coming clean

2006.04.17 @ 00:56

the swiss re building

Our last day in the UK! Charmian led us around for a packed day's worth of sightseeing in London. We started out by walking around the City of London (i.e. the main financial district), goggling at the huge skyscrapers. Here's the Swiss Re skyscraper, standing imposingly over much smaller (and older) buildings. It looks like an artillery shell!

Borough Market, the Tate Modern, and Royal Albert Hall...Collapse )

2006.04.12 @ 01:52

staring out the window

As soon as we get off the train, Eric turns to me and complains, "Dude, I didn't get any studying done."

Me: "You're on vacation! Who the hell gets anything done while on vacation?"

Who, indeed.

Cambridge!Collapse )

2006.04.10 @ 00:56

alice's at portobello road

This was our first day wandering around London on our own, since Charmian needed to work. We decided to hit up the Portobello Road Market first. The place was pretty dead and understandably so, since it was early morning on a weekday after all. I wasn't too impressed with it, but it could've been because the standard tourist trap shops weren't open, so there wasn't anything to draw foreign suckers like me in.

Kensington Palace and the rest of Kensington...Collapse )

2006.04.06 @ 22:55

through an archway

After an awesome breakfast where I discovered that Welsh bacon is all sorts of thick and Twinings Herbal Fruit Infusions is all sorts of awesome, we drove to Tintern Abbey to do some sightseeing. The shot above is taken from the abbey's "warming room", looking out to the entrance.

Tintern Abbey, Abergavenny, and Bath...Collapse )

2006.04.01 @ 20:05

eric the driver

We decided to visit Wales while we were in the UK, so we ended up renting a car and making the drive over. I was supposed to drive (since I was the only one that could drive a stick), but unfortunately, I was incapacitated at the last minute, and we ended up in an automatic Toyota Yaris, with Eric as the driver. I think it worked out to be cheaper in the end anyway, since we didn't have to pay the under-24 renters' daily fee.

Stonehenge and Chepstow, Wales...Collapse )

2006.03.27 @ 09:11

covent garden

After an early-afternoon yum cha session at Yauatcha where we were charged £3 per pot of tea -- and we consumed eight pots of tea between the nine of us -- we hit up the touristy places along the Thames. The picture above is of Covent Garden market.

Central London goodness...Collapse )

2006.03.23 @ 01:12

waiting for departure

Taken at SFO, before leaving. Little did I know at this point that my arrival in London would be pushed back by almost three hours, due to a faulty fuel pump on the plane. The worst thing? They made us wait on the plane and refused to let us make any calls, so my 10-hour flight effectively became a 13-hour one.

Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus...Collapse )

2006.03.17 @ 02:38

Haven't posted a picture of kitty in a while, so here goes.

staring into the camera
I'm not sure, but I think he's grown a bit since I got him. I suck at gauging these sorts of things.

I'm heading to the UK for a week to visit all the UK people! Hopefully, I'll be able to provide pictures and stuff while I'm over there. I do have all the post-processing tools I need with me, after all... yay MacBook Pro!

2006.03.08 @ 00:41

Goodbye, ThinkPad and Mac mini :(

But helloooo MacBook Pro!

macbook pro logo

Apple shipped it directly from Shanghai via FedEx, and it got here on Monday -- two days before it was even supposed to be shipped (gg Apple!). Now that I've spent a bit of time with it, here are a few quick thoughts:

I'm going to be selling a lot of my other desktop components too, so this guy will end up being my main computer. I'm turning my PC into a Media Center server, on which I can store all my music and videos (and perform overnight downloads, too).

2006.02.15 @ 00:17

The SoCal trip was awesome. Saw lots of people, ate lots of good food, had lots of fun, and got lots of things accomplished.

It's good to be home, though. So exhausted. Screw driving, man -- I'm flying down there next time. Yay kittay!

2006.02.05 @ 15:13

infineon catalog sheet 1

I was at Infineon Raceway this weekend with Kelvin and his friends (J.R., Doug, Phil, and Jane) for the NASA HPDE (High Performance Driving Experience) event. Such an incredible experience. I felt somewhat like a fraud before, buying a hardcore performance car like the S2000 but having no idea how to take advantage of its capabilities, but now, I'm a lot more comfortable with driving the car hard.

The drivers in the beginner group (HPDE 1 -- my group) get assigned to an instructor, who they drive around with for the rest of the day. Robert - my instructor - had been teaching HPDE newbies for several years, so he had the teaching thing down pat and was courteous and accommodating. All groups (HPDE 1-4) get four 20-minute sessions at the track, between each of which is a "download session", where we have a group review and then one-on-one Q&A time with our instructors, and then a track session with our instructors at the helm of their cars.

I was horrible the first session. I drove like a turtle around the track, never stayed on the racing line, and got passed by a ton of slower (albeit presumably, more experienced) cars. Sitting with our instructors during their turn at the track though, was an eye-opening experience. I never even knew stock cars could be pushed that hard. It probably helped that he was driving a bright-yellow Evo VIII, but even so, it was awesome. The most surprising thing though, was that the car never felt "loose" or out-of-control - it was all exceedingly smooth. I took that lesson to heart.

The alternating track time, download sessions, and rides with instructors really help to reinforce some of the fundamentals of racing. By the end, I was passing E36 and E46 M3s, and in the ultimate form of payback, an FC RX-7 that had passed me earlier in the day. Bwhaha!

I did spin out once though (at turn 4, which I had been having difficulty with all day), and it was on my last session, which put a slight damper on my mood. Still a ton of fun though! I'm already looking into another event in a few months T_T

2006.01.29 @ 20:10

helmuuuuuut.

Haaaaaalmuuuut.

I'm doing a bunch of events in the near future that need this sort of head protection (a track day at Infineon Raceway next weekend, and then riding lessons soon after that), so I figured it'd be worth it to pick up a spiffy helmet. Goodness, it gets hot in that thing though.

I've been wearing it around the apartment, trying to get used to it and also trying to break it in. Kitty caught sight of me, and I'm sure if he could talk, he would've uttered a simple, "lol."

2006.01.16 @ 22:11

posing for the camera!

Meet Copernicus!

He's a five month-old orange tabby that I adopted on Saturday from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. The poor thing has just finished recovering from a string of illnesses spanning two medical record sheets (most cats at the shelter only had several entries on one sheet), and honestly, even when I saw him at the shelter, he didn't look like he was in great shape. The description of his personality on the placard next to his cage featured choice adjectives like 'quiet' and 'shy', and even the volunteer at the shelter said she had a hard time getting to know him, so when he started purring and batting at the finger that I poked through the cage, I knew I had found the one.

2006.01.08 @ 07:24

Newsvine! Probably most accurately described as an amalgamation of Google News, digg (without the rampant idiocy) and del.icio.us. Pretty cool stuff, though I admit that I do find digg's interface a lot cleaner. Leave a comment if you want an invite (I have twenty, apparently!)

I don't understand all the hype surrounding tagging (or at least the way most web applications nowadays implements it - I'm looking at you, del.icio.us). A purported "feature" that's absolutely sensitive to the idiosyncracies of language and the shortcomings of its user seems totally useless to me.

You were typing an entry, and came up with a new tag (that you could use to describe several past entries) just now? Great, but in order to make it useful, you have to propagate this tag to all of those relevant past entries. How do you do that? By searching for those entries using other tags, and manually entering the new tag. Can't remember what you tagged those entries with? Tough beans. Have an entry that you swore was tagged with xxx, but it doesn't show up? Tough beans. Came up with a new generic tag like cars that you want to apply to other entries? Sure, but you'll also have to apply car, automobile, automobiles, auto, autos...

Indexed searches (with intelligent result ranking, à la Google) achieves the same desired result, but does it much, much more reliably, and is therefore much, much better.

2005.12.26 @ 21:57

Serenity. Also known as The Movie That is So Awesome, It Probably Deserves Its Own National Holiday Or Something.

It's always nice to have family over for Christmas.