Monthly Archives: August 2007

I added “Recent Comments” section to the sidebar

Sometimes I get some great comments written by my readers. Thanks to WordPress for this nice little widget called “Recent Comments”, it’s there for all of you (at least those of you who don’t use the Comments feed) to see.

Maybe someday I will write a post about all these wonderful features we have here at WordPress and why it’s ranked #1 at Blog Services Review, among its other acclaims.

Guess Who’s Watching

I was reading this story on USAToday on the train. It mainly talked about dog owners nowadays not only “coddle (their dogs) in cashmere and cradle them with down-stuffed beds“, but they are giving them their own rooms in the house. Interior designers around the country, when building a new home, are expanding their services so to accommodate their clients’ dogs.

“If you live in a gorgeous home and have all these gorgeous accoutrements for the home, do you really want to stick (your dogs) in a metal crate at night?”

But I’m not here to discuss the story, or things like how far is too far when it comes to pampering your pets. The article was a good one. What I want to show you is this little picture beside the story. It’s the picture of a door to the room that belongs to owners’ dogs. Take a look at this (click to enlarge):

Dogs Peeking

Hahaha, isn’t that cute?

(note: You can’t find this picture elsewhere because it was not included in the online version of the story. I cut it off from the newspaper and took the photo with my digital camera.)

Related Articles:

Living with a Foodie

There are many good things about living with a foodie. The best of which is you find yourself spending lots of money and time in all kinds of strange restaurants, whether you want it or not (most of the times, you want it).

If someday there is a contest on simply the number of different cuisines you have tried at least once in your lifetime, I think we are in pretty good shape.

So, here’s my list of CIHTALO – Cuisines I Have Tried At Least Once. I need to write it down because I want to have something to be proud of when I die. Continue reading

My 10th Anniversary as an Immigrant

Sky

I arrived in the U.S. on Aug 22, 1997. It was a sunny day, just like today.

The moment I stepped out of LGA airport, I looked up and saw the sky. It was unusually high (I learned later that wasn’t unusual. It merely appeared higher because of the better air quality). Friends who came on the plane together with me, I still remember their faces clearly. We were picked up by a few senior students I contacted earlier. One of them has the same name as my brother’s.

The first trip to PathMark was a curious one. Because we were living in an apartment complex outside campus, shopping was a major problem. None of us had driver license. The senior students took us to PathMark right after we arrived so we could have something to eat for the night.

Everything was so expensive. Fruit and vegetables especially. One of things I bought was Taco chips, recommended by one of the seniors. It turned out to be one of my favorites in the early days. Almost everyone bought cup noodles. They were popular in China back in the time when we were growing up, and they were cheap. Graduate students’ monthly stipend was only $800-$900 and we hadn’t even seen the first paycheck yet.

During the first orientation seminar they offered free lunch sandwiches, very cold Turkey sandwiches. I’m sure it was very healthy and nutritional but I couldn’t finish them. It was tasteless (now I eat those sandwiches on regularly basis). Instead I went to the cafeteria at Student Activity Center nearby and bought a slice of pizza. I was the only new student that did that, though everyone seemed to hate the sandwich.

I met HM in an unusual way. My then b.f. was visiting me and an hour after he left for the train station, I got a call from a girl I didn’t know. She said her name was HM and she just met my b.f. at the train station. She said they had a little chat and he learned that she was also a new graduate student in CS dept of our school, and he gave her my number. I then invited her over to my apt and we chatted. Just like that, I got a new girl friend.

Computer Science Department building didn’t impress me when I first saw it, but that doesn’t matter. It was a very special place because of all the time we spent there, and all the people I met there. The computer room. The Ping Pong room. Our office. My lab. Library. Professors’ offices. The guy in my lab who quit (for a job) after only a few months. The two seniors with the same name Bao in the middle. The guy who took me to Flushing for the first time. The guy who introduced himself by saying he had a girl’s name.

And Theo.

Theo was the reason I bought a TV earlier than everyone else. He was (part of) the reason I was always looking to talk to non-Chinese students, trying to avoid, not very successfully, speaking Chinese all the time with only Chinese students. He said my English was not very good, even though I secretely thought it was alot better than most of other students. He suggested me listen to talk shows to improve listening. I did exactly that, but found the talk shows were much easier to understand than him.

He had a very heavy, thick Greek accent. None of the talk show hosts sounded like him.

Theo was my professor, who I was working closely with as a research assistant.

Not being able to understand him fully was the biggest challenge I faced in my early days. I don’t remember much about other courses/projects except some were harder than others. I did best in Algorithm but never got chance to take Networking in my 3 semesters’ stay. I enjoyed the 2-D barcode decoding algorithm I was working with Theo and the time I spent in SBL as an intern. It turned out to be the only working experience I had other than my current job. All the people there I still remember. My Polish mentor (his “top model” picture in his cubicle). Two Joes. The Taiwanese girl. Michelle.

Starting from ’98 summer, instead of cooking most of the meals I ate mostly on campus. Roth cafeteria. SAC cafeteria. Hospital cafeteria. Smith Haven Mall. I’d gotten driver license and bought a ’88 Toyota Tercel for about $1,000. It saved lots of time and energy. And I found out I was really good at driving and enjoyed every minute of it.

The end of SB era was a little blurred in my memory because something happened in my personal life that summer. All I remember is I had to put everything aside and start looking for a job. By then I had already moved to another apartment where I no longer had a roommate. But HM was there in my hardest time. I didn’t attend graduation ceremony. I can’t even remember the day I left.

For the next eight years, I worked. Some years flew by as if they were a few days. Some days felt they would last forever. I realize how impossible it is to write about the last few years. I realize there are experiences in life that cannot be expressed in words. You succumb to the power of life in awe and sometimes, in fear. But in all the times, you have no choice but endure, live on, and learn, so you can be better prepared for the next time.

SYTYCD, After the Finale

SYTYCD Logo

So You Think You Can Dance season 3 is over. My favorite, Danny, didn’t win.

I’d thought I would be pretty upset if he wasn’t the winner, but I’m not. I had such a great time watching Thursday night’s finale show, celebrating what a fantastic season this has been, that I almost didn’t care who the winner would be (the keyword is “almost”;). They really did an excellent job with the finale, putting together lots of interesting pieces, footages and performances and showed them in a nice pace that you didn’t feel it was dragging and were able to sit through the commercials quite patiently.

All my favorite routines were re-danced. Even the guest performances were quite good. The montage shown when the singer was singing “I will remember You” was so moving and real.

This is my favorite show of all. I like it more than Dancing with the Stars, although I thoroughly enjoy both. The choreography, music and dance quality are obviously better in SYTYCD, but what makes it really special is the camaraderie among those brilliant young people and the coach-pupil relationship between them and the judges. In this show the judges appear to really care about the contestants’ progress as a dancer. They give very honest opinions and are very sincere. There is a very pure, almost innocent, quality to the show which is so rare in today’s reality shows. Those talented young dancers get the chance of their lifetime to work with / be critiqued by these highly acclaimed professional choreographers/judges. Everyone is so genuinely involved and speak from their heart. Very little TV manipulation and nothing is fake. This to me, is the biggest factor why SYTYCD was so successful. The spectacular, world class choreography and superb performances are just icing on the cake. They show off the beauty of life like no other art form does, i.e., through the beauty of human body itself.

People like to say, “it’s just a tv show”. Those people don’t watch. To me, this is not a “show”, this is the actual “thing”. It’s life, in front of your eyes, and it can’t be more real.

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Chinese and English, Part 2

For people who appreciate the beauties of the Chinese and English languages, trust me, you are gonna LOVE these:

Fruit
Welcome sign
Shop sign
Hotel light panel

小心碰头
咖啡,茶,热奶
Guangdong hotel sign
Elevator sign

Park plant

There are a lot more at this site and I didn’t have time to see all of them. You can go check them out yourself and let me know if there are better ones.

Hope it lightens up your day, because it sure did for mine!

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Artistic Sandwiches

Don’t try it at home… it could take hours…

Cucumber Mouse Sandwich

Check out more of this art here. You could get hungry… for more.