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3 Weeks Outside the Bubble

August 26th, 2011

So, as you’ve seen in my last ranty, somewhat pessimistic post, I was in San Diego for 3 weeks at a summer camp thing. This post will (hopefully) be about the good parts of it, instead of the pain of returning, as my last post was.

The official purpose of the camp was to take a class for 3 weeks. Mine was the Principles of Macroeconomics. My first choice was psychology, which is really interesting, but it was full, so my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to learn some basics of econ, as it is useful in the real world. The actual class wasn’t the main focus, though. We learned some things in the class, nothing too advanced, though it wasn’t stupidly easy either, since you have to be of decent intelligence to get into the camp. The teacher was okay, though not totally into it because she was getting married in a week.

We also had a few field trips for the class that really had nothing to do with econ, it was just an excuse to go out. One was to the (nude) beach which was a 20 minute walk from campus, one was to Balboa Park, where we pretty much sat on a lawn for a day, and one was to the Federal Reserve in downtown LA, which meant 4 hours of driving for a 30 minute tour. We got a bag of shredded money as a souvenir, at least.

But yeah, the main point, at least to me, was meeting all the people there. I don’t want to rant about the lack of diversity in Arcadia, since I’ve done plenty of that, so I’ll just mainly talk about the awesomeness of  the people at UCSD. The camp consisted of about 400 people, and we took up the whole Tioga Hall dorm building, which is 10 floors. On each floor, there were 2 suites, one on each side, with about 20 people. There was one residential adviser for each suite, who was responsible for uniting us, and our RA did a good job of that.

There was a lot of diversity (gasp) in our suite, with about equal amounts of Asians, Caucasians, and Hispanics. And the great thing was that all of these people were all incredibly cool. Both in personality, and in interestingness. No offense to Arcadians, but this type of interestingness is extremely rare in Arcadia, where academic pressure controls society. I was truly glad to have met all of the people in my suite, both for the view of the outside world, and just having fun.

I give up on trying to write this post as a coherent essay thing, so I’ll just go by categories of random events and stuff I remember.


First Serious Suite Meeting

So, we had a few meetings just to get to know each other and stuff, and then we had our first serious meeting, which was supposed to be about “hopes and fears.” Our RA started off by setting the tone with his life story, about how his abusive childhood led him to not be able to really trust people, how he fears he will stay this way, and how he hopes he will be able to change. This was followed by a few people, including me, with more tame topics, such as being afraid of not know what to do in life, etc.

Then, a few of the guys from bad neighborhoods shared their experiences. We always complain about affirmative action and how people from bad cities get advantages in college apps, but after listening to them, I think many of them absolutely deserve the advantage, and the opportunity to go to college. Those guys in my suite went through a lot, and have a lot more moral fiber and actual desire in life than pretty much anyone in Arcadia.

This story will have nothing close to the impact that it had then, with the person actually telling it, but the most memorable story was told by one of these guys, from a bad neighborhood, a bad household. He told us about how he knows that he is capable of doing well in school (and he is, all of us knew he was smart), but just wasn’t able to due to the circumstances. Everyday when he came home from school, he had no time to do his homework, as he had to prevent his dad from beating him and his mom.  The peak of this was a fight where his dad swung at him with a baseball bat, forcing him to stab his dad with a kitchen knife until he stopped.

He also apologized for lying to one of our other suite members. Apparently, he had said he didn’t want to swim because he was afraid of water, dating back to when he had almost drowned in a river as a child. The truth was that he had not drowned in a river, but had been thrown into a bathtub by his dad, nearly dying. Since then, even taking a shower triggers his fear of water.

Despite all this though, he still persisted in his attempt to go to college, the first in his family to do so. He wanted to go not just for himself but to make his mom proud and be able to help her out (a thought echoed by more than one person). Circumstances had gotten a little bit better recently, leading to much better grades, and election as student council president. He hopes to continue this success in college and beyond, which I have no doubt he will do.

Again, my telling of this does no justice to hearing it live that night, where it really hit everyone deeply, and in my opinion, brought our suite really close together right from the beginning.



So yeah, cafeteria food supposedly really sucks, but the food at UCSD wasn’t that bad. We had meal cards which worked 3 times a day, though I usually skipped breakfast. Everyday, there was pizza, pasta, salad, sandwiches, and some special dish of the day. I pretty much had pizza and pasta for two meals a day, everyday, and occasionally the dish of the day, if it was good. The highlight was one day where they served prime rib, which was surprisingly good. The lemonade constantly altered in color, from yellow to clear to milky white, but for lack of a better option, I had that pretty much everyday.


First Dance

So yeah, we had 3 dances at the camp, one every Friday. And yeah, these dances are nothing like the traditional ones, I had a very hard time explaining to my parents how people dance nowadays. I actually expected something more traditional too, where there’s a dance floor, you ask a girl to dance,  you take her hand then kind of move around, like everyone around you. My parents were expecting line dancing or disco.

Turns out dancing is nothing like that. The music is loud, blaring, techno-y music, (Sample: and people don’t move with any organization at all, pretty much just jumping around to the beat, or if they are good, jumping around to the beat while doing cool, fancy, dance steps. Our first two dances were inside the dorms, so people were just packed into the lounge, sweaty, and jumping on top of each other. Also, for the people who stopped jumping around to ask a girl to dance, the male/female dances are nothing like any of the dances you’ll see in movies. “Dancing with a girl” was interpreted as grinding. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. My dad did.

I pretty much spent the duration of the first dance observing, while attempting to not get sqaushed. Not very eventful, but we’ll have more on dancing later.



There were lots of activities scheduled, so naturally, I went to many of the sports. I played a lot of basketball, and some football, and with the intensity of the games, it was a lot more exercise than I had gotten in a long time. It was fun, and I was happy to see that I was at least decent in these sports games. Arcadia P.E. doesn’t really provide an accurate gauge of one’s athletic skill.


Harry Potter Movie

This was an optional field trip, but pretty much the entire camp signed up. We took a 20 minute walk, and took up a whole theater. The crowd was quite into the movie, which was interesting at first, but annoying after a while.

(Dragon kills goblins)


(Spell hits someone)


(Character says somewhat witty line)


(Ron and Hermione kiss)

*Standing ovation*


Baseball Game

I find baseball to a relatively boring sport, but usually I still enjoy the occasional Dodger game my family goes to, because the weather at night is nice, and there’s an occasional interesting moment. This was not the case at the game we went to however, as it was in the afternoon, giving me a serious sunburn, and the teams both sucked at hitting, meaning nothing of interest happened.


Politics/other discussions

I think I’ve said before that I was happy that people outside of Arcadia seemed much more willing/able to discuss political/moral issues. Because of how comfortable our suite was with each other, we were able to have some really interesting conversations. 2 atheists, 2 Christians, and a Muslim being able to have a logical, reasonable conversation with each other about controversial issues is not something that happens very often, in Arcadia, or anywhere for that matter (Turn on any 24 hour news network for radicals from both sides yelling at each other). We were able to understand each others’ views on issues and reach some common ground even on issues like the purpose of religion and abortion (We knew abortion is possibly one of the most touchy subjects possible, so we didn’t stay on it for long, but even then, it was a good discussion).

I’ve heard this kind of thing happens a lot in college, I really hope so.



As I’ve said many times, the people in my suite were awesome. The people in the other suite on our floor were cool too, and we would play cards or whatever with them a lot. In our suite, we had a lot of avid chess players, so that was fun. I hadn’t played since chess club in 6th grade at FA, but I did okay.


Drunk College Girls

This was an interesting incident…At 11:30 one night (Lights out are supposed to be at 11, but as long as you’re in your room, you can do whatever) we were screwing around, showing each other youtube videos, etc. when we heard a loud knocking on our suite door. Me and my roomates happened to be the first ones out there, and we say that there were multiple girls yelling and knocking on our door. One of my roomates decided that it would be a good idea to open it.

At first, I thought maybe these girls had arranged a date with some of the guys in our suite. I was proven wrong quite quickly though, as it was clear these girls were not our age, and were on some type of drug. They ran around, screaming and laughing, yelling about how they used to be in this dorm, gladly shrieking about who had sex in which room, and how the wall had been “ejaculated all over.” They then ran up to one of the guys in my suite, bit his nipple, and ran out back to the elevator, still severely under the influence of the aforementioned unknown drug.

Our RA was mysteriously missing until 30 minutes later (Our conspiracy theories ranged from him partying with the other RA’s, to him being the one who sent those girls up, because he was mad at us), and needless to say, all of us had trouble going  back to sleep after this.


Missing Home

Or lack of, rather. I guess I just enjoyed it so much that I didn’t really feel at any time that I really wanted to be at home. An interesting thing was that, when my family called in the middle of the 3 weeks, my attempt to speak Cantonese to my grandma was filled with fail. My Cantonese skills are not that great, and I guess after a short time of disuse, my tongue became really unfamiliar with speaking it.



UCSD campus was pretty nice, though we weren’t really staying in the good part. A lot of our area was filled with concrete, though the nice surroundings were still somewhat visible. We went to the Price Center a few times, which is a plaza thing with the bookstore, and a bunch of restaurants. On our walk to the beach, we saw some of the nicer parts of the campus.


Last Dance

As I said before, the first two dances were in our dorms, which wasn’t a great idea, as everyone was crammed together. I left the second dance quite early due to the high body temperature humidity and not wanting to be crushed. Our final dance however, on the last full day of school, was in the campus pub. The bar was closed off to us, but there was a dance floor, complete with flashing lights and a DJ. Since after the next day, there was a good chance we wouldn’t see each other again, many people, me included, wanted to take this opportunity and make something happen at the dance. On of my suite mates, who previously had gotten super hyper and crazy from one Mountain Dew, drank two of them as well as a 5 Hour Energy right before the dance, to get himself in the mood.

At the beginning, a lot of us weren’t that involved, trying fruitlessly to tell each other to go into the dance floor. As the dance progressed a bit though, more people came, and more people began to get involved. The dance was originally supposed to be from 7:30 to 9:30, but the ending was moved back to 11, drawing cheers from the crowd.

I began to get involved with the dancing, and it was actually quite fun. A lot of it was just being in a circle with guys that you knew, along with some girls who decided to join, and just jumping around and having fun. It helped that my roomate was a good dancer, so we could imitate him if totally confused. I spent much of the night having fun like this, dancing to the different songs and stuff. However, as the night neared its end, I still had not asked a girl to dance, something which I had set my mind out to do that night.

It would be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable to post the details of what happened next publicly, but  eventually, near the end of the dance, with some help,  I did dance with a girl. Yeah.



 That night, after the dance, we went back to our suite. Lights out weren’t enforced that night, so we stayed up until 2:30 in our suite, just talking about whatever. After saying difficult goodbyes, I crammed everything into my luggage and bags in preparation for going back to reality.



August Advent Calendar — Week 3: Doesn’t Backdating Everything Kind Of Defeat The Purpose?

August 26th, 2011

Monday, August 15

Lots of stuff going on. It’s my final week at work. Got presentations and crap, yet my work isn’t finished yet (to my satisfaction).

Oh yeah, I got my hands on a backup server located in San Jose, since my Texas server fails so often. And this server is… OMG, amazing.

root@altair:~# wget -O /dev/null
--2011-08-16 04:10:09--
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 104857600 (100M) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: `/dev/null'

100%[====================================================>] 104,857,600 45.9M/s   in 2.2s    

2011-08-16 04:10:11 (45.9 MB/s) - `/dev/null' saved [104857600/104857600]

That’s 400Mbps speed right there! And right now it’s about 5PM, pretty close to prime time. The speeds aren’t going down as I test more! Actually, it just got faster. It just did 56MB/s; that’s 500Mbps right there! I am in awe.

And what’s more amazing is the disk speed…

root@altair:~# dd if=/dev/zero of=testfile bs=4k count=256k
262144+0 records in
262144+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 3.23105 s, 332 MB/s

That’s… stunning.

Today: Ichiban for lunch in La Canada (or is it Pasadena). Amazingly cheap Japanese food. It was like, what, $7 or 8 for a 3-combination bento box!

Couldn’t make it to the Crawdads baseball game and dinner today.

Tuesday, August 16

That post up there was not backdated! Amazing, no?

I actually have a detailed calendar of this week, because I actually maintained my Google Calendar. So these next few posts are only psudo-backdated.

Today was lunch with my Tuesday lunch crew, and then left for Apache Days.

Got there just as the doors were closing. Quite a lot of good exercise there, with all that sprinting. Ran into Justin (and, later, Alfred and Rose) amongst other friendly faces.

I made a fatal math mistake, forgetting to subtotal the graduation and grad night fees, so the check my dad wrote wasn’t enough. Luckily they told me I could pay this later at the ASB office.

It kind of doesn’t make sense that you have to pay $135 in order to graduate, but whatever.

The PTSA desk lady refused to stamp my sheet, trying endlessly to guilt me into donating $5. Damn Asian saleswomen. She seriously wouldn’t let me go, even though I told her I owed $135 and really didn’t have any money on me.

On another note, PTSA probably hauled in a huge load of money this year due to her. I applaud.

Justin followed me home to my house and proceeded to watch YouTube videos of people playing games. I told him to make sure I did work (was writing my draft), and somehow magically I managed to do more work that I usually would.

Maybe I should let Justin come over more often.

Wednesday, August 17

Much work was done regarding my final presentation this afternoon.

Many private legal issues were turned over in my head until both sides were well-done. As a result, my brain was cooked.

Thursday, August 18

Final presentation of my internship. My group supervisor came by, and he liked it. We had an invigorating chat. It felt great. The private legal issues were still being lightly sauteed in my mind.

Late afternoon: Spanish lessons at my job in Methodist Hospital! My amigo treated me to onion rings (anillos de sebollas — para llevar por favor!). The onion rings that the chef makes in the hospital cafeteria are brilliant (although all he does is deep fry them — maybe it’s something about the oil that makes them particularly tasty).

Important words to remember for my next impromptu Spanish lesson:

perdon – sorry, excuse me
¿que me dijste?
– what did you say?
¿que quiere decir (esto)
? – what does (this) mean
¿que quiere decir
? – what do you mean?
¿como se dice (esto)
? – how do you say (this)
no se – I don’t know.

I have horrible memory (especially regarding names), so the only reason I remember these is because I put them down on a notecard.

On a side note, I love those inverted question marks.

Friday, August 19

Final day of JPL internship. Private frying pan stuff, mostly. Ran around the entire campus; HR, education office, Office of General Counsel, Ethics Office — it’s like a tour on my final day.

Private frying pan stuff stressed my mom out. I tend not to get stressed out by stuff these days. Or maybe I just don’t feel like I’m stressed, but subconsciously I really am.

Saturday, August 20

Summer BBQ Bash at my JPL mentor’s house. I babysat my little brother in the swimming pool, mostly. Played pingpong, threat was dripping down my chin. It felt good. I need sunglasses for these situations.

The food tasted good, but on Sunday I had diarrhea so…

Sunday, August 21

Verbatim from my calendar:

9-10am: wake. That’s the most spectacular part of my day. I WOKE! And on top of that, before noon! And, as if that still weren’t enough, I was able to wake at 9am!

10-10:30am: week 4 day 2 of the 100 Pushups program. I think by this point I was up to about 150 pushups per day (exceeding my mom’s requirements). It still hasn’t become a full-on habit yet. I can do about 30 to 50 pushups in a row. Somehow I still don’t look buff or anything.

Although I can’t really imagine myself with highly developed pectorals.

10:30-11am: call Cindy RE:JVLG. That’s right, I wasn’t really sure if there was a meeting today, but I couldn’t find Cindy’s number. I ended up embarassingly late to the meeting. Embarassing!

10:30-11:30am: write all backdated August Miniposts. Hur hur… (this is being written on August 26th).

11:30-12:30pm: Lunch. Okay, following my calendar verbatim gets uninteresting from here on.

My afternoon was spent at the Junior Volunteer Leadership Group meeting for Methodist Hospital. Nothing too remarkable.

I was planning on seeing the counselors on Monday (both for the Stanford issue and my research competition forms), but I fell asleep or otherwise was incapacitated and unable to complete the forms. In addition, I overslept on Monday.

Remaining time before school starts: 1 week.

August Advent Calendar – Week 2: Nobody Really Cares About Your Impressive Powerpoint Anyways So Just Make the Name Sound Cool

August 25th, 2011

Haaaaaiiii, we’re back this week with seven more short and sweet miniposts! Moral of the week: don’t be a perfectionist! Work is like watching anime: ya gotta know when enough is enough. Somehow that analogy strikes me as extremely amusing.

Week 12– Monday August 8 to Sunday August 14

Monday, August 8

(Shamelessly backdated.) Hurriedly fixing up my presentation. I hate OpenOffice — why must it be so compatible with Word? That’s not the right way to win over users. Anyways, Impress (the OpenOffice version of PowerPoint) refuses to deal with math and equations. This makes no sense, as Writer (or whatever Office’s Word is called in OpenOffice) does support equations. Badly, admittingly. My equations in Word are always corrupted in Writer, and even when I create them in Writer they look butt-ugly.

tl;dr – Busy day; billion zillion presentations.

Tuesday, August 9

Uhh, I really don’t remember. I had lunch somewhere, went for a good drive or something.

Wednesday, August 10

Don’t expect me to remember all these things that happened half a month ago!

Oh, that’s right, I was supposed to get beat up and have my confidence in my mathematical abilities decimated by a professor who insists on being considered a colleague despite our age difference being wider than the Atlantic. Well, my math confidence has always been in pieces anyways. I mean, after seeing all those mathematical monsters at contests like ARML and such, and of course USPT, and not even doing so well in my very own local Arcadia Math Team.

Thursday, August 11

Worked on patent. I think. Funny how my hopeful mailing-out date keeps drifting farther and farther down the river.

Friday, August 12

Planning on adding a backup server after the horrible outage on Tuesday. The Leafwood Network shall grow!

Happy birthday k!

Saturday, August 13

I finally post last week’s August Advent Calendar post.

Sunday, August 14

I seriously don’t know. Probably a family day, maybe a few outings. Precious times.


August 23rd, 2011

I don’t feel that I owe anyone an explanation, but I really dislike misconceptions. There’s a chance that over the course of this post, I might have my own misconceptions about other peoples’ misconceptions, but this is the best I can draw from what I’ve observed.

I’m kind of guessing here, but there seems to be a misconception that deep down, I really, really want to go to Stanford, that it’s this innocent, pure childhood dream that is being suppressed by shadowy, corrupting forces, or something like that. Let me assure you that that is not the case. The idea that I am being influenced by Arcadian powers, Asian parents, tutoring schools, peers, or other pressures in that vein to abandon my own true, personal desire of attending Stanford is wrong. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth.

It is probably these Arcadian pressures that influenced me to want to go to Stanford in the first place. As a child, you are more pure, so it may seem that thoughts from this time should reflect the truth. But this childhood purity also means ignorance, ignorance of the world around and of one’s own feelings. When delving into concepts that are somewhat beyond a child’s scope, such as college choice, the child largely relies on what he/she knows, from their surroundings.

As a child, my view of the college world could only be drawn from the atmosphere around me, and as such, it was limited to the typical Arcadian view. The stereotypical Asian parent’s knowledge of colleges (Ivy Leagues, Stanford, Caltech, MIT, UC’s, Cal States, PCC) became my only knowledge of the subject. With this restricted scope, it seemed to me, as a child, that Stanford or Caltech was the best choice; both were schools with very good academics, and were in California. Caltech had the advantage of being especially close, while Stanford had athletics in addition to academics.

As I’ve gotten older, and actually gained my own knowledge of both colleges and of my own desires, I’ve come to realize that my childhood ideas were quite foolish. There are obviously, many other fine institutions across the country other than the ones that I had heard of in the 2nd grade. Now, proximity to home isn’t that important to me, if anything, I want to be farther away, to experience something different. Caltech is far too close to even consider. Stanford is a bit farther, but as it is still in California, it’s location, which was such a big advantage when I was a child, is now to me a neutral factor at best.

As for the outside influences, I fail to see how if I chose to go along with all the aforementioned pressures, I would not want to apply to Stanford. In Arcadia, Stanford is pretty much the top of the top, the collective dream school of the city. It’s one of the top schools in the nation, not only in academic quality, but in name-brand recognition. It’s location also is a huge plus for the many students and parents who wish for a California school. 122 students have applied to Stanford over the last 3 years. I think that that’s more than any other private school with the exception of USC, which Arcadia High is a huge feeder school to.

Stanford is one of the hardest schools to be accepted to in the nation. Still, it far outclasses the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Cornell, Duke, even Harvard in the number of AHS applicants. Students, and by extension, their parents, see Stanford as the ideal top goal of college applications. An application sent to Stanford is a normal part of the Arcadian application process. Even for those with the longest of long shots of getting in, Stanford is a target, because they feel that they might as well give a wild shot to the undisputed collective dream school. If the pressures and expectations of my surroundings were what I was basing my choice of colleges to apply to on, you guys would not have had to do any convincing at all for me to mail an app to Palo Alto.

Stanford is no doubt a great school, in terms of academic prestige, and from what I gather, the intellectual environment.  But it is not my dream school. For me, I don’t really have a dream school, in the way that adults looking to make conversation would like to imagine I do. There is no one academic institution that I would like to go to above all the rest, which I have all my desires pinned on, that I imagine myself at daily. There are a few schools that I think are very good places of learning, where I can see myself enjoying 4 years. I am applying to them and would be very happy to get into any of them. Stanford prides itself on its students being accomplished not just in the classroom, but outside of it, and it’s campus packed with overachievers, national medalists from all fields is not an ideal fit for me that puts it above the other schools. If I had to pick a first choice, a mandated dream school for me, Stanford is not it.

Okay, so Stanford is not an idealistic dream for me, nor is it even one of my first few choices. But still, why isn’t it on my list of schools that I think are academically superior, that I would be happy to get into? Now we get into the issue of getting in. Before I start, let me pre-emptively counter those arguments that I have a strong feeling of coming, about me being negative and needing to believe in myself. This isn’t about doubting myself, my own intellectual ability. How intelligent of capable I think I am is not the issue in question here. This is about what the college admissions officers think of my college app.

As I said earlier, over the last 3 years, 122 AHS students have applied to Stanford. 9 have been accepted. On average, about 3/40 every year. I know that averages don’t always work out, and that sometimes things can happen, but assuming that most of the top students apply to Stanford (along with Harvard, Princeton, etc.), even looking at it as inclusively as possible, you would have to be in about the top 10 of all AHS applicants in your year to even have a shot.

Again, this isn’t about what I think of myself. Am I in the top 10 most intelligent/competent people in our graduating class? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a question that is nearly impossible for anyone to answer. But is my college application one of the top 10 in our graduating class? No.

If you still can’t accept that I have virtually no chance of getting accepted into Stanford for undergraduate studies, then I guess you can just go with the idea that I think I’ll be happier elsewhere.

August Advent Calendar – Week 1

August 13th, 2011

August has come — school is starting again in the blink of an eye! As this sad date advances closer and closer, we are filled with more and more regret for the things we could not do in the summer. Thus, to compensate and cheer us all up, I decided to hold a sort of Advent Calendar. No, you don’t get chocolates, or virtual items for your Neopets, or toys. I have something better :)

Each day of August, you get a brand-spankin’ new mini-post! (Disclaimer: mini-post can consist of as few as one sentence.) I’ll stop blabbing here; let’s get this party started!

Week 1 – Monday August 1 to Sunday August 7

Monday, August 1

(By the way, I am backdating this minipost. Hee hee… yes, I am cheating.) The Common App launched today, and I haven’t even bothered to think about it. I had a dumpling party yesterday with Vincent, Mr. Zhang, Lucy, and Sue (and various parents). Originally I just invited Mr. Zhang, Vincent, and his dad, since it was supposed to be a little private get-together to celebrate Vincent’s departure as he would be moving permanently to Boston. Lively party was interesting to me (and I usually don’t find social functions interesting), but my parents thought that everybody’s parents kept talking about pointless things and making stupid arguments about stuff that nobody cares about. True, I guess. Vincent’s dad was different from what I expected. He disciplined Vincent well, as I expected, but he didn’t feel as oriented as Vincent. Something I talked about with my parents — why would he follow his son all the way to Boston? It’s like he didn’t care at all about his own life and dedicated everything he did to Vincent. In fact he outright affirmed that, making a splendid metaphor to how he was the first-stage rocket of the spacecraft known as Vincent. I suppose Harvard or somebody he meets there would become his second stage, propelling him furthermore on his journey to the stars.

Today Simon, one of the senior interns under my mentor here at JPL, came back finally from his school. Yes, it is around the end of his internship already, haha. Anyways, to celebrate, we went to this severely overpriced restaurant in Old Town Pasadena (or at least I think that’s Old Town) called Gyu-Kaku. I don’t know why white people like Asian food so much, but they do apparently. It was pretty good, but for the cheap $10 value meal thing I ordered, they barely gave anything. It’s a Yakiniku restaurant, and I think this is the first time I’ve been to one. It’s like a hotpot restaurant, except it’s not a hotpot, it’s a grill-thing. They give you meat, you cook it. What I thought was pretty interesting was the spinach they included in the value meal (because spinach = value!). Yes, it was just spinach. Raw spinach. Anyways, they wrapped it in aluminum foil with a few slices of garlic for you to, uh, toss on the grill (read: “cook”), and it was pretty good.

And yeah… crap happened in June and July, but meh. I’ll backdate a few posts to talk about important stuff, of course. Like Stanford. Oh yeah. Still need to write that post…

Have I mentioned that the Common App came out today? And I still haven’t started?

Tuesday, August 2

(Also backdated.) I had lunch with Zack today, where I failed a physics problem. After chatting about Zack’s cruise, the hot Russian grade-skipping genius college chick he met, how he stole her from her boyfriend, and how that made him totally cool, we were talking about the softball game I was going to play tomorrow (Wednesday). Of course, I have absolutely no athletic talent — even less than my artistic talent.

Wednesday, August 3

(Hey, guess what, it’s backdated.) Highlight of the day was my softball game. I was catcher, and I was completely clueless so I didn’t know to call foul or fair. Yet, everybody still helped me and said kind things, gave helpful advice. It feels great to be part of a team.

Thursday, August 4

(I’m serious, I intended to start this, but Thursday’s minipost is also backdated.) Today I met with the most important lawyer in all of JPL/CalTech. Considering lawyers charge like $500 per hour, and I got a half hour with him, that’s a nice $250 worth of legal counsel there.

It turns out he was actually a patent lawyer in his previous job for a big aerospace company. How brilliantly convenient!

Friday, August 5

I liked this quote from the Official Google Blog about startups:

We’re a small, close-knit group of friends that spend most of our time huddled in a room making decisions on the spot and moving fast to launch a product in a matter of months.

Here are the results of today’s productivity:

I love making post-it art. The things that end up coming out of my pen are always so random though. And yes, of course, my artistic capabilities are not quite proficient.

Saturday, August 6

(This is backdated again — I didn’t get to finish writing my other backdated posts so more stuff got pushed back.) My presentation yesterday got cancelled. But now I have to work on my presentation and paper instead of enjoying my weekend. Mwahh.

Ended up goofing off most of the day. Who would have expected.

Pic somewhat related. Somewhat.

Sunday, August 7

(Backdated.) This is one of those rare days when I was able to make myself do work. I feel so accomplished — wrote a huge huuuge detailed PowerPoint and came up with some key concepts to emphasize. Unfortunately I couldn’t write much of my paper.