Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Is Everyday. Smile :)

What are you thankful for?

Family? Friends? Blessings? Twinkies? The end of Twinkies (at least for the foreseeable future)?

Whatever you may be thankful for, you can be thankful for one more thing - we live in a country that sets aside a time (albeit a single day) for all of us to join family and friends in reflection of what we have and not what we don't have. It may seem like a small gesture, but Thanksgiving results in more than a day off.

It's truly a remarkable time of the year. When neighbors invite neighbors to dinner, when someone volunteers to bring the pumpkin pie (or in my family's case, when someone volunteers to bring the hot pot meat...), or just when people tell each other, "Hey have a happy Thanksgiving!", it's a remarkable thing. Why? Everyone understands thankfulness. Everyone smiles. It's so hard to be bitter around Thanksgiving when everyone is smiling.

Being thankful on Thanksgiving day is only right. However, we should strive for more. Giving thanks should not end the moment you go to sleep that night (though it often does). It should not end at 8pm the same day at Wal Mart because you really want a new flat screen TV from Black Friday and your old one isn't good enough. It should not end Monday morning when you get back to work and grumble over the nearing deadline of a daunting project.

Actually, there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get a good deal. There is nothing inherently wrong with grumbling over deadlines for projects you understandably don't have the motivation to work on. What I'm proposing is that in everything you do after Thanksgiving, you keep the smile that Thanksgiving gave you.

What do I mean? I'm saying that you should never forget to take a step back and be thankful for what you have, especially when things don't go your way. I know it's easier said than done but if you make even a timid effort someone's going to notice the difference. Hopefully you will notice the difference too.

If you want to get a new 50 inch TV with Hulu Plus connectivity from Wal Mart on Black Thursday (err... Friday) and have the funds for it, go for it and reward yourself. However, if the person in front of you in line takes the 10th and final TV, go all bitter berry. Chill out, take a step back and smile because the 32 inch TV you'll have to return home to isn't too shabby. If you are stressed at work or school because of a project, break a little smile for all of the previous projects you were able to complete, the people who have helped you get into the position or school you are in today, or for the opportunity you have to go even farther with the completion of this project.

Take pressure off today by taking encouragement from yesterday. The principles of Thanksgiving aren't exclusive to the fourth Thursday of November. They are good as lifelong principles in general - we just happened to be reminded of them on a single holiday.

Thanks for reading. I hope this positively impacted your day. I know that just writing this has helped me reflect on what I have to be thankful for and what I need to do to stay that way.

So what are you waiting for? Smile :)

Always thankful for friends :)

Always thankful for family :)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Eat Up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Intel Update]: The Final Stretch and Interesting People

It's Olympic time. The time of the year where even when Romney insults the UK, the UK displays the wrong flag for the North Korean soccer team, and the committee dq's the Chinese badminton players for trying too hard to lose, we celebrate the people who do things right from the beginning to the very end. In other words; the ones who play to the final stretch to excel in the final stretch. I would normally go on about how Michael Phelps only won his 19th medal because of his endeavor and fight in the final stretch of the 4x200m relay and blah blah blah but that's beside the point. I don't need a segway into my next point, I just need a <br />

Bringing it back to my stay in California, this is the final stretch: June [  ]. July [  ]. The next couple of weeks are all that remain between my last month at Intel and (oh joy!) my first week as a sophomore at UW.  Hopefully I can make the most of it and hopefully the world can keep it entertaining. If these next weeks are anything like weeks past, then I should only expect more of this (just some general observations):

*For the sake of ambiguity, whenever I use the word "interesting", the definition is up to you.
  • In the office, the culture is interesting
    • Our clean rooms aren't like your clean rooms. As you can see, the fabrication room on the bottom is far superior to the eccentric pink bedroom. It's a shame no one's told the girl she isn't a princess.

    • Our vending machines aren't like your vending machines. Exhibit A: the IT vending machine. We won't be winning anybody over with the best stock of vending machine ruffles any time soon. But honestly, who cares when you have all of the world's bluetooth headsets, VGA cables, and AC power adapters are at your vendable mercy! 

    • Our chocolate isn't like your chocolate. It is worth noting that though they taste exactly the same, they are shaped like SSD's!!! Game - Set - Match.  

  • Outside the office, it's still interesting
    • We play ultimate frisbee. Lots of it. Normally I would say this isn't interesting but this article made me change my mind... ultimate is the sport of interesting people. 
    • We watch too many movies
      • For the record, $5 movie nights are evil. Call me deprived, but I have never watched more than 2 movies at a theater a month in my life. Now a week without a movie is called anti-social. If that's not bad enough, the entire office rents out the local theater for a "day at the movies". At least batman, spiderman, and brave were quality movies. My personal favorite though is abraham lincoln vampire hunter (let me be clear, it was not a quality movie).

              • -----

    • Trips to the mall are never normal (Update 11:05PM)
      • "Went to Roseville mall with peeps. Waited 21 hours for girls to find right clothes at forever 21. Spilled salsa on lap at mexican restaurant shortly after." - Peter Hu
              • -----
    • The local music store is interesting. Behold, the $1 million fender body.

(in case you actually thought the tag is legit, it's not)

  • Problem: Everything is interesting in or outside the office. Solution? LEAVE. Leave for San Francisco. 
    • There is nothing like leaving Folsom on a road trip knowing that dim sum, mild weather, and actual things to do await you at your destination. We thought happy thoughts and never looked back. 
    • On our way to SF we found this gem. YOLO county. No I didn't pull over to take this picture of the sign. I didn't want to die on the side of a road being THAT GUY taking a picture of the Yolo county sign. So I got the picture from google. #YOLO
    • We also stopped by a "bubble tea" shop that didn't really sell bubble tea as much as smoothies with tapioca. BUT they had C++ flavor so that makes them a winner in my book. Fact of the day: C++ is not a language but actually a combination of strawberry, pineapple, and orange that tastes really good.
    • As for the dim sum and other things we did in San Fran, it was all awesome. I have no photos to show for it but there may have been some Berkeley shenanigans and Mahjong tiles involved.
So, inevitably, my last weeks at Intel will no doubt be "interesting". But I look forward to them and finishing out the final stretch not only by watching $5 movies but even perhaps continuing to *cough* work hard,  *wheeze* learn new skills, and *gasp* make my internship worthwhile to me and mighty Intel. In the meantime, enjoy what remains of your summer, follow the olympics, and go USA! Ciao. 

P.S. You made it to the bottom, in which case I sincerely apologize for wasting your valuable life on my spontaneous blog post, also the product of wasted valuable life. Thank you and come again =]

Friday, June 22, 2012

[Intel Update]: A First Time For Everything

First week completed of first internship? Check. Intel is an awesome place to work and this week has been a blast. As it turns out it was totally worth leaving Seattle and venturing into the California sun (gasp.shock.awe). Meeting other interns from all over the country and even meeting some people from UW I had missed before has probably been the highlight of the week. Just as a disclaimer, I've barely done any intense work this week since most of it has been training and my manager didn't make it to the office until Wednesday so my viewpoint may be on the favorable side but that's not my problem =] (yet). Anyways here's some notes from the week!

Here are some firsts:

  • First professional fail
    • I may have missed the memo where I'm not supposed to wear a blue shirt on the first day. What could possibly go wrong when they take first day pictures against a blue backdrop? Well if you direct your attention to the right, there is my badge and no I am not wearing a white shirt. My corporate picture for the foreseeable future is my floating head. Yolo.  

  • First time using a sun deflector
    • Well, I guess it could be worse. It could be hot and humid. That being said it is still very hot. I caught 101F on my car thermometer but 108F is the record so far. That's why I was celebrating like a kid in a candy store when I discovered a neglected sun deflector under the passenger seat of my car. I can assure you it has saved my life everyday of the week so far. Things are looking up (err.. down) though. This weekend will be a cold spell so highs will stay between "chilly" 70's-mid 80's... yeah perspective is evil.  
  • First professional workspace
    • I don't know why I'm so excited by this but I've always wanted my own cubicle and workspace. I have the workspace but I'm being told my cubicle (with dual monitors =] tempting...) is still coming. But at this rate, I'm not even sure if I'll want one after acclimating to this mobile workstation. My team and I have actually TALKED to each other (*gasp*) leading me to believe cubicle walls are not the answer. Maybe I just haven't worked hard enough to need the productivity magic that is the modern cubicle. Next week things really ramp up but I'm being told that I'm going to take database data from the server room downstairs and put it through some witchcraft software and formulas to generate practical forms and graphs. Long story short, I'm going to be paid for making pie charts! My life goals are being fulfilled left and right here. Okay there's a lot of hard work and queries I need to tackle before I even get the data ready for pie charts but still... Pie Charts!!!.   
So yeah that's that. Now that I've wasted a couple minutes of your life I at least owe you a pretty sunset and a picture of a coworker's Ferrari so here you go. 

Have a great weekend wherever you are =]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meat Free Monday Week Two? A Meat Free Timeline

So it's week two of meatless Monday at UW and in fact, despite the vocal outcries of carnivore males alike, the campus has not imploded - yet. I just thought it was only appropriate to take this time to remind ourselves of the evolution of vegetarianism in the world. I personally don't have much against it, and actually I think Paul McCartney's meat free Monday song is kind of catchy (linked at the end of the blog), but you'll still find me going out of my way on the first school day of the week to get my protein in the form of meat. Without further ado , here goes. 

Behold: Pythagoras. Vegetarian and
father of a^2+b^2=c^2
500s BCE: Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and "the father of numbers" teaches that a vegetarian diet is best for the body and spirit. Later Greek philosophers would learn from him and in turn extoll the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarians, though not a majority, were a very visible and important minority. (Now, the diets of Greeks are still largely vegetarian, and Greek classical literature is known world-wide.)

1460s-1470s: Leonardo da Vinci becomes a vegetarian. As one of the most important people of the Renaissance, he impacted many people, not only in Florence and throughout the Italian states and France, but throughout Europe and the world.

1922-1924: In 1922, the state of Gujarat becomes the first political entity in the modern world to declare itself vegetarian. Then, in 1924, Tamil Nadu becomes the second political entity in the modern world to declare itself vegetarian.

2007: On June 27th, Taiwan officially becomes the third country (after Sundarapore and India) in modern times to declare a ban on meat. The three recent national bans start to send warning signals throughout the non-veg population, especially in those countries with a vegetarian majority.

2009: Former Beatle Paul McCartney, Chris Martin and Sheryl Crow launch campaign to reduce meat consumption to tackle climate change.

2012: University of Washington Seattle eliminates all meat products from the dining facilities in both the 8 and Terry Hall's Eleven 01 Cafe.

And here's... ummm... a song

Thursday, March 22, 2012

120: The number of miles to get a box of McNuggets

[Just fair warning that this blog was typed up in two hours bored waiting for a connection at the Minneapolis airport. There is only so much creativity you can muster in that kind of environment.]

This is what Spring Break is about. Just far enough detached from winter finals last week and from spring quarter next week to do the complete opposite of what school asks you to do. Nothing. If anything, ventures this week should only be justified by vacations to sunshine states or trips to get food. I went with the Ohana care group to Leavenworth, debatably for the culture and debatably for the German food.
To get there we took the road less traveled – the road that gets you from Seattle to Leavenworth in 120 miles. This translates into about an hour of scenery from Seattle to Snoqualmie and about an hour of absolutely nothing. To be fair to Eastern Washington, absolutely nothing sometimes looks absolutely stunning with snow on it but still that doesn’t excuse it from the title. It takes a special DJ mix of Kesha, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga to keep the drive interesting. But once the drive is over, it ends up being worth its while once you are in the Bavarian village.
Sadly our first stop was McDonald’s to recover from the drive and grab some McNuggets. I may have even suggested that we stop by the Starbucks. Clearly we are terrible at this recreational tourist business. However, we eventually legitimately visited town and it made me note a couple of observations. 1) The nicest people on earth work at fine jam shops. We met a store owner of berry spreads who greeted us and started talking with us about college, how his son goes to SPU, and how he recognized that some of us had the figures of string players since he was a singer and violin player. I really should have bought something from him… 2) Sauerkraut is not a suitable substitute for bread. I’ve had bratwursts from Leavenworth before in buns served with various mustards that were life changing. We went to another restaurant this time and ordered what I always ordered, sausage. This time there was no bun though. The sausage was served over the biggest bed of sauerkraut I had ever seen in my life. Let it be known that I prefer the sauerkraut on top of the bratwurst, not under it because the way it was served, I was never going to win the battle against the dish. It’s not often that I get owned by authenticity but I got pwned then. Finally, 3) nothing in Leavenworth is a better deal than a box of McNuggets. Nothing in Leavenworth was that overpriced but looking back, has civilization really been that bad for us? There is a time and place for premium ice cream, chocolates, and $15 plates of bratwurst and potato salad but for every one of them, there are 5 more times and places for $3 McNuggets. It really does make you wonder if anyone does come to Leavenworth and in the end, leave with nothing more than some photos and a box of chicken nuggets to show for it.
Clearly the debate over McNuggets versus bratwursts is a first world problem of complete nonsense. But you know what? This nonsense is alright. Everyone needs a break from reason. Students only get one week of it between winter and spring quarter, but I'll happily take it. Reason can wait.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Asian Assassin - (The Asian is just as important as the Assassin)

I hope people see Lin as the underrated
Harvard star, not the Knicks legend. 
Everyday I'm Shuffle-Lin
Okay I tire from these puns just like the rest of you but I couldn't help it. This Jeremy Lin episode has exploded silly over here, over there, over everywhere and his name is tailor fitted for an HBO documentary. I don't normally type up blogs on sports because there are enough other paid people to do that. Then why type one up on Jeremy Lin? Jeremy Freakin Lin? He's got all the hype that any professional could ever want or need. The thing is though, he doesn't want or need all of it. He is climbing the classy ladder in the NBA right now as fast as he climbs on the scoresheets. The media thinks he came out of thin air. Why would anyone care about him before he lit his last two weeks of unassuming NBA opponents on fire? People think he's become an Asian Assassin but I think he's always been one. I believe his fame stems from a two step process. I like to call the first of the steps is Assassin  and the other step Asian.

Assassin - lethal by sudden attack
This is the credibility part of the kind of fame any reserve athlete (note RESERVE athlete) gets when they step up and perform like no one has seen them perform. You don't get famous because you are bad. You get famous because on paper you are impressive. However, being bad at the beginning seems to help. Note Tim Tebow in the NFL (um... pretend quarters 1-3 didn't count) intended to be a backup QB and Chris Wondolowski in American soccer who spent years in the laughable reserve league before becoming major league soccer's leading goal scorer in 2010 and getting called up the the USA national team.  They were assassins, Wondolowski with his right foot and Tebow with his left arm (in err... the fourth quarter) because they came out of nowhere and when they showed up, they showed up in a big way. Lin showed up in a big way. If 38 points against the Lakers, a game winning 3pointer against Toronto, and 14 assists against the Mavericks is not big enough for you, you will perhaps never be convinced of anything.

Asian - A salient incomprehensible awesome novelty
This is the kind of fame not every athlete gets when they step and perform like no one has seen them perform even if they have the stats for fame. This is the part where they make a good story. Sometimes these stories start years in advance. For me back in high school, I didn't care about basketball. I didn't really care about the NBA, my school's team, or the departed Sonics. However, I oddly seemed to care about Jeremy Lin of Harvard. Why did I know about him? It's simple, he was Asian and at Harvard. It was a matter of pride. He was the only Asian college athlete prominent enough to be proud of at the time. I was proud of him because he was waving my nationality's flag. It's the same reason I feel proud of Kei Nishikori in the world tennis tour. He's the only real prominent male Asian tennis player on tour right now so I want him to do well and I feel happy when he does well. He was Asian, and that was his novelty. Before you scoff at me for calling Asian a novelty, I'm not talking about the amusing kind of novelty. I'm talking about the "a new or unfamiliar thing or experience" kind of novelty. Without that novelty, I wouldn't have cared about Lin. I would have just gone back to caring about Kei Nishikori. I'm sure I wasn't the only Asian who felt this way back in Lin's Harvard days. I thought for sure that Lin was going to be drafted and be an immediate impact player for the NBA, I thought he deserved success and that the Asian community would have an athlete to be proud of.
Well... Lin didn't get drafted, he didn't become an instant impact player, and literally speaking, everyday he was shuffle-Lin (with new teams). He wasn't getting chances, he wasn't impressing, and I thought he would never be able to come back. Being underrated out of college doesn't help and it was just pure disappointing I'm sure for him. But he was still Asian and he had yet to show that he could still be an assassin.
Fast forward to February 2012. Lin got his chance with the NY Knicks. First the double digit points (not like 10 but like 28), then the 7 straight wins, then the assists, then the fame. It's funny how these things work out. He became the impact player I hoped he could be. The media and community ate it up because it made good headlines, but this whole Linsantity thing would never have happened without the catalyst from the Asian community and from everyone else who was excited that another race had entered the fold. Asian sports fans looking for someone to affiliate rediscovered Lin the same way I discovered Lin three years ago. It is not a stretch to believe that Asian children are going to be more inspired to start playing more sports from this because of the emotion. All this and I haven't even mentioned his other novelty of Christianity and his belief in God. Now people of faith affiliated with Jeremy. In a way, Jeremy affiliated back with his fan base. He fed off of it and never disappointed. He stayed humble and took his chance. all this and the story still probably has a few chapters left before it concludes.
This is how big it was for Jeremy to be Asian. It is not something to be ashamed of, only something to unite a large and diverse community and acclimate a growing league to a new circumstance. Did the novelty present problems? Absolutely. ESPN has already fired one of its writers for a racist comment. Do I really care? As long as this general euphoria exists around Lin, I would say it is a small step back in a big step forward in the sport.

The Asian Assassin - Jeremy Lin
I hope people see Lin as the underrated Harvard star, not the Knicks legend. His full journey is what makes his story captivating. It's captivating, it's compelling, it's incredible, and it's Lin-sane. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Six For Saturday: Join the Piano Guys Bandwagon

It's a slow weekend. In fact it was coming off of an arduously slow week as well - midterms and all.  But here we are, 48hrs of weekend to reset and relax. What goes well with resetting and relaxing? Music perhaps? I want to introduce you to the piano guys if you aren't already familiar with them. This group (duo rather) is turning into a phenomenon 40 million views strong with only a cello, a piano, and some cool a/v effects. Here are six very worthy samples to pick from:

1) Music led by the force

2) Music led by the soul

3) A more mainstream selection

4) A less intense mainstream selection

5) Something young people like

6) And finally, something old people like

Are you ready to hop on the bandwagon?