroaches. Enjoy: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/scigliano0204.asp?trk=nl.

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Encore

Okay, that last post was so popular, not one of you left a single comment. Yet somehow, I've heard from my tens (actually less than 10 I think) of regular readers about how they really enjoyed that last post. Some have even taken to giving me a new nickname, Cuddle Bitch, at the office. I'M SO GLAD YOU TAKE SO MUCH PLEASURE IN MY MISERY.

For those of you not caught up on your reading assignment (boys especially), here's the link again cuddle bitch (n.).

Anyways, when I'm not doing my EE problem set, I'll update you all on my Valentine's Day plans because for once, I have some. It will be a really fun behind-the-scenes look at what panic goes through in a guy's mind several times a year. Strangely enough, these episodes have an uncanny way of coinciding with Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and certain birthdays. And for all of the fans back home, no, sit back down, I don't have a girlfriend.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

www.intellectualwhores.com

Did you know that women have two ladders while men only have one? Do you know what a "cuddle bitch" is? Do you have no idea what I'm talking about? If not, then you need to visit www.intellectualwhores.com. Hopefully it will save at least one of you from making some horrible mistake with the opposite sex. Anyways, I think this page is AWESOME. Granted the stuff on there is common wisdom, but these guys actually took the time to write it down. That is impressive. It includes helpful diagrams and whatnot in case the colorful language doesn't get the point across well enough. A must read is the Ladder Theory. The first part about Ratings isn't totally accurate but the last half is dead on. Be sure to read up on how women's ladders are different than men's. I hope you enjoy the wealth of wisdom that is intellectualwhores.com, and if you think his site is offensive and misogynistic, please be sure to send some hate mail.

P.S. If anyone out there is a fellow cuddle bitch, we should start a club or something. Hi everyone, my name is Albert and I have a problem...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Xin Nian Kuai Le!Happy New Year! Gong xi fa cai. I'm wearing my only red shirt to celebrate the coming of the Year of the Monkey. Strange that I've pa

Happy New Year! Gong xi fa cai. I'm wearing my only red shirt to celebrate the coming of the Year of the Monkey. Strange that I've passed my third Year of the Goat already. Oh well. I wish you a most joy-filled and prosperous year.

Monday, January 19, 2004

College Days Once Again

I went to sleep at 4:30am last night. Why? Because I was talking with my friend until 3:30am in her dorm room. We talked about boys, girls, work, horses, geography, friends, the Future... all under the pretense of studying together. I swear I tried, but I missed having company so much I couldn't resist; the Real World can be a lonely place. While we were talking, I was trying hard not to get squished off the side of her tiny twin-sized bed and fall through the open second story window beside it. All the while I was thinking how this was college again, to the last detail, and how much I miss it. Real life is about money and things; college life is about people. It was the first time I'd felt alive in a while and I'm sad to know that I'm just setting myself up for disappointment.

The Dream

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I'm sitting at work. I'm not so much bitter because my friends are all frolicking around on this holiday, but because corporate America does't celebrate what I think is one of the most important days of the year. Not only do I think all of America should celebrate this day, but I think the rest of the world should too. Dr. King's message is universal and should be heard all throughout the land by all people. I would expound further, but you've heard it all before. So just make sure you remember The Dream today whether you're at work or play.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Hubble Abandoned

I'm so fucking pissed right now. NASA has announced that due to safety concerns, the Hubble Space Telescope will no longer be serviced... ever. As a result, depending on how creative the engineers are, we have only a few years left with it. NASA mentioned that they were dedicating the shuttle fleet to completing the ISS only due to safety reasons. This goes hand in hand with Bush's announcement mentioning that shuttle fleet is only to complete the ISS and then retire.

I really don't know what to think. Over 500 soldiers have died in Iraq and Bush is not willing to risk 7 astronauts to keep alive one of the most important scientific instruments ever produced by human kind. If given a choice between the Hubble and Iraq, there is no question I'd rather have the Hubble.

Then again, from NASA's point of view, are they willing to risk 7 more of their lives for a piece of equipment? I say they should take volunteers. If no one wants to go, that's alright with me. No one should have to risk their life without them wanting to. However, if there are those who believe in the Hubble's importance for mankind, then I say we should let them go.

Monday, January 12, 2004

I swear I haven't forgotten you

I know I know, this is the longest I've gone without updating my web page. There were just so many exciting things to write about, I wasn't sure where to start. Okay, no, not really, I'm just lazy and really busy. Why am I so busy? Just to give you an idea, I have my first problem set in two years due in a couple days. Yeah, you heard right, a problem set. I'm taking a class at Stanford and was quite dismayed to find that I couldn't even get the first question right. Fun times.

In other news, the Kuo Family Reunion (tm) was a huge success with only our grandfather's ailing health to dampen our high spirits. Things for him have turned out better than any of us could have hoped, so things worked out in the end. As for the actual reunion, it was a real blast hanging out with all of the cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents one last time before we start losing people to jobs and future neices and nephews. Actually, we already have a neice, but she was super smart and extremely cute so we let her stay. The wonderful week we all spent together only served to reinforce the fact that there is nothing more important in life than family.

I've received requests from certain cousins (John) to get that reunion video done and post pictures. I assure you, I will take as long as humanly possible to do either task. So there :).

In other news still, I finished reading all of the Nausicaa manga (by my hero Miyazaki) and I can safely say that it belongs along-side Ender's Game, Dune, and Lord of the Rings as my favorite literature of all time. If you've never read it or only seen the movie, you really must read this. It's something you can't read without being changed by it. I'll talk more about it some other time because it really deserves it's own discussion.

Finally, Red vs. Blue Season 2 is out!!! Go and get it at RedvsBlue's website.