Archive for the ‘Chinese’ category

Nightmare before Christmas (on December 15th)

October 27th, 2011

Naively, I thought that after I finished applying early to a certain East Coast academic institution, the rest of my senior year would be a thrilling downhill ride that I would breathtakingly enjoy every scenic moment of. Well, breathtaking, yes, but not quite scenic, and definitely not enjoyable.

First of all, yes, I do need to also apply to a certain West Coast academic institution that I fell in love with this summer. I’m evidently quite tired of college apps, so I’ll put that off at least for a week or two. I still have competitions — Intel STS is going to be fun, especially — and I plan to put a lot of time into studying physics and seriously aiming for IPhO ’12 as US Team. Also, yes, I plan to miraculously jump from AIME to Red MOSP (pronounced “mop”), and that is going to take some serious mathematical work. Studying for competitions is actually quite fun (especially in comparison with college essays). Math competitions have been a frustrating area for me since freshman year, but that’s why I want to put in a final spurt. Unfortunately USAMTS conflicted with my early app this year, so I’m not participating and aiming for a gold (after all these consecutive years of silver and coming so close to gold… sigh). But yes, nationally speaking, I am quite dumb at math.

For the near future I guess I’ll review the Lagrangian and attempt to teach it to physics team — the Lagrangian is fun and I expect it to be fun to teach. Oh, but I guess not all of them know calculus.

My overbooking is especially apparent looking at my calendar (which I’d love to post a screenshot of, but no), it’s almost like one of those strange works of modern art that go in every direction with all these abstract arrangements of color and shape. Well, I appreciate my calendar, and I’ve become a bit better at following it (just a bit). I’ve gotten into the habit of entering my sleep times in there too. Later on in senior year I’ll have fun reminiscing on how little I slept.

Just to put it out there, yes, I am writing this blog post in lieu of working on my Chaucer essay. Also, I love my APENG teacher. I’d like the class if it wasn’t first period, but hopefully caffeine supplements will be able to remedy that.

My seat partner in English, Kenny, has been very good to me (despite my frequent sick leave — bad immune system, it’s true). In the last few days we’ve been discussing Asian music, and I’ve found I really don’t know much about Asian music, even J-Pop. It’s because I’m too contrarian, of course, but I definitely felt I needed to get out there and explore mainstream J-Pop and Mandarin music. I’m Chinese, after all.

I haven’t been following anime at all during the month of my college application internment. Coincidentally, Fall 2011 has many series that I thought I would be very eager to see, but now that I have had time available to watch anime, I find that I’ve only been keeping up with the series I’ve been watching previously (Beelzebub, Fairy Tail pretty much). Looking back at Shana, I don’t really want to watch Shana III (and that movie has been sitting on my hard disk somewhere, too). Mirai Nikki is great (beyond great, loved every page of the manga) but I feel absolutely no compulsion to watch it. In fact, I feel no compulsion to watch any new series, and I only forced myself to watch Fate/zero because… well, it’s Fate/zero and by all accounts THE anime of the season. Oh, it was epic all right, but I don’t feel eager to watch the next episode. For some reason, I don’t feel eager to watch anime. I guess it’s what a month without anime does to you.

So yes, I’ve only watched one episode of one series of Fall ’11 strangely, considering how many non-dumb stories this season has. By request, I’ll check out Guilty Crown soon.

Not watching anime has definitely freed up a lot of time, but somehow I still feel much busier. Most of the work is AP Mandarin, which I think I somehow still have an A- in despite my utter failure in every realm. I think I’m really learning a lot in this class, though, and I hope I can read 95% of a newspaper by the time I get out of high school. Still, I don’t feel AP Mandarin is really worth the effort, and I’m afraid college adcoms will frown on me for being Chinese and “taking the easy route” by taking Chinese in school. In this regard, I truly should have gone for French or Spanish (both languages I am very interested in anyways). Japanese would also be easy and fun.

I’ve picked up trying to read Japanese light novels again. After giving up reading untranslated manga. It’s just too difficult trying to look up words you don’t know. In light novels on the computer, all I need is a mouse-over or middle-click, and my definition is right there (courtesy of Yomichan or Rikaichan or any other member of this inordinate family of tools with -chan inexplicably tacked on). One more click, and a flash card of the word is added to my flashcard deck on my computer (I worshipped Anki).

Speaking of which, I haven’t had a chance to add AP Mandarin words to my Anki deck that I haven’t reviewed in half a year. Anki was even convenient for learning physics — it was quite useful memorizing facts and formulae for my physics competitions back in the day. I have a server set up to host the LaTeX notation rasterized into PNG files, and I can review my flashcards from anywhere on the globe with a web browser, or the awesome Anki Android app on my phone. So yes, I am plugging Anki for all your memorization needs. I have a cool Needs Statements flashcard deck with Precalc/Calc A and Calculus BC versions, if anyone wants. With really cool LaTeXed math notation, and word-for-word from the Needs Statement sheets. Ahhh, calculus feels so nostalgic. I also have my Mandarin 4 deck, but they changed the textbooks after my year.

With all this language-learning, physics, math, college applications, research, and much miscellaneous matter, I haven’t had a time to code, work on projects, and fix up my Linux servers. I need to put Altair to good use as my backup mail server. This summer I put lighttpd on Altair (Reverie has Apache2), and — by god — the performance is astounding! I have a fully-functional web server on maybe 30MB of RAM with Debian 6. I put nginx for Windows on Mizu (pretty much just used to host my flashcard media), and it’s been a snap to use as well. Apache is definitely going out of business. Well, I guess it’s open source, so that’s technically not possible.

Yes, I did set up FCGI on Apache (and suexec since I plan on doing shared hosting). Messing with Apache is not fun. PHP loads a lot slower than mod_php, but I can squeeze a lot more httpd processes out of my precious RAM. I wish people wouldn’t spam, so I wouldn’t have to run spamd. It eats like >70MB whether there is mail or not. It’s been great at blocking spam though, and I have it configured to automatically delete mail with a spam score over 15. It pained me incredibly, but recently I added the Spamcop and XBL blacklists to my Postfix configuration. I don’t like blacklists, but the spam volume annoys me. I purposely held off on the PBL list, because I am in support of people running private mail servers on their home ISP networks. I remember when I was running my copy of hmailserver on my Windows box through a crappy AT&T (those are synonyms, I checked the thesaurus) DSL line. Haha, good times. Fellow computer enthusiasts for the win!

My east coast college’s interview is coming up as well. I’ve been increasingly noticing the unpleasant, slightly nasal quality of my voice. Besides generally improving my speaking skills, I really need to train myself to not make that noise. From what I’ve read online, the key to getting rid of the nasal quality is to act like you’re about to yawn when you talk. The reason for the nasally noise is because the soft palate is not completely blocking the path to the nose, so some the sound from your vocal cords also passes into and reverberates through the nasal cavity. And when you yawn (and you can feel it yourself), your soft palate completely closes the passage to the nose so this problem is solved. I know close to nothing about anatomy, but this makes a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately, making sense does not make it any easier to put this into practice…

I’m thinking of getting this book or this from Amazon. The reviews are very laudatory, of course. Speech tutors/therapists must be expensive.

Rather than doing nothing but waiting for the nightmarish announcement coming on December 15th (and groundlessly hoping/praying for a fat envelope), I’m up to my nose.

I’ve spent too long ranting. Time to get back to work on that essay.

Edit: Amusingly, this blog post is longer than my essay.

Protected: AP Mandarin Biography

August 31st, 2011

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Two Weeks in China: Summary

August 22nd, 2010

今天开始我要每天把我去中国这夏天的记录写下来一部份,主要为未来给自己看,也让我多练练我的中文。 当然,也是给我博客念念的。 每一篇写完以后,我会把这篇链接上去。

Starting from today, I will be blogging about my experiences in China for two weeks during the summer of 2010. This is mainly for personal record, but it’s also a way to make myself practice writing in Chinese. Of course, my blog visitors are also welcome to read my cogitations.
















August 5th (Thursday) — Departure from Los Angeles

August 6th (Friday) — Arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, arrival at Baodi, Tianjin

August 7th (Saturday) — Baodi, staying with father’s family

August 8th (Sunday) — Baodi, arrival at Beijing, visit mother’s uncles and aunts, stay at granduncle’s house

August 9th (Monday) — Beijing, stay at mother’s college friend’s gorgeous Beijing house

August 10th (Tuesday) — Beijing, play with college friend’s daughters, swimming, ice skating, dinner with more of mother’s classmates

August 11th (Wednesday) — Beijing, accompany mother for business, go to Tiantan for sightseeing

August 12th (Thursday) — Beijing, flight to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, 4 people cohabiting hotel room, go to big dinner with mother’s classmates, meet their children

August 13th (Friday) — Shanghai World EXPO 2010

August 14th (Saturday) — Shanghai, strolling the famous streets, shopping, visiting attractions, boat ride and view of Shanghai nightscape

August 15th (Sunday) — Shanghai, stay in hotel all day, then shopping and dinner in nearby mall

August 16th (Monday) — Shanghai, take train to Hangzhou, meet with my grandfather’s relations, visit Hangzhou attractions, meet my 30-year-old nephew/nieces, dinner, sleep in grandfather’s brother’s daughter’s son’s house

August 17th (Tuesday) — Hangzhou, visit more scenic tourist attractions, meet and lunch with mother’s friend, take train back to Shanghai

August 18th (Wednesday) — Shanghai, shopping and subway-riding and convenience-store sandwiches

August 19th (Thursday) — Shanghai, flight back to Los Angeles and illegal terrorist sandwiches


October 22nd, 2009

兩三年前吧,我跟我爸爸回北京,去看我們家人。 我所想為,我吃得最怪的東西是我在那家大北京餐館吃的青蛙。 好像還滿貴呢。 青蛙在水裡煮,加了一大堆辣椒。它是還在裡,那樣就直接給我們了。那一鍋裡有好幾十個。 我跟我爸一塊兒給青蛙差不多都吃掉了。 有點兒怪味兒,可是調料辣辣地,也不出來是什麼怪肉。

超電磁砲 :: railgun

October 2nd, 2009

Railguns are cool. The light novels are the epicest little things ever; too bad I’m still not capable of reading a Japanese light novel yet.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun / とある科学の超電磁砲 : ANN / Wiki / JP Wiki

Railguns : Wiki / JP Wiki / JP Wiki: Railguns in Fiction



chāo diàn cí pào :.:.: ちょうでんじぼう (choudenjibou)

超 	chāo		jump over, leap over; surpass
電 	diàn		electricity, electric; lightning
磁 	cí		magnetic; magnetism; porcelain
砲 	pào		gun, cannon
Intro and outro songs:


「only my railgun」
作詞 – 八木沼悟志/yuki-ka、作曲・編曲 – 八木沼悟志、歌 – fripSide


「Dear My Friend -まだ見ぬ未来へ-」

Ben’s Terrible Horrible No-good Very Bad Day

September 21st, 2009

It’s not like I actually have time to write about how much my life REALLY sucks, so I’ll just provide a short summary of today.

  1. Period 1 (Sophomore English Honors/Villalobos) – This class wasn’t that bad, except that we have to present on Thursday so I’ll be stressing out for four days instead of just one day.
  2. Period 2 (Sophomore P.E./O’Brian) – UGH! Mr. O’Brian (who is the coach of our school’s award-winning Cross Country team that places 3rd nationally, yes NATIONALLY) made us sprint a mile today.When I finished and finally arrived in the locker room, I had a horrible stomachache from sprinting so fast. (Protip: Don’t try hard in O’Brian, because your life sucks afterward, and Mr. O’Brian is going to expect more of you the next time.)
    I could barely get changed and leave the room (with my five-ton backpack and binder). Took me about five minutes (oh, and O’Brian already let us out five minutes late) of painful undressing and redressing. I just wanted to curl up in a fetal position and play dead.
  3. Passing Period – I decided that since there were only like 3 minutes left until the bell rang anyways, I would go to the Nurse’s office and lie down for 10 minutes and get an excuse for Period 3. However, when I came in and explained my situation to the nurse, she spoke to me sarcastically and with a mean, uncaring tone, simply told me I could have a cot.I felt unsafe since she didn’t promise to write me an excuse or anything, so after one minute I decided I should probably go to class (because it was Orchestra 3, after all).

    So, I sprinted across the entire campus in like 30 seconds.

  4. Period 3 (Orchestra 3/Forbes+England)  –  UUUGHHHHHHUUAAAARRGGHHHHLLLFFFTTT my stomach pain was unbearable at this point (and I did barely make it on time btw… somehow…), and I don’t know how I managed to find and get my violin. Afterwards, since NOBODY BOTHERED TO GET/SAVE A CHAIR FOR ME, I had to go get one myself and lift it over ten people’s heads before I found a spot to place it down. And then I got my violin out.

    And then Mr. Forbes and Mr. England came out, and in the end we didn’t need to get our violins out, and that they were reseating us today (when they told us they would do it tomorrow).

    So, while they gave the basses, celli, and violas their new seatings, I curled up on the big red chair that I didn’t need to haul across half the room and tried not to feel bad for myself.

    And then they told us the 2nd-violin seats.

    Guess what chair I got?

    Last chair? Well, no. Close. I got third-from-last chair, second violin.

    You know, “third-from-last chair” sounds really awkward. It makes so much more sense in, say, Chinese (“倒数第三”), literally “counting backwards, number three”.

  5. Period 4 (Pre-Calculus/Daniel) – By this time I stopped caring about anything worse that could happen. Maybe that made my stomach feel a little bit better. This class went without problems, and I made a bit of progress on USAMTS Round 1 Problem 1 too, during class (haha, yes, I almost never pay attention — I don’t need to anyways).
  6. Lunch – I didn’t finish my homework. That really sucks. That always sucks.
  7. Period 5 (Mandarin 4/Hung) –
    Mrs. Hung: Ok class, turn in your homework for this weekend!
    Me: … … ……….. there… was homework… over the weekend? … oh. shoot. I… completely forgot… *ZERO ON HOMEWORK*
    Mrs. Hung: Ok class, here are your tests back from Friday!
    Guess what I got?


    I was too dazed to pay attention to the lesson, so I can’t tell you anything more about what happened in this class. I guess the horrible day pretty much ended here though.

  8. Period 6 (AP Physics B/Zhang)  – Awesome class.
    It’s the ONLY AP Class I am taking.

    AND it’s the easiest class I have. Mr. Zhang is awesome and funny. Physics is easy to me. Just look at the test I got back today. 103%! *beams*

    Just for your information, the class average was like 60 or 70 percent or something. (Of course, an A in this class is 75% and above… I don’t really get that, but apparently it’s wholly necessary XD)

    Maybe I should start doing physics olympiads? Hahaha.

    Well, anyways, in Mr. Zhang’s class we also almost never have to do homework (well we’re supposed to, but I never bother because I know it all already). During class I don’t think he really cares if we’re doing something else either (although I try to only do AP Physics things in Physics, same in all my classes).

Some of you might have already had worse days this school year. Care to post and share your experiences?

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

September 16th, 2009

The second season of this anime will be airing Fall 2009, so I’m hurrying to finish the first season of this. (The first season anime was a Summer 2008 anime.)

Originally, I planned on alternating watching an episode in English, and then rewatching it in Chinese subtitles (to improve my Chinese skills), but since Haruka2 is coming so soon I guess I’ll just finish it all in English first.

Decoding Chinese fast enough to watch an anime is ridiculously hard.

Anyways, I need to rant about how fantastic this anime is.

First of all, the thematic presentation of the anime is very good. I admit, it’s not like, NHK-epic morals, but so far judging from the first 3 episodes, they are quite acceptable. (I mean, Shiro from Fate/stay night had morals that were just utterly stupid. Well I guess we’re kind of talking about something completely different here, but still. Good romance.)

Someone who would leave you or stop being your friend only because of your reputation… they are not true friends.

The pairing is very nice, and oh, I need to draw some parallels between Saku (from Summer09’s out-of-the-blue hit Sora no Manimani) and Yuuto-kun, the lead male in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. They look similar, first of all, but most importantly their personalities are nearly identical (except Saku has the additional trait of being a bookworm). This type of lead male is one of my favorites… perhaps because it is an image of me (or the person I would like to be/become)?

I mean, Tomoya is another example of a good lead male, but I cannot at all relate to him. My dad is not a drunk bum. I do not ditch classes every other day, and I get straight As (except English H). And… I don’t have five-to-ten girls chasing after me.

The other reason I love this anime is Nogizaka Mika. She is so loli and moe, it hurts. Why did such a mean dad raise two super-moe daughters? Haha.

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve had such an image-heavy post =D
You know, she kind of reminds me of a friend’s imouto, minus the um… moe/pretty part, and without the love ><

The maids are cool, too, and without a doubt, the characters that are going to be introduced in the near future are also going to be highly awesome.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, season two is going to be highly anticpated by me.

So many “season 2″s this season, eh? To Aru2, Inuyasha continuation (yeah I know huh)…

Um, no, we werent eavesdropping.

Um, no, we weren't eavesdropping.

Now that I think of it, Mika goes better with Yuuto-kun.

Now that I think of it, Mika goes better with Yuuto-kun.

» Read more: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu


September 9th, 2009

Practicing my Chinese composition skills. I love languages, and I need to write an awesome blog post about that too (yes, I have waaaay too many things on my “need to write an awesome blog post about” list).

啊啊啊, 我的中文不夠棒呀. 正在上我們學校的中文四級. 學的都是繁體字,所以我不特懂.

我想了想, 怎麼能讓自己特別特別想學中文呢? 呵呵呵, 還是看看有中文字幕的日本動畫吧!

現在太睏了, 明天在寫吧. 眼睛好疼呀, 帶著鏡片.

明天我要不要用日語寫網誌的文章把, 好不好? 每天都有個新樣兒.

– 嘉嘉