ibneko: (Default)
Flying to Taiwan for two weeks.

Currently at NRT (Narita airport in Japan)

Quick bullet notes:
• Plane was a 787-8, ANA metal. 787 Dreamliner was pretty. If you've ever flown Virgin America, take their planes and add windows that adjust the amount of light that gets through with buttons. It kinda bothers me that it doesn't go completely opaque though.
• It felt like business class, but apparently it's actually, according to seatguru, the plane is only split into business and economy. I was in economy.
• The seats for economy don't actually recline. Instead, the actual seat slides forwards a bit. I don't like it.
• The toilets onboard 787 have bidets! And also a overactive flush sensor.
• I was so happy to see Wolf Children Ame and Yuki as one of the movie options onboard. I've been looking for a fansub / torrent, but hadn't found one. And not only was it available, it was subtitled in English!
• Also watched Bourne Legacy (meh) and Total Recall (interesting idea, but also kinda meh in the end)
• Leeching free wifi to download the latest pony episode. Yay pony! (Although I've been downloading in chunks between airports. Yay wget -c)
ibneko: (Default)
I'm in Taiwan right now.

Been to Taipei, Hsinchu, and I'm in Kaohsiung right now.

I can't wait for California to get our High Speed Rail system. HSR is so awesome....

[edit] More snippets of thought:
• So much good cheap food. I'm going to miss this. Delicious delicious stuff for $1 USD
 • MOS burgers! Everywhere! Although I've only had it once.
• Fooooooooooood.
• Hm, my chinese is terrible now. There's stuff I know I know, but it'll slip my mind when I need it. Phrases like, "Donate" (to explain why my hair is so long). "Bus", "taxes", etc are ones that come to mind.
• Watching chinese subtitles on tv helps refresh some of these characters. I should probably do this more. Don't have the time though. Blah.
• Man, all you can use 3G iPad connection for my dad for about $20 USD/mo, no contract required. So jealous. Unfortunately, my iPhone 4 isn't unlocked, so I can't use that SIM card. I really should rectify that. :\ Unfortunately, doing so would mean I'd lose all the music I have on it right now, so that's just not an option.
• United Premier doesn't get me access to the United lounge. ::slightly irked:: I got in with my dad though, since he's United 1k.
• Got jeans. Was pricier than the jeans I tend to get, but maybe it won't fall apart so quickly. Or I need to change my bike saddle. I dunno. I keep wearing out the crotch area of my jeans, where the bike seat meets my inner thighs. It's rather irritating.
• Dear mosquitoes, I'm NOT your noms! Leave me aloooooone!
ibneko: (Default)
So I'm in Beijing right now. I don't post often enough anymore.

Got sent here for work, will be here until the 19th.

Pollution is terrible. Stuff is cheap. It's weird to be visiting a foreign country where I could understand what people are saying (unlike Paris and Tokyo).

Forgot to bring my camera, 'cause I'm an idiot. I've picked up a disposable camera though, so hopefully I'll have some nice pictures. If not, I've been using my iPhone for a lot of pictures.

Went to a dance club friday night, was bought a coors beer by a coworker. It was surprisingly more like sprite without sugar than anything.

Saturday was wandering around the forbidden city, followed by the mountain/temple behind the forbidden city. Had my first experience at haggling - there was a "dress up as the emperor outfit and we'll take pictures of you" tourist trap. They did two pictures, but one with a random girl. But I said I couldn't take that one, 'cause then people would ask who that was, where was my girlfriend, etc. Ended up knocking down the price from 35 yen per picture to 40 for both.

Sunday was walking 8km of the Great Wall, from Jinshanling to Simatai. 3 hour bus ride to Jinshanling, then a cable car ride up to the wall, followed by a LOT of steps. A local woman attached herself to me and followed about 1/2 of the way and she offered some pretty good suggestions for better picture spots and noted places where I could go up to the top of the watch towers. Ended up being too nice and buying a set of chopsticks and postcards for 70 yen (about $10 USD). Managed to sprain my ankle a few towers later, when we took the stupid route and had to drop down from a watchtower down to a slope. Despite saying "yes, we should turn around, face the wall, and lower ourselves down", I was a dumb, overconfident kitty and sat-jumped down. Landed on my feet (of course), but my foot twisted inwards with a rather unhappy pop. My ankles are pretty damn flexible normally, but I think this was probably a bit too much. Self-diagnosing a moderate level 1 sprain (there's no pain if I just stand on it, but poking at it and twisting it causes low amounts of pain). Hopefully it'll heal by next week, so I can still enjoy Yosemite.

Also haggled a 10 yen bottle of half-frozen water down to 3 yen. Yay me! It was like,
Her: "10 yen"
Me: "so expensive"
Her: "so what would you pay for it"
Me: "2 yen"
Her: "that would be robbing us! Us, poor old ladies that carried it all the way here."
Me: "I don't need it - I still have some water"
Her: "that's not enough! they don't sell more later"
Me: "I don't need it and it's still too expensive"
Her: "4 yen"
Me: [I walked around them and started walking away]
Her: "3 yen, 3 yen!"
Probably should have started my price at 1 yen, so I could knock it down to 2 yen, but hell, my hotel charges 6 yen for a frigging bottle in my room. Much better than the white guy who paid 100 yen for two bottles. I don't know what he was thinking...

At the end of the walk, I took the zipline down - pretty awesome, hopefully the video came out ok.

Dinner was a chain restaurant "California Beef Noodle King", which was weird, 'cause I had never seen it in cali before. :D

Also, stupid chinese girls are all too stupidly thin. Looking for a L sized skirt. All the ones I've seen (in windows of shops) have turned out to be like... for twigs. XD Although they're all relatively cheap for the most part, so haggling may not be too necessary...
ibneko: (Default)
cut for length and babbling )

Pictures will be uploaded eventually... XD
ibneko: (Default)
So I went to UIUC this weekend to watch the J-net fashion show and hang out with friends there. Friends == quite good fun, although people are wandering off, sadly. Show was good - pretty much what was expected, although the skit could have flowed a tad bit better. But the Union ABC rooms have proper lighting rows now! So they can adjust the lights and position them to be more awesome and actually properly cover the stage. Probably with more lights too. *glee* Alas, I won't be back much more often to help out and make it look awesome.

Also, the freshmen are getting smaller. Or I'm getting older and bigger. Gawds, I hope it's not the latter.

Used United Premier status (I've somehow managed to fly over 25K miles this year. Probably due to the trip to Taiwan) to board planes as zone 1. Unsuccessfully tried to standby for an earlier flight. Got to and from Chicago with the help of Denise and her boyfriend, John.

And due to my own incompetence, I completely forgot about my return time and ended up getting a flight that landed 15 minutes after the last caltrain left. So, having done a test run from Palo Alto to Millbrae (the sourthern-most point for the BART (subway) on this side of the bay), taking about 18 miles, 2-3 hours, I decided it was quite doable. With this in mind, I brought my bike via caltrain to Millbrae and left it at the caltrain station.

Unfortunately, I completely failed to factor in the possibility of weather. 'cause, you know, we don't usually get weather here. It's just sun. Nice sun. Sometimes a confused cloud or two. And in the rare occasions, it rains. Very rare.

So I landed. And cursed at the drippy skies. Deciding I still didn't want to pay the stupid cab fare, nor did I want to bother friends up in SF, or call up my senpai down in Mountain View, I decided to tough it out, be a guy, etc. Swinging by the local Walgreens, I picked up a poncho and got started.

Am home now. Everything below the knees was wet. And my face and glasses. But otherwise, not too bad. Just uncomfortable.

And this time it only took me 2 hours and 15 minutes. 18 miles in the rain. Whee.

(Hmmm, looks like my downstairs neighbor has moved out. Don't see their wifi access point anymore. Poo. Borrowing one named "Metaverse", but I guess this means I really need to complete my move to the new apartment which has internet, but doesn't have a bed or other slightly less important stuff...)
ibneko: (Default)
...armed with an iPhone 3GS (Woohoo! Internet everywhere for a month! Note to self, pay dad.), I was able to work remotely pretty effectively for a day.

Free Wifi on Virgin America, for the flight from IAD 7 AM to SFO 10 AM. Coded. Got work done. Happy.
Bart + Caltrain to Palo Alto. Recharged iPhone at Millbrae, and answered emails! Woo!

Went to the eye doctor. My right eye is slightly worse in terms of nearsightedness stuff, and my left eye is slightly worse in terms of stigmatism. Shall have new glasses in a week. They'll be smaller and more rectangular than my current pair. Hopefully not a fail. I don't really have much of an opinion, since I usually can't see them... XD Except I picked the larger round frames for my current glasses in increase my field of vision. We'll see if there's a difference...

Then caught the Caltrain again, down to San Antonio, two stops away. Picked up the keys to my new apartment, got onto GoogleWiFi (also free, provided to the city of Mountain View). Worked remotely that way, while waiting for Comcast to come by and plug stuff in.

Now, home. Kinda cold, contemplating turning on the heating unit... My brookstone egg thingie says it's 62.4ºF. Hrm. ^^;;

Also, I have no food at home. But I'm going to UIUC this weekend. And I don't want to buy food just to have to move it to the new place. This is a pain.

Moving is also a pain too. My facebook status is currently: "Man, I need a portal gun. So I can open the blue one in my old apartment, the orange in my new apartment, and just throw everything through the magical glowing hole in the wall."

Taiwan...

Sep. 18th, 2009 12:33 am
ibneko: (Default)
So, Taiwan. I was there from Sept. 6 - 14. Actual departed on Sept. 5, but jumping the international date line does magical time traveling things. (I left Taiwan on the 14th, 10 AM and arrived in San Francisco on the 14th, 9 AM. Whee!)

I flew United, from SFO to Tokyo/Narita, then from Tokyo/Narita to TPE (Taiwan). I think the travel time in total was around 13 hours each way. United isn't really my preferred airline, but I wanted to match my parent's arrival times, so they could rent a car during their 6 hour layover at SFO and come see my apartment. United also isn't the cheapest to fly from SFO/SJC to TPE. :( I think there's cheaper, direct flights. Oh well, maybe if I ever visit on my own...

Arriving at TPE, I ended up using the open WiFi + Skype to call my dad and figure out where they were. Mostly unnecessary, as he showed up practically as soon as the call went through. Oh well. Yay free WiFi at airports.

We were driven to my grandparents house, on my mom's side. It was, eh, 9-10ish PM by the time we arrived. They've gotten older, notably my grandfather. Either he shrunk, or I got taller. Possibly both. He's still pretty mentally sharp though - throughout the week, we had short conversations in english, chinese, and japanese. o.O My grandmother's affected my Alzheimers; she still remembers me, but she doesn't speak much anymore and seems to have trouble stringing words together. ::sighs::

The grandparents will be moving to a new house soon, with internet and A/C, so I've been promised. "Next time I got back", I've been told, although I don't know when I'd go back again. Meh. Taiwan's close, but not close enough to just hop on over....

Visited Gao Xiong / 高雄 - southern city, very close to a harbor, where my dad's relatives live. Was going to go pay my respects to my grandfather on my dad's side, but according to the lunar calendar, it was the seventh month, when a lot of spirits and ghosts are out, so going to the graveyard would have been a bad idea. Ended up just going to the family shrine.

My cousin there also took me around on his scooter/small motorcycle (they're everywhere in Taiwan) and we hit up a night market where we got food and I picked up a flashlight holder for my bike for about 40 NTD (and got a spare just in case this one breaks or my bike gets stolen again~). Food in Taiwan is so cheap and awesome. Makes me want to go there to retire - I could just sit around, stare creepily at the cute schoolgirls, and eat cheap food. Mmmm. Food.

Also got lost in 台北 / Taipei on my own for a while - the MRT (subway-like system) does a pretty good job of getting one from point A to point B. Also, the High Speed Rail (HSR) system's awesome too - before, it took about 4-5 hours to get from 新竹 / Hsing Tsu. Now it only takes 1.5-2 hours. And getting from Taipei to Hsing Tsu is easier too - no more annoying bus - now there's a free bus from my grandparents house at Dong Men Market to the Hsing Tsu HSR station.

People )
ibneko: (Default)
It's nice that there's so many busses and ways to get around (seriously, a bus that runs from Palo Alto to San Jose every 15 minutes, 24/7? So awesome, even if it takes an hour). Sure beats River Road T2 WMATA.

Except the side effect is that there's no unified payment card, like the Smartrip card. Well, rather, BART accepts some sort of EZcard, similar to the smartrip card (same hardware?), but there's also Translink, which is now finally being rolled out to the Caltrain (and has been enabled on the BART side too?).

Unfortunately, I can't find any sort of fare chart for the Caltrain side of Translink - so I'm not sure it's worthwhile going with nifty technology. They're still rolling it out, but hey, it's been a week. Come on, get your act together. I want to use the shiny new toy.

For now, I'm assuming it'll cost me more than my current system, which is to buy an 8-ride pass from zone 3 to zone 3, and then tack on Zone Upgrades as necessary. The 8-ride pass, since it's zone 3 to zone 3, effectively grants me travel in any direction within zone 3 (from redwood city to sunnyvale) for about 4 hours. Zone Upgrades don't provide any sort of savings, and are technically "one way only", but there's no real way for them to verify that, as far as I can tell. (Theoretically, I could use a zone upgrade + zone 3 to 3 and travel from zone 2 to 4... they don't check tickets often enough to catch that, I think.)

Mrf. I miss my smartrip card... I lent it to visiting relatives, and either I never got it back, or it's back at home in Maryland... T.T I'm being silly though - it's not like I could use it here.

I wonder if the Translink card has any flaws... it sounds like an mishmash of stuff, since it needs to store separate values for the 8-ride status, monthly status, card value, etc. We're assuming value is stored on the card and only updated at online stations - since buses and such aren't guaranteed to be online. Would need to get a card reader, which... blargh. Downsides of being such a lazy engineer. Oh well, I've got to finish this book on Network Intrusion Detection anyhow. I've enough to do already...
ibneko: (Default)
Back from my whirlwind tour of a vacation with two of my best friends from high school. That was fun.

Eh, will post more later, including pictures. If I don't, someone poke me.
ibneko: (Default)
Whee!

I don't know french. I have a set of 8 CDs.

I may be screwed. This should be an interesting adventure. C'est la vie?
ibneko: (Default)
..with friends. Be back Tuesday, I think.

Karen's in town, wheee.
ibneko: (Default)
'cause while having lots of stuff is useful ("Ben, why do you have toy handcuffs...?" - people I lent handcuffs to for a show), I don't use... about 30% of the stuff.

And it makes packing annoying. 'cause there's lots of stuff.

Ideally, it'd be nice if I could move by throwing everything into one or two suitcases and vanish. Is the inconvenience of living out of two suitcases worth the convenience of having little to pack? Maybe. Much of the hassle is the kitchen stuff, which a relative is coming by to pick up.


-----

Also, I shouldn't get too annoyed at the roommate, who left (for good*) already and has left me a large mold splotch to deal with (on one corner of his room). While I'm not getting compensated in money, I am getting some stuff in exchange, like a rather nice looking watch that he was given and hasn't worn. Also getting a wireless keyboard.

Although I think I'm still relatively annoyed, since none of it is stuff I can use. I suppose I could sell the watch and keyboard, and maybe make use of some of the other stuff that's getting left behind, like 5+ shirts from various companies, unopened pack of pencils, assorted bits and pieces of stuff... And he's leaving books too. Mmm. Maybe I could sell some of the books... I wish I had more time, or a way to guarantee a sale in 4 days.

*He's getting a different apartment, I'm graduating.

W00t!

Jul. 1st, 2007 09:04 pm
ibneko: (Default)
Google's maps lets you move routes around now! So I can design my own route, and plan alternate ones in case of traffic.

Home to Work, a much better one than the one I was using in order to avoid traveling on Wisconsin. (too many red lights, Wisconsin Ave.)

Shall try this out tomorrow. Here's the hoping 46th and Massachusetts isn't too bad. Now if I could only find an alternative to River Rd... (stupid one-lane potomac roads... I swear, as much as I love the trees, sometimes the traffic gets a bit more than irritating.)

Oh man, I hope this AT&T Nationals thing (some golf event in our area) won't cause truly massive delays on River Rd. and Falls Rd.

(Hmmm, I could map out the bike routes I take using this too, and figure out how far I travel...)
ibneko: (Default)
Yeah. Mmm, maybe a bit of a more substantial post when the floor stop spinning, I get some food in me, and finish unpacking.

I kinda want sleep too.

-New Years Party
-Highbrow
-Karen's christmas story "challenge" thingie.. eh heh heh.
-LJ -> Xanga crossposter hasn't been running for way too long. Updates pending.

Vague announcements:
-I have a iPod Shuffle 2nd Gen. Total cost to me: $13, more or less. Expect pictures.
-The used iPod 3rd Gen that I got for free and fixed runs for a full 9 hours. Better than the expected time.
-I can issue Oink.me.uk invites again, since the remaining few days before the new year = only uploads counted, so ratio's been fixed and kicked into the green.
ibneko: (Default)
Be back the 28th. May or may not be able to find internet while I'm back there - we'll see. It's primarily a trip to see grandparents.

Damn long-ass flight ahead of us. Landing around 6 PM saturday night, Taiwan time.

--
And argh, Oink has decided to be nice and do a ratio-less week again, to celebrate the christmas/end of the year spirit. So only uploads count. So much to download (and so much to upload - must fix ratio.... o.O but that means I'll have to leave my sister's computer on. Marf.)
ibneko: (Default)
Well, no, I'm not tired. I slept on both legs of my flight on the way back here.

But yeah, home now. Now the question is, do I want to work on NaNoWriMo before I get more sleep?

11 days, more or less. 45K words. Hrrrrrm. Eh, why not. Let's go for it, shall we? =X.x=
ibneko: (Default)
Departure for home tomorrow at 3/4ish from campus -> airport, flight out at 5:40 (CT), landing in Detroit, MI (DTW) at 8:15 (ET), then 9:28PM from Detroit, MI (DTW) to Baltimore Wash, DC (BWI) at 10:56PM .

I will be returning to Illinois on Saturday, the 25th, departing early morning at 7:45 from BWI (ugh).

Most of the week will be spent on:
NaNoWriMo, ECE329 studying ('cause thus far, both exams have been below average), working on converting a bit of ColdFusion to PHP and working on Highbrow stuff. Priority falls in that order, I'm afraid, as due dates x importance.

--
http://www.devilbunnies.org/

The eternal battle between The Fudds and The DevilBunnies.

I was amused.
ibneko: (Default)
Yeah, slept for about 6 hours, from 9 AM to 3 PM upon getting home. With the help of Tylenol, things are much better now.

Let's see.. yes, I have a much better idea of what my addition to livejournal will be. It'll really be two parts:
1- a style "toolkit", that we distribute in the form of a zip file. It'll include fake/sample html pages, and the end user just edits the style.css we include in there. So all you upload is the style.css and any required images that you want hosted along with your custom style.css. It'll be based off the voxish S2 style (not live yet). And while it's also possible to just copy and paste the style.css into your voxish S2 style, the goal of the zip file that users upload is just so that users can have an easy way to trade styles.
2- a zip uploading / file management / parsing thing.

SixApart was cool. Kinda like google, I was told, but not as excessive in the employee loving. But I'd still like to work there someday - the work environment is pretty nice. Uh, I took pictures of the outside, will post them later. The inside is nothing like the outside, but I didn't take pictures~

Of the people I met, [livejournal.com profile] whitaker, [livejournal.com profile] brad, and someone I can't find anymore ^^;;; the guy who stuck around with me on the couches until I left. Hrumph. I found him on livejournal previously, but I can't find him anymore...

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