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Tue, Apr. 21st, 2009, 03:56 am
Yearly Update

Hm, it's been awhile since my last post. What's happened since then? Let's see... I bought and moved into the townhouse, my sister got married, 8PAST finished up our new songs before breaking up, I joined a new band called Drunken Hu, I took my first real vacation in well over a year with a trip to Taiwan.... nothing too big.

So why the post?  Pimping my band's upcoming shows, of course:

Thu, April 23 @ Red Devil Lounge, SF
Doors at 8, we go on at [EDIT: Later time] 10:30pm.  $10 at the door.

Mon, April 27th @ Rockit Room, no cover charge

Wed, April 29 @ Elbo Room, $6

I actually played my first show already with Drunken Hu, on April 7th, the day after I got back from Taiwan.  I was exhausted and suffering from a cold, but I played the hell out of the show before sleepwalking through the rest of the night.  I was lucky I managed to drive home safely afterwards. 

Tue, Jun. 17th, 2008, 02:16 am
In leiu of anything meaningful


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

My score looks like it's off the charts. What does that even mean?

Sun, Apr. 20th, 2008, 02:10 am
On the Road Again...

Well, at least, on the stage again. After 8 long months, we've finally got a drummer... Kinson is back, at least for this show on Wednesday at Red Devil Lounge in SF this week. We're all a bit rusty, but hopefully we'll get the kinks worked out in time.

The future of the band is fairly uncertain at this point, and we're not going to be booking many shows, so come see us when you've got the chance. We're playing first, so come early.

Oh, and I've cancelled the offer on the Sunnyvale house, and opted for a Mountain View townhome instead.

Lately, I've been using Twitter to post short stuff about random thoughts and life, since it takes much less time to bang out a thought in 140 characters. A bit more cryptic, perhaps, but more frequent. I'm not abandoning LJ, I'm just trying to figure out what I'm doing with it.

Thu, Mar. 27th, 2008, 11:31 pm
Four Weeks Later

So the first weekend after getting my wisdom teeth pulled was pretty painless. Vicodin = happy. After the first couple days though, they starting hurting like a bitch (leading me to whine like a bitch), and the vicodin wasn't nearly as effective any more. It reminded me of what it was like after getting braces for the first time... except that it hurt regardless of whether I was chewing, so for the most part, I ate as normal. Thankfully, after the first week, the pain subsided, and I was just left with the gaping holes that had to be flushed out periodically. Anybody need some spare vicodin?

Main thing bothering me nowadays is the a sort of tooth freeze sensation when I drink cold water. Feels like a toothache, and I'm wondering if I should get that checked out, or if it's something that will just go away.

Oh, and in other news, I made an offer on a small single family home in Sunnyvale. It's a short sale and I bid low, so the offer is basically in limbo waiting for the bank to get through its backlog of short sales. Might be retracting the offer depending on how long it takes, how much the market drops in the meantime, and whether I find something better. The thought of using up all my play money kinda scares me though. More room for toys begets less money for toys.

Sat, Mar. 1st, 2008, 03:00 pm
Age of Wisdom

Yesterday, I had my remaining 3 wisdom teeth pulled. I hadn't been experiencing any problems, but at my last dental appointment, the dentist finally decided it was about time. At the consultation with the specialist, she remarked, "What took you so long?" Only one was impacted, but we decided to just get rid of the rest anyway.

I opted for general anesthetic so I didn't have to experience the procedure at all. I seem to be recovering pretty quickly, and I've been popping vicodin every time I start to feel the pain. There's practically no swelling, and the bleeding seems to be gone 24 hours later. I was afraid I'd be limited to yogurt, applesauce, and the like, but I've been eating porridge, pickled cucumbers, dried shredded pork, baked tofu, soft veggies, bread, and eggs over easy without much trouble at all.

All of which makes for a pretty boring LJ entry. I'm glad.

But then, I'm guessing the two hellish surgeries I had for my broken arm two years ago really raised my bar for what qualifies as a painful surgery.

Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008, 12:34 am
99% Alive

I was already bummed I missed out on Jonathon Coulton's concert on Friday... after seeing this, now I'm really bummed.

I've had a constant headache since the flu went away. Not bad enough to incapacitate, just enough to annoy. And just when I think it's not there anymore, there it is.

Oh, and as for the Tahoe trip over President's Day weekend, it was fun. No spectacular injuries, but I spent a not insignificant percentage of time going down the slopes on my ass. The highlight was probably when I went up the slopes on my ass...

I took a towline, which is like a chair lift, without the chair. You have a rope with a disc at the end to hold on to, and it drags you up the mountain. Well, about 2/3 of the way up, I zoned out for a bit and the edge of my snowboard caught, and down I went. I managed to hold on to the towline for about a full minute, flopping around, getting dragged on my ass, trying in vain to get my back on my board. I knew if I let go, the rope would retract, so there would be no way of continuing up without going back down to the beginning and starting over. Finally, my arms wore out and I let go, and decided to walk the rest of the way up. Sadly, Paul and Jeff were too far ahead to notice or take a video. It would definitely have been YouTube-worthy.

I also took one full day of the trip to stay in and play Super Smash Bros Brawl story mode in hard mode, unlocking most of the characters. Sadly, somebody will probably have to do that again when it comes out stateside, unless the Japanese saved game is compatible with the American.

Tue, Feb. 12th, 2008, 11:34 pm

Last week Monday, Google held its west coast trip, wherein all employees (in the west coast offices) had the choice of going to Disneyland or camping. Despite having been to Disney World a mere 2 months prior, I went with Disneyland. The logistics of this trip were astounding. Everybody in Mountain View was flown out of one of SFO, SJC, or OAK, to one of LAX, BUR, or ONT on Monday, and back on Wednesday. There were shuttles leading from the MV campus to each airport, and shuttles to take us from the destination airports to each of the 12 hotels around Disneyland that Googlers occupied. For Googlers that hated flying, there was also the option of taking a bus all the way, and of course you could arrange your own transportation.

Unfortunately for most of us, Monday was a terrible day for flying, as Chicago got shut down entirely, and nearly all flights were delayed as a result. The plane that I was assigned to, OAK-BUR, was the lucky one of the day... it got cancelled entirely. A few of us Googlers were looking right at the flight info when we saw it flash an ominous, red "Cancelled". It took a few moments for it to register. Since all flights were booked for the day, we were put on a much later flight (which was itself delayed), and were told to attempt to fly standby for the earlier ones. After waiting around for a few hours and seeing how hopeless it was to do standby, I thought to try switching to a flight to LAX. There were rumors that that some had switched, and that some were denied. Sadly, the folks I was waiting with decided to give up and take a cab home just when I was going to ask about LAX. I did manage to find one other Googler I'd just met that day and he came along to give it a shot as well. The trick was to go to the counter for the LAX flight and ask them, rather than the Burbank counter, who were up to their necks in unhappy folks on a huge standby list and weren't accomadating in any way. The two of us got put on the very next flight, leaving in less than 20 minutes. When we got on, we observed quite a few empty seats. So sad for the folks that gave up, as the trip was definitely worth it.

On Tuesday, from park opening until 7pm, the park was open to the public, so there was the usual mix of tourists and kids, but dotted with folks sporting Google gear, and the occasional work badge. After 7, though, the real fun began. Non-googlers were kicked out, the lines became nearly non-existent, and the food was now free. DJs and various bands were set up throughout the park. The rides were now full of Googlers all free to whoop it up as much as we wanted. At this point, we managed to go on every single ride in Fantasyland, one after another, with zero wait. Mr Toad's Wild Ride is still my favorite.

At a designated time, they asked everybody to gather on Main St for a group picture, which was apparently taken by helicopter. This was probably the biggest gathering of Googlers in one location, ever. Many people attempted to take pictures of the resulting mass, myself included. I didn't take that many pictures on this trip, letting my roommates Wanli and Devesh take care of them.

Then, the fireworks show began. This was easiest the coolest fireworks show I've ever seen, even beating out the one I saw 2 months ago at Epcot Center, with all its lasers, water, and fire. Without a big body of water to work with, they were limited to lasers and fire, but it was enough. They played a medley of tunes and sounds over the loudspeakers, each built around one of the Disneyland rides, with fireworks to match. My favorites were the flare-like fireworks timed with the sound of cannons from Pirates of the Carribean, and the green lasers and random explosions surrounding us from all sides, set to a Star Wars soundtrack.

What should have been the best part was the open bars they set up throughout California Adventure. Sadly, I'd been plagued with sleepiness most of the day (probably due to my roommates insisting we wake up at 7am to get to the park before it opened), which was developing into a headache. I'd taken a nap on a random couch in the halls of the Grand Californian in Downtown Disney (and got asked by a random employee whether I was with Google, before he let me be) so I felt better towards the evening, but I decided to go easy on the alcohol. Funny enough, after the Long Island, my headache seemed to go away.

Given the number of Googlers there, it was pretty unlikely to bump into any particular person. But on the last ride of the night, our 3rd time on Tower of Terror that day, I happened to find my two former teammates in line, right behind us. One of them had transferred to Santa Monica a few months ago, and I didn't even recognize him at first due to a hair style change. They had only just bumped into each other as well, and now we were all together again for the first time since our team had split. In a trip filled with awesome, this was probably the coolest part of the trip for me.

Sadly for me, I started feeling the first inkling of a sore throat on this trip. At first I thought it was due to all the screaming and yelling (from Disneyland, from the super bowl, and from the Foo Fighters concert on Saturday...) but after I got back, it only got worse and worse, until I was hit with a full on flu over the weekend. I've now skipped two days of work, but should be good enough to head back in tomorrow. At least, I need to be good enough to go on that Tahoe trip this upcoming weekend...

Tue, Jan. 29th, 2008, 09:34 pm
Lost in a Week

After procuring the 3rd season of Lost last Sunday (thanks mangobuns...), I managed to plow through all 23 episodes in a week. This is why I normally avoid TV.

I'm both house-hunting and apartment-hunting. Need more room for toys.

Mon, Jan. 14th, 2008, 01:58 am
That snow fun

I'm pleased to report a breakthrough in my never-ending quest to discover new and innovative ways to injure myself while snowboarding. Yesterday, while on the backside slopes of Northstar, I performed a high-speed faceplant with my gloved hand in front of my face. The impact of the ground on the side edge of my wristguard against my goggles jammed it into my face, scraping off some skin and leaving a nasty red scrape below my left eye. My goggles now sport a crack where my wristguard had hit. After that, I made sure to perform all faceplants with my hands well out of the way of my face.

My helmet probably saved me twice this time around. First, I hit a low hanging branch, which bounced loudly off my helmet. Second, I fell over onto my back at high speeds as I approached a flat, icy stretch, smacking the back of my head hard enough to leave me dazed for the next 5-10 minutes. If I hadn't had the helmet, I'd probably have had a concussion. Hm, even as I think about the fall, I can feel a faint, ghostly throbbing at the back of my head. Well, nothing serious, as tell as far I can.

In other fun on this trip, we had cars get stuck three times (by three different drivers) in a nearly identical manner on the driveway of our cabin, pointing up the slope, with the back of the car against a snowbank. Thankfully, the winter I spent in Ithaca building experience in getting my car unstuck from parallel parking spaces paid off, as I extricated the car all three times. (Though I had a bit of pushing help the latter two times, which saved some time) I also had the opportunity to pull off the following maneuver three times: From a flat spot on the driveway, I'd build speed before rounding a 90-degree turn to climb an icy incline, and then pull into a one car-width garage space without slowing down. The first time, with a minivan, it took over a dozen tries, as I first worked out how to slide through the turn and pointed in the right direction, and then how much power I'd need to make it up the incline, while the other guys broke up the ice between attempts to make it easier. The second time, with a sedan into the other garage space, and the third time, with the original minivan again, only needed about 3 tries each. With the minivan, I kept forgetting to fold the mirrors in, and both times, I smacked the right mirror against the wall on the way in. Hey, it's a rental.

And in case you're having a tough time imagining this, Wayne took some videos of the maneuver, as well as various pics of the trip.

At any rate, the cabin was awesome, and the slopes were pretty nice after all the snow dumped the previous week, including some fresh snow on Saturday morning. While Friday was nice and empty, Saturday was pretty much at max capacity, as the lots were completely filled, and one of our cars almost didn't get in after making a detour to a nearby rental shop. They circled the lots for a half hour before they lucked out when a car left early.

With this season looking so much better than last year, we might be doing a President's Day weekend trip as well. Oh, and while Google has cancelled this year's company ski trip, our team has requested that we go to Tahoe for our team offsite, so I'll likely be hitting the slopes at least twice more before the season is over. Yayz.

Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008, 12:58 am

Before Christmas, I went to Orlando for a week with my sister and her friend Vicki to do the usual Disney World thing, hitting all 4 parks in 3 days, as well as a day for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We also watched Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, Cirque Du Soleil, and Blue Man Group. Also, I did the Richard Petty Rookie Driving Experience, where you drive a real Nascar stock car around a track. I rented a Mustang convertible as our ride, which ended up being all sorts of fun, between the cold, rainy weather and the lack of trunk space for all the merch we ended up buying. My sister was still recovering from some surgery, so we made as much of use of her temporary disability placard and park wheelchair access as we could. On the way home, we managed to miss our flight and ended up being forced to spend a night in Dallas, where we made the best of it and met up with our 2nd cousin for a buffalo wing dinner. Sadly, pictures are pretty spotty.

From Christmas to New Year's, I went to Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler with the usual gang, who took a metric ass-ton of pictures. Visited Pike Place Market twice (It's pretty boring on Christmas Day when nothing but the Chinese bakery is open), went up the Space Needle, and missed out on Experience Music Project (anybody interested in going with me in some hypothetical future trip to Seattle?). In Vancouver, we ate lots of Chinese food and went to Stanley Park on a dreary, rainy day; I hope to rent a bicycle and ride around on the next hypothetical trip. Whistler itself was awesome. Three days of boarding, and one day of snowmanbearpig/snowkitty/igloo making. We were able to fit 5 people in this igloo; next time, we know to leave air vents. Fresh air never tasted so good. Toilets were the bane of our trip, with both toilets in our hotel suite in Vancouver breaking, and the toilets in our Whistler cabin backing up.

Tomorrow/today, I'm off to Tahoe for the 2nd time this season. It is a good year to board.

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