Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sushi, Buses, and McDonald's

What. A. Day.

I don't mean that in a good "what an amazing day" way. "Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between." Sure enough, this day was one to remember, no matter how frustrating it was.

I was supposed to meet up with my friends to go eat at a sushi buffet at 12 PM in Flushing. Normally, it takes me about an hour on the bus to get there. Silly me for not taking into account New York City doesn't care if there's two feet of snow on every street.

I walk to the bus stop around 11:10 PM. I'm the second one there so I assumed that a bus just left. I thought to myself that one will come in give or take ten minutes. Ha! I watched as the group of people waiting for the bus stretched to the end of the block. Fifty two minutes. 52! That's how long it took for a bus to finally arrive. To top it off...my stop is the first stop on the route. The only other Asian in this mass of people was this Chinese lady who ninja-ed her way to the front of the line. Needless to say, she threw a fit at the driver screaming that she waited an hour for the bus (when in actuality, she came like ten minutes after I did) and that she refused to pay. She managed to rally a few other middle-aged women to join her outburst. I just wanted to reach my destination in peace.

Once I finally reached Flushing about an hour and a half later, I walked to the next destination: another bus stop to wait for a bus to bring me to the sushi buffet. As I made my way to the bus stop, I saw the bus start to leave. I gave chase. For over five blocks. I lost count at five. Surprising enough, even with all the snow people neglected to shovel and the slippery ground, I was very close to catching the bus. That was until I was stopped by a red light and oncoming traffic. Good try, Stanley. I decided to wait for the next bus for over half an hour. One came, but ignored me and zoomed right by because the bus was "packed". I'm one person. I could have easily fit. I struck up some conversations with other people waiting for the bus. Interesting characters you meet in the city that never shovels, I mean sleep.

I gave up and told my friends to finish their sushi without me when the bus never showed up. I walked back to McDonald's and waited for my friends to come to me. As I walked back, I looked at the first bus stop on the route I was gonna take.

That explains why there were no buses coming my way. The line extended further.

Well, I had hopes of some good sushi. All I can eat sushi might I add. My lunch turned from:

to this

First time ever ordering something from the McCafe. I only got it because I was cold and there was a giant poster advertising the caramel mocha. Not bad.

In a nutshell, the New York City public transportation ruined my potential lunch as it took me 3-4 hours to reach my destination (actually, I didn't even reach it). A sushi buffet lunch turned into a Big Mac, snack wrap, and a caramel mocha.

But the day ended on a much higher note. I got to see friends I haven't seen since the summer. It was good catching up. It always ends up with us having our girly guy talk until however late it gets. At least the train ride home didn't completely screw me over like the buses.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Being Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

The holidays are normally spent with family and friends. I honestly don't remember the last time my family actually ever did anything for Christmas. That happens when your parents are Asian and aren't Christian.

I stopped receiving presents on Christmas a few years ago. It used to bother me. But, I realized it's not about the presents. Remembering and putting Jesus Christ above all else is all that matters even if I forget at times.

Though, there is one thing I would like to ask for this Christmas season. Well, there was one thing. And that's just to see all my close friends that I don't get to see often while I'm away at college. For the most part, I've seen most of them and I am truly grateful for each and every one of them.

Feasting with my friends that I've know since forever. The Family Pan.

Happy (belated) birthday Elaine!

Well, I'm not really into the whole photography thing, so those are pretty much the only pictures that I can use, ha! I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas spent with their loved ones.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Awesome to Awful

From pure relief to pure disappointment. This past week has been filled with its ups and downs. I thought this past finals week was going by pretty nicely. Of course I was freaking out when it first started since I had no idea how I was going to manage my time to study.

Three straight nights spent at the library. Four straight days I watched the sun rise with tired eyes.

Out of those four days, I had only one day I got more than 8 hours of sleep. That was between my third and last final. I slept the entire afternoon and woke up to study for my last exam. I felt like I did decent on the other three (don't want to jinx it now) and was prepared to study until my brain fried. Since I missed some lectures (like 1/3 of them) and two film screenings, I had a lot to catch up on.

I wrote down my finals schedule on my calendar and had "ETS 153 FINAL @ 5-7 PM" written down in red for the 17th. I figured I had plenty of time to study. I head over the Physics building where it was being held at 4:45 PM. I see a friend who lived on my floor last year waiting outside the auditorium. I thought he was in my class and say I didn't know he took ETS 153. He said he didn't and he was in physics. I look around and see other people with physics notes and calculators out. He shows me his examination time on his phone. I thus quickly pull out my phone and check MySlice. Surely enough, it tells me that my exam is from 3-5 PM.

I felt my heart sink at that moment. I was too tired to scream. I was too frustrated to think. I ran into the auditorium as the last of my classmates finished their exam. I approached my professor and I couldn't even speak. All I could mutter was "I...uh...muh...missed the exam. I thought it was from 3-5...is there a-any way I can make it up?" He gave me the answer I expected. "No." I thanked him for his time and left with my mind wiping blank. I didn't even know how to react.

I emailed my TA shortly after about the situation and all she could tell me was that I did well enough in the class not to fail. That was the least reassuring thing I could have read. It wasn't failing I was afraid of. I'm confident that I would not fail the class. My lowest grade was a B-. But that didn't mean I wouldn't get a C or D.

I'm just thankful my friends at home here have taken my mind away from this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chrome for a Cause

Ok, I'm gonna take a quick break from "studying" at the library (a.k.a. Facebook games, chatting, etc.). I wasn't going to blog until my finals were over, but this is quite important.

What is this? It's "Chrome for a Cause".
The chrome for a cause extension will count your tabs while you browse the web. At the end of the day, you’ll be asked to choose a charity to receive your tabs. Every day between December 15 and 19 presents the chance to contribute your tabs, so you can choose to support the same charity or pick a different one each day.
You're given a choice of donating vaccinations, books, clean water, square feet of shelter, and planting trees. I did some calculations and:
  • 25 tabs = 1 vaccination provided
  • 10 tabs = 1 book donated
  • 200 tabs = 1 person's clean water provided
  • 100 tabs = 1 square foot of shelter built
  • 10 tabs = 1 tree planted
At the end of the day, I guess they round down. I had 140 tabs opened for my first day and I chose to "provide" 5 vaccinations. If I knew that, I would have just opened up 15 more tabs.

Get Google Chrome everyone (I mean it's better than Internet Explorer and Firefox anyways)! Install the "Chrome for a Cause" extension and open those tabs!

[10:42 AM]: Apparently, 250 tabs is the maximum amount of tabs you can reach in a day. I thought it was strange my tab count wasn't increasing any more.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hungry Hippos

My first semester as a family group leader has come to an end. I am truly appreciative of everyone in my family group and the people I have met through it. Was the job easy? No way. But the beauty of it is that I grew as a Christian through it. I felt I could have done things better, but we all think that. Not one person can look back and say they've done everything perfect and to their content.

I wish I could upload a lot of pictures from my family group this semester. One thing that we didn't get to do was take a picture of everyone with their drawing. It's a long story, but for an ice breaker, everyone drew/cut out something and made something out of it. They all wrote down stuff like spiritual goals.

I think I'll just leave them up there for the rest of the semester. Awesome, isn't it?

Thanks to my amazing family group members who made this card for me. It means a lot. I love the hippo Jane drew. If anyone from my FG reads my blog (which I doubt, but hopefully), you guys are awesome and I was truly speechless when you guys surprised me with this.

Thank you so much Hungry Hippos.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Grinds My Gears

You know what really grinds my gears? Sorry, just had to say that. I've made not one, but two posts about this on Tumblr already. I'll just be adding more to the list of what ticks me off. Yes, it's another list. It seems like I've been making lists in my recent posts. I like lists. They add variations in my blog posts instead of just seeing a block of text.

  • How snow makes people dumb.
I'm walking back from lecture and I'm seconds of reach my dorm. There's a bus stop outside of my dorm and woopty-doo, 3 buses arrive at the same time. So, there are many students coming out of all the buses to my right. Snow that come up to my knee on my left. Right ahead of me is a student I was walking behind who suddenly stops to wait for a chance to keep walking. But in front of her are students waiting to get on the buses. Sorry if this is a bit confusing. Needless to say, she keeps standing there waiting for someone to move. I'm freezing and I'm not waiting a second longer. I put good old common sense to the use and go back and around everyone and on to the street. I walk around the buses and to no surprise I see a clear path. I look back and I see the same girl who was in front of me still waiting for a chance to walk.
  • Dumb questions in class.
Teachers who tell you that there is no such thing as dumb questions are lying through their teeth. There was a girl who once asked in high school, "Is the essay multiple choice?"
  • Fake hobos (hoboes?).
I don't see any in Syracuse (or they are just harder to distinguish) but I see them everywhere in New York City. There was this one lady who claimed she had no home to go to, no food to eat, etc. The only part of her that looked like she might not have a home was the fact her hair looked like it was used as a broom. When no one on the train gave her any money, she turned around and cursed everyone out for being greedy. I see her the next day and she is wearing a completely different outfit. Looked brand spankin' new too. Again, no one gave her any money. She angrily cussed at everyone again. Rinse and repeat.
  • Erasers that do a poor job erasing.
Might as well package that with a pencil that doesn't make any marks when you try to write with it. That's why I use pens for everything. Even math. I'd rather cross something out than potentially having to go through a bad eraser. That and I like writing in something darker than graphite.

That's all I can come up with now. Besides, everyone has like a million things that tick them off. No one wants to read them all either (or type them all).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movies and Surprise

The film screenings at ETS 154 has been a hit or miss for me. The movies either bore me to sleep or captures my full attention for the entirety of the film. Some of the interesting films thus far are: The Birds, Devil in a Blue Dress, Mission: Impossible II, and Om Shanti Om.

Add Run Lola Run to the list.

This film is a German thriller that eerily reminds me of Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue music video. Now that I think about it, they probably based their MV on this movie since they share similar scenes such as running past a group of nuns, a homeless with trash bags, and being hit by a car. The most significant and noticeable similarity? Every time the protagonist reaches a dead end (or fails), they restart at their starting point. Each run produces a different outcome.

I wanted to make a list of movies I want to watch that are in theatres or are coming out soon. But, that list is quite short. I'll share regardless:
  • The Warrior's Way (Asians, action, ninjas vs. cowboys...what more can I say? Though it did get 44% of Rotten Tomatoes...)
  • Yogi Bear [12/17] (I liked the cartoon as a kid and Justin Timberlake nailed Boo Boo's voice)
  • Green Hornet [1/14] (Jay Chou's Hollywood debut and I'm interested in the character of the Green Hornet. Never heard of the superhero before this movie)
I guess there's going to be little to no movie watching in theaters this winter break. There's plenty of movies I still want to watch, but I can just download or stream those.

One movie that did catch my eye as I was looking at movies "coming soon" is...Ip Man 2! What in the world? For those who do not know, Ip Man taught Bruce Lee the martial art Wing Chun. I saw the first movie in Cantonese and it was brilliant! (I've only seen bits of the second one. I will watch the full film soon) A riveting plot and mind-blowing fight scenes. But the second movie, which has been long out is being shown in theaters in the United States! I'm still in shock. I encourage everyone to watch both films, though some of the fight scenes are a bit brutal. But it's not like there's blood splattering everywhere.

And now it's time to work on my Secret Santa gift. Arts and crafts time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Future Generations

Playing games on my phone now serves a second purpose. Besides entertaining me when I'm bored (Fruit Ninja, Scrabble, and Robot Unicorn Attack kill time like on other), it has now helped me draw back some memorable conversations (actually, it was only one conversation...making it plural makes it sound better).
Just a side note, sometimes I wish I didn't get the iPhone. It has turned my phone into an academic failure device. I can barely pay attention in lectures nowadays when I can just pull out my phone and play a computer in chess or check Facebook/Tumblr. Kids these days have it good.

That last sentence is basically what I wanted to blog about.

It was a memorable conversation I once had with some friends at IHOP. We were talking about how we couldn't wait to be crabby old men. How fun would it be to sit on a rocking chair on your porch all day and yell at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn? Ok, it may not seem fun. But, the idea of it entertained us into a good laugh. We were supposed to have flying cars and time machines. What happened? Our biggest technological breakthrough is the iPad. We are facing an energy crisis. Our biggest news (well, on the front page of Yahoo! that is) is what Halle Berry wore. Really? We're disappointing those old guys in white coats who dreamed of time machines.

Millions of minds are connected to each other through the internet and what's the best we can come up with?

Ok, maybe that's not the best, but you get the point. We are more concerned with the latest Tweets and what our friends are up to on Facebook.

Part of me wants to hurry up with the aging process and see where my life is going to lead. I'll see what the world will become. A world of even more superficial human beings who revolve their lives around social networking? Or a utopia where we all...do good things? I don't know. I'm just waiting for flying cars.

The other part of me wants to stay young. Just the thought of passing the halfway mark in my lifespan depresses me. I'm still young. I have a long way to go. But life seems like it has been on fast forward. It seems just like yesterday I was 12 and dreaming of being 16 and in control. Ha!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lazy Day

Today has probably been the most wasted day of my life. I fell asleep at around 2 AM and woke up at 7:30 AM. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I wasn't tired and couldn't close my eyes. I go online for a bit and before I know it, it's 11 AM. My back starts to feel stiff so I hop onto my bed to rest a bit. You know those completely useless attempts to stay awake by telling yourself that you won't fall asleep? Never works. I end up falling asleep and before I know it, it's 8 PM.

I haven't had a day where I've just slept all day in a long time. And you know what? It feels terrible. So much for thinking I'd do something productive today. Hopefully I can find something to do that will make up for this day.

Maybe I should just make a list of possible tasks:
  • I cleaned my room last Sunday. I think it's time to clean it again. Which basically means fold my laundry and tidy up the junk that's been accumulating on my desk. I actually don't see a need to clean my room (except folding my clothes) but I just can't find my watch. I'm crossing my fingers it's somewhere here.
  • Continue my portfolio. I've been getting drawing blocks (writer's block but for drawing)...and have been super lazy. Just 7 more still lifes to go.
  • Update my music playlist. It's been almost a month since I last added a song and a month and half since I added my usual burst of songs at once. My playlist has been getting pretty boring since I always listen to my iPod as I walk to class/work. Same songs over and over again.
  • Read The Girl Who Played With Fire. It's been way too long since I picked it up. I read through Dragon Tattoo non-stop over the summer. But, I can't seem to find the motivation to read right now. My bookmark is 4 pages into the first chapter (those 4 chapters were read on the first day of school). I don't know why, but it's so much easier to read when I'm in NYC than here. Less distractions maybe?
  • Study for Calc II. My last exam whooped me hard. There goes the 4.0 I thought I would get unless I ace my final.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Buy Life

I applaud the effort and reasoning behind Alicia Keys' "Keep a Child Alive" campaign. But, that's as far I'll give her credit for. For those who don't understand (basically I'm addressing all three or so of my readers), Alicia Keys and an array of other celebrities including Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, Elijah Wood, and 2/3 of the Kardashian sisters (and this is just naming a few) are "dying" for those with AIDS/HIV. Sorry if that sentence is hard to read. By dying, they are basically giving up their "digital lives" until fans donate $1,000,000 to revive them. So, no Twitter or Facebook.

I wanted to blog about this sooner, but I figured that I would let some time pass to see how it goes. As it's turning out, these celebrities will be in their digital coffins for quite some time. It's been a day and $164,380 has been raised.

You might be thinking that's a good amount. One day in and they already passed 1/10 of the goal. Well, consider this. The launch of this event should have sparked enough donations to to push past 2/10 of the goal. Why? That's when the advertising is freshest in all our minds. They were either planning on the cause spreading by word or they didn't plan far enough. These celebrities deactivated all means of social media advertising. Honestly, who gets the news from TV or newspaper nowadays? Well, I still like to watch the news and occasionally pick up the New York Times, but most of my news comes from the internet. And so does many American teenagers/young adults who would be supporting these celebrities.

I honestly don't care much for the "digital lives" of these celebrities or any celebrities for that matter. I don't have a Twitter and I don't follow them on Facebook. Plus, I'm sure other people have better things to do than fret over the lack of Tweets from Ryan Seacrest.

If I could offer them an alternative, it would be this:
Keep the donation process as it is. However, add on that every purchase of one of their songs or albums (assuming they are a musician) on iTunes would have that money go towards this fight against AIDS/HIV. If they don't produce songs that we buy, they can sell personal merchandise like T-shirts for $15-20 each. This would give their fans a greater incentive in helping out. We still haven't climbed our way out of the recession. Not everyone can spit $10 minimum out of their wallets for nothing in return.