Wednesday, April 18, 2007

After a 13 year drought...


Now I'm just kicking myself for not betting on them the last time I was in vegas. Is anyone going there in the near future??

Friday, March 09, 2007

I got D

Check out my photo on! (click on Women's Basketball camp, then pictures #5 or #7)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Tony, my hero, almost got killed. What an unreal story.

On a separate but related note, here is a picture of happier times:

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A victory for Asian Guys everywhere

Here is an interesting article about how the massive talent of an unknown 20-something korean guy playing the guitar in his room at mom and dad's house came to shock and awe the internet & guitar rock communities everywhere. This video brings a tear to my eye not just because of the way his guitar skills transcend any other guitar playing I've seen, but because the cold precision of his playing is reminiscent of the hours of piano and violin playing that ABC's like me put in everyday as we were growing up. Only on a much cooler instrument!

What's so sweet is the totally unassuming nature of this beast. His video was somewhat anonymously posted on the internet and it bore only screen names. In the video, the face of the player is obstructed by a beige baseball cap, and as word of this guys skills grew, the thing people wanted most to know was his identity. Through all the imitators and frauds who have popped up through the months, it looks like the real creator of the video has been found, and he looks like the kind of guy I went to chinese school with all throughout my childhood. It's refreshing, the way he wants his work and skill to speak for itself, with no packaging, or pizazz. He didn't want even his face to have an impact on the way people saw his work--when questioned about the use of his baseball cap to block his identity, he replied, “Main purpose of my recording is to hear the other’s suggestions about my playing.” He added, “I think play is more significant than appearance. Therefore I want the others to focus on my fingering and sound. Furthermore I know I’m not that handsome.”
In any case, you go, Jeong Hyun and Jerry. I'm proud of you!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hitting pretty close to home

You probably all heard of the rampage a Fremont driver went on yesterday, when he hit a pedestrian with a bicycle in Fremont, killing him, then drove to the city where he hit 14 more people in different locations. What you probably didn't know is that the road he lived on was just a few blocks away from my old home! And the place where he swerved from the far left lane to hit the pedestrian on the right side of the streen? at the Ferry lane and Fremont Blvd intersection, where I used to turn in to ranch 99 to shop for groceries and get pho, and greasy chinese.

I'm convinced this is the new form of terrorism, taking the killing to the streets of the US where all us infidels live. they say he started to get mentally unstable after a trip to afghanistan 2 months ago, and was paranoid about the devil being out to get him.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Feels like home

I found this to be an accurate portrayal of the flavor one gets from exploring and shopping in HK. It made me a bit reminiscent!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Almost 5 years since 9/11 and I still can't read about it without welling up and feeling like something inside is going to explode. Perhaps it's because of the constant new testimony and discovery of information about what really happened that morning.

Reading or listening to anything that has recording or the transcripts of real people has a tendency to crush me (as brad pitt would say). something like
this, which was just released earlier this week, is particularly brutal because of the way we seem so helpless in our ability to defend ourselves. Most of this stems from systematic difficulties on communicating and synthesizing information, whether it be through the chain of command, from one location to another, or in the worst case, between organizations. working in a large organization myself, I deal with communication breakdowns and politics every day...but at least within the high-tech sector we have what's pretty cutting edge from an infrastructure perspective--instant messaging, web conferencing, web telephony. What's especially sobering is thinking about how antiquated and slow moving the IT systems of our miliary and government are--in these transcriptions, all conversations are one to one, phones are constantly buzzing, and so much information is passed by shouting over the shoulder.

After reading something like this, I wonder if there are countless other stories of people being organized, knowledgeable, heroic, and reacting to the situation in the right way; saving us all from a number of other unknown 9/11's that could have changed the world in a way that we'll never know. Hopefully.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hi, Steve Jobs

Check out this funny blog written by (Someone Impersonating) Steve Jobs. It's pretty brash, but I imagine something pretty close to the actual truth. I especially love that entry about Larry. although I think that since they're friends it would be a bit more kind!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Serious Gaming

This is a pretty interesting article about a new wave of "Serious Games" which take real life scenarios such as the conflict in the middle east or food distribution in areas of poverty, and craft them into games. In playing them, players immerse themselves in the complexities of different sides of the situation.

As a member of the generation that grew up on Mario brothers, and an admitted addict to the Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale series of RPG's (that's Role Playing Games--to you uninitiated), I am behind this movement all the way. I can attest to the addictive nature of gameplay--at some point during the times I was playing most intensively, I was logging 10-12 hours per day, something which I know contributed heavily to my RSI. I loved the aspect of RPGs which allowed me to build a character and imbibe it with experience and to collect worldly goods on its behalf. The storylines in these games were mesmerizing and left me always wanting to find out the consequences of the decisions I'd made, and how the plot would unfold.

A time of reckoning came when I realized how much time I was investing in these characters which essentially only existed in the context of the game I was playing. They, and the knowledge of that world, had no real value in the "real world". The saddest thought came when I realized if I'd spent the same amount of time in building a hobby or skill (in my other interests like basketball, pool, or guitar playing), I'd have been expert. All this changes with "serious games", as the game play can help one to understand the subtleties of events in the real world! (I always did wonder why it was so hard to distribute our food surpluses to the poor. Just take the sacks of corn and ship them to africa, right?)

When I see the youth of today, I know that the world they are growing up in is significantly different than the one I experienced. There are so many ways that technology has broken down communication and knowledge gathering barriers. The advent of serious games is yet another very positive example of this, and I applaud their makers in harnessing technological resources to explain complex experiences and situations in a way that is appealing, and understandable. Plus, it takes all the guilt out of the equation--you get all the immersion, all the fun, and you learn something in the end, too!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Yo Quiero Tacos

I was tickled to find this NY times feature on the best tacos between LA and SF. Check it out! I was never a big fan of tacos as a kid, when my corrupted understanding of what they were involved that hard, U-shaped shell which usually held some salty-seasoned ground beef, a few strips of iceberg lettuce, and velveeta. But since moving out here to California that all changed. I first fell in love with tacos through introduction of my frosh year roommate Edith, a mexican native, whose father **actually ran the border between LA and Mexico**. The source was this grubby one room restaurant off telegraph avenue, where the grill was in front, and had just a few dirty benches clustered around small, greasy tables. It wasn't the type of establishment I would have frequented on my own, but all that changed when I sampled their fares. The tacos were made of tender, slightly fried corn tortillas, stacked two to a taco. and the beef was actually in chunks, like eating a steak that had already been cut up for you! eating those tacos was how I finally learned to appreciate the contrast of raw onion and a salty base meat. and I thought it was so thoughtful and inventive how they always provided a wedge of juicy lime, and crisp fresh radish as contrast.

The restaurant (whose name I can't even remember) had closed by my senior year but I was happy to find tacos of a similar (though inferior) breed at a number of restaurants in the area. In fact, I came to understand that what I had associated to be a "taco" in my youth was wrong and I actually enjoyed them very much.

My own taco search continued after moving down to the peninsula after graduation. the first place I started to frequent was El Charrito, at the intersection of Holly and El Camino in belmont. but a personal favorite that c and i found together (in our early days--which might be part of the reason why I always find the food so delicious) is La Taqueria. It's featured in this new york times article, and you can see our own picture here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So here's the idea....

Hey folks,

Yep, I finally joined the 21st century. Check it out! and come back often since I think the posts will be frequent until I catch up. For some of you, this'll be like a walk down memory lane. enjoy.

If anyone is a blogger expert--let me know! I have questions that I can't seem to find answers for...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Look at that guilty smile!

j and the sheep have a very special relationship.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Las Vegas Birthday

In 2005 we revisited the old Vegas stomping grounds again, this time for my birthday. This trip held a series of firsts--my first time dining at Nobu, and first time staying at THEHotel at Mandalay bay. Firsts of many times I hope!

Ever since a few friends of mine got me the Nobu cookbook a few years ago, I've wanted to try the restaurant. They say that the Original in new york is the best, but the vegas one was pretty good in my opinion. the "new style" japanese food reminded me of some establishments in SF like kabuto A&S, but will hipper ambience and little details like how they served their house sake in a frozen bamboo container. Cups too! The one problem with eating at a place like that is that you have to have a lot to get full, which gets expensive pretty fast. That said, we did see Dave Navarro, guitarist for Red hot chili peppers & janes addiction, eating with his crew (minus carmen electra).

i LOVED TheHotel at Mandalay bay. Somehow my friend d with his infinite knowledge of the inner workings of las vegas got us good rates for the room and I'm spoiled for life. There were a total of 4 flat screen TV's in the suite--a huge one in the outer "entertainment" room, one in the bedroom, and two(!!) in the bathroom. I took a luxurious bath in the lovely bathtub while watching TV--a great way to pass time. Speaking of water, the best thing about Mandalay bay is the pool area complete with tidal wave, multiple hottubs, waterfalls and the lazy river--a circular pool complete with gentle current--on which I could have spent hours drifting around on the pink innertube I bought for $8. Unfortunately the pool area's only accessible to hotel guests so I'll have to wait till the next time we decide to stay a bit off strip to enjoy it again.

n and m also took us to a special tour of old las vegas, which had a decidedly different flavor than the flashy strip. Reminiscent of Reno, the two focal points were the enormous light display which put on a show coordinated to music every 15 minutes, and binions, where the world poker tour is held. It's always cool to see a place in person that you've seen many times on TV. although we seemed out of place walking among the Vegas locals, old vegas had a charm of its own and would be worth a repeat visit.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I like cooking, but the effort which material acquisition requires is usually something I'll only expend for special occasions. One instance that I am especially proud of was for m's bday. After planning surprise parties, costume parties and various other productions, I was happy to do something a little more chill. The polls are out but I think he was happy with the results. :)

On the menu that evening was rack of lamb (difficult), moroccan couscous with mint (medium), grilled asparagus & tomatoes (easy) and a fruit pavlova which we invited friends over to share. The pavlova was not so much difficult as tricky as I didn't whip the cream enough to really hold its shape. In any case, the results were not the prettiest but it still tasted damn good.

In contrast to the "liberated woman of the 90's", I find cooking to be therapeutic and a great way to see results with minimal effort. There's a certain satisfaction which comes from investing just a few hours of work so that people you care for can enjoy a good meal.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I think you'll all agree

This is a pretty representative picture of me.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

No Words necessasry

We saw Rachmaninoff being performed at the SF symphony, and then followed it with dessert at Jardinere. What a great day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

5 Favorite Days

I have a bias in my memories towards the good times rather than the bad, but I can't remember anything bad about the 5 days I spent with m in Hawaii. It was my first trip to a tropical location, and we spent all 5 days in Kauai, exploring the island and relaxing.

There's a vibe to the place that I can still feel when Iz's "Somewhere over the rainbow" comes on. Driving around with the windows down, snacking on tuna poke which they sold *everywhere*, the chickens and roosters which ran freely around the island, all brought a smile to my face.

We did some tourist things, like visiting the Alberton botanical gardens. The garden was built on what was originally the site of Queen Emma's estatees, and there were well kept examples of much of the native plants which grew wild in Kauai, as well as beautiful specimens of plants from various other climates and regions. Scattered throughout the grounds were charming sculptures of children which added a whimsical quality to the tour.

We also tried some adventurous activities which I'd never done before, but both of which I loved. Ziplining reminded me of the fun I used to have as a kid, playing around on my neighbors pulley system growing up in Sudbury. The course we took was a serious of 8 zips which led gradually down to a grotto between two mountains at which you could swim. Since each person was strapped into a harness which was then clipped onto each zip line, there was an illusion of control and safety; still the course had only been open for 3 months so who knows! It took some grace getting on and off the ziplines, but once you got the hang of it, it was so cool flying through the air, and if you had the guts, looking down hundreds of feet into the valleys.

We also went around the island in a sea raft. This took two tries because the first time we tried, we had to turn back because of a storm which suddenly hit the island. I have a tendency towards seasickness, but did not have a problem with the sea raft because it was a smaller craft with plenty of fresh air. I'll never forget the school of dolphins which came to play around our raft just a few minutes into the trip! They were close enough to touch, although they were so fast that you never quite could. There were even baby dolphins among the school which were still learning how to jump through the air. It was my first time snorkeling which admittedly I didn't completely get the hang of (kept on breathing through the nose which messes things up). It was cool to go snorkeling off a boat though, no coral to bump into and the fish swarm around and bump into you. I fed them potato chips crumbs from my lunch. :)

Hawaii also had abundant things to eat and buy. Plenty of the cuisine in Hawaii involves raw tuna, which is a positive in my book. We had some good meals everywhere along the culinary spectrum, from Kalua pork at a hole in the wall local lace (we also tried poi at this place which despite being made from taro--I did NOT like) to a delicious new cuisine/hawaiian meal at A Pacific Cafe. m and I also discovered yummy kona coffee glazed macadamia nuts (which we searched out to bring home with us to the "mainland") and drank plenty of Hawaiian Sun iced tea.

Hawaii is indeed paradise. I bought that Iz CD before I left the island, and sometimes play it when I need a pick me up. It brings me right back to those blissful days and I feel better no matter what's going on. See why.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Viva Las Vegas!!!!!!!!!

Despite the fact that I don't gamble hard, drink hard, or party hard, I actually love las vegas. Which is good because given its proximity to the bay area, a group of friends typically make an annual weekend long trip there. This trip included a tasty trip to Samba, the brazilian barbecue place and a trip to the ghost bar. In case you've never been, the ghost bar is on the top floor of the palms casino, and the balcony has a glass floor. You know the glass is really thick but it's a trip to walk on! As usual, I also spent a lot of time in front of the bellagio fountains. those fountains take my breath away, and every time I see them, I'm impressed with how thoroughly we Americans understand entertainment. Want to see more pictures? And, the bellagio fountains.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

I heart NY, Part 2

The thing I love most about new york is the abundance of character you can find in the simplest of things. While gentrification is a fact of life and encourages efficiency and sets expectations, I find that New York is one of the places where the lack of standardization is mostly delightful. For one thing, some of the best ethnic food I've had, including even chinese, I've found in New York. it's almost as if they took the best of what the world has to offer and stuck it all in one city for me to discover and enjoy.

My second trip was also characterized by an abundance of walking, and it was during this trip when I discovered the "video" function on c's camera. Magically, both the sights I encountered as well as the sounds were captured in small new york moments to share. highlights included:

- discovering some new boundaries of chocolate, and trying to keep it unmelted in the hot july weather
- the complex simplicity of the guggenheim, the speechlessness of the media exhibits at the whitney
- "documenting" the purple couple and our antics trying to do this while being surreptitious about it...
- Seeing one of tony bourdain's old haunts
- the cheezy, buttery, sinful corn at cafe habana, fresh pita bread, olive oil gelato and the best pearl tea ever
- seeing s and "Sacha's Castle" which she'd always told me about
- Running as the clock ticked down, off the commuter rail, and towards the water, through crowds, and eventually finding a spot behind an overpass near the united nations to watch fireworks!

See for yourself--
Day 1: images, washington square park,
Day 2: images, inside the guggeheim, about that carpet: article & video,
Day 3: images, fireworks 1, fireworks 2, fireworks 3, fireworks 4
What lightning looks like from 30,000 ft

Sunday, June 27, 2004


Somewhere about 40 minutes north of SF on highway 1 is an other-worldly small chapel, plucked and dropped suddenly next to the highway in the middle of a grassy field.

The chapel was built by a stonemason, architect, woodworker, and tile-layer--I think it was one person--and it was an expression of his or her love for the sea. the place is resplendent with curved, asymmetrical lines of constantly changing waves, blues and greys of its depths in all seasons, satiny polish of wood tossed about in rough and fickle surf, and
unyielding edges of stone which have been the demise of so many foolish enough to disrespect its power and grace.

Words are inadequate to describe the way I felt sitting inside the chapel. peaceful, awestruck, overwhelmed, and illuminated all at the same time. And
these pictures really don't describe the beauty of this place. you should really just go and see it with your own two eyes, hands, and ears, you'll know what I mean.