Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hellos

Hi Everyone,

Yao and Jeff put me up to this post. He'll bug me everyday till he sees a post.

I bought my first set of golf clubs today and I'll be taking lessons. I figured it'll make life more interesting now that I moved to Foster City.
Yao, Frances (not sure), and Jeff will both be in the bay area this summer, We'll probably meet up for lunch during the weekends. So if anyone else is in the area, let us know.

Monday, April 25, 2005

on the recruiting trail

i just had dim sum with alice yesterday and i told her about the chen family blog. which alice, you ask? why, alice chen of course! the wait for a table was about two hours, so she was able to introduce me to the ghetto areas of the bay area while browsing through a real estate publication. who says there isn't affordable housing in california?

i think about half of you have met alice chen, so let me attempt to introduce her with what knowledge i have. alice is from sacramento, went to berkeley, and is now working in san francisco. she is older than bruce and me, but younger than jeff and alice. she also has a brother, who is probably the only cousin i have yet to meet. that's about it in a nutshell. and she has a pet named bob. who's hungry. very hungry. and eats lots of dimsum. and beef. yup.

so hopefully we will have another contributor to the saga!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I didn't know you were born on Pearl Harbor Day. On my birthday last year, Chris surprised me with a trip to Hawaii. We went to visit Pearl Harbor, it was amazing. I didn't know where we were going until I went through the security checkpoint at SFO. Anyway, here's a pic of me at the memorial.



Pearl Harbor Memorial

Friday, April 22, 2005

Cryptic Comment

So someone wrote "ploivido acel el lodillo" as a comment to one of our posts. I tried, unsuccessfully, to find out what that means. In case anyone here is as curious as I was, here are the responses. Take what you want from it.

"ploivido acel el lodillo"
Anyone know what this means? Someone wrote this cryptic comment to a blog post. After doing some research I thought that it might be Romanian. Any help would be appreciated, even if it's pointing to something else. Thanks.
Jeff

Doesn't sound like Romanian to me. Only one word sounds Romanian: "acel" which means "that".
"ploivido acel el lodillo"
Just a far fetched thought: if "ploivido" and "lodillo" were nicknames and "el" is in fact meant to be "e", this message could mean: "ploivido, that is lodillo". As I've said, it's just a far fetched thought.
Best,
Marco

The message is in Spanish but, as you said, it is very cryptic!
1. s. Ploi.project or: PLOI.MI – (Banca Pop Lodi Milan)?!
2. VIDO – Grupo de Visualización y Documentación Electrónica
3. acel – of ‘acelerar’ (= accelerate)
or: ACEL – La Agrupación de Empresas Laborales y Economía Social de Cantabria
or: Asociación Chilena de e-Learning
4. el lodillo – diminutive of “lodo” - mezcla de agua y tierra que se forma en un terreno a causa de la lluvia (= mud)
That's all I could get.
Framboise

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Beef Jerky

Helen has her extravagant recipes. And I have this.

Most of my diet for the last week or so. 5 pounds. 15 dollars. Mmmm.

Update: Doh! I KNEW I should have gotten more. I was actually going to order more but they are sold out for now. Here's where I got it. I found it on slickdeals. Beef Jerky Link

greetings from san diego

i'm in san diego right now and i just had dinner with frances and edwin. only i showed up very very late. my flight was delayed by half an hour. add that to the fact that this was only my second time driving in san deigo and i got lost, frances and edwin were probably waiting for me for quite a while. fortunately, i was able to find the restaurant after minimal circling and i was able to tell her about this super blog. so hopefully we will have another person joining the fray.

Monday, April 18, 2005

fond wishes on your day

happy birthday alice... it's past your birthday on the east coast, but it's still april 18th here!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

2nd Post

Gang,

This is remarkable. The simple act of getting this thing to post was nothing short of miraculous. Now, for some of you, this is second nature, but I lost about 45 mins worth of editing in this posting page, after hitting the spell check button. Not even the back button could retrieve the three paragraphs worth of writing. I was subsequently advised to do my editting in Word and when it comes to any additional injects, contact Jeff.

Talking to Alice and Emily this morning, I haven't the foggiest idea how people actually find the time to contribute to Bee Logs. That's what I've been calling them. I mean I barely have enough time to crawl into Bed when I get home.

For those that haven't kept up since I finished UG about 8 years ago, I'm still in the Army. I probably could have gotten out a year or so ago, but I'm still in the service. People, and let me qualify by saying those people are senior folks in the military, especially in the Army, have always recommended that I wait until finishing command before deciding whether to stay or go. Well, here I am on my second command assignment as the commanding officer for a military intelligence company. They, same type of people, also say that it's the best job in the service; that's there's no other job in the world where you get to be king or queen. While the things that these people say may be true, my only comment to this is that it's exhaustive work.

Now, where do exhausted folks find relief? From what I've been told, they go to places like BLOG and write about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. For others, they go work out. For me, BLOGs would incur more reading and writing ontop of the mountainous paperwork that I have to deal with on a daily basis. As for working out, that too is already part of our mandatory daily lifestyle in the Army. For me, I've found my escapism through rediscovering scuba diving in the past year. More particularly, technical diving. I've got a link that I'll connect you too, if and when I'm able to get Jeff's technical assist!
http://harryh97.fotofinity.com/ Let's see if this works...

OK, I think I'm sticking with Bruce's technique and trying to cap the limit on each post to reduce eye strain, and in off chance that this post gets wiped out again.

Harry
Gang,
This is great, if I can figure out how to make it work without deleting my posts. Happy B-day to Alice and Emily as well. If this post makes its way onto the B Log, then I'll plug in some more.
Harry

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bruce's Post

Good thing I waited till the end, which means I get to be on top!

The last few years have gone by more than fast and before I even knew it, I’m about to graduate college – not high school, but college. Along the way, I’ve gained some valuable friends, but have also lost touch with many other things I value, such as you guys. Before it was always the responsibility of my/our parents to ‘make’ use get together and I never had to worry about a thing. Now that the responsibility is placed on our shoulders, I’m really glad that everyone has come together for this blog (it’s a really great idea Alice!).

I’m graduating in May, assuming that I pass all my current classes with a C or better. I say that because every semester prior to this one, I have passed with flying colors, being invited to all these stupid GPA ceremonies, “minority achievers” programs, and being nominated to sit the “Board of Eons” or something like that where you get to talk with the chancellor. I never did any of it, but in retrospect perhaps I should have.

Back to this semester, I think it might be some subconscious reaction to finally finding a job (CGI-AMS – Fairfax, VA), and also graduating, but I’m really slacking off on work of all kinds. I’m also taking two 100 level geology classes and I don’t go to class because I can do fine on the tests without going to class. BUT the labs are killing me. They are early in the morning (10am!) and I always sleep through them, but they are a very significant part of your grade. I’m also done with all my business classes so I am taking international studies classes.

I’d rather write smaller but more posts, so your eyes don’t strain, especially if you have to read ALL of our posts at the same time! So happy birthday Harry, Emily, Alice, and happy half-birthday to the rest of you!

story of yao

i think the last time i saw everyone was grandma's birthday in new york (maybe 5 years ago?) so i guess i'll start from around there.

at that point in time, i was studying at michigan... which was allright i guess. halfway through my sophmore year, i decided to take a semester off to go work for intel in arizona. it was my first internship and it was also when i learned that it kinda sucks being an intern who is under 21 when all the other interns (and full timers of course) are of age. this problem plagued me throughout my internships. in my eight months there, i had a pretty fun time. but i did come to the realization that i did not like the arizona weather.

besides my extended stay in arizona, undergrad was pretty uneventful. however, as graduation starting looming closer, my lack of job leads was bearing down on me. so i panicked and applied to grad school. unfortunately, by that time, it was already too late for me to apply to the school that i really wanted to go to, but it was entirely my fault. so i did the whole grad school application thing and got into all of the schools i applied to except my safety school. go figure.

just before graduation, i was able to secure an internship with GM china in shanghai. while the pay was next to nothing, i was still excited about it. unfortunately, this was during the SARS craze in asia and my mom didn't want me to go. so i ended up doing interning in california again.

after some thought, i decided to go to grad school at michigan. i liked michigan and it would only take me a year to finish my degree. but the real reason i came back was because i thought our football team was going to be awesome. michigan did well that year and i got to rush the football field. definitely an experience worth having.

<side note> interestingly enough, i scorned going to USC because i thought their football team sucked (during my grad school year, USC beat michigan in the rose bowl and won the the real (AP) national championship).
</side note>

grad school was a lot fun for me for whatever reason. the workload was heavier, but for some reason i was less stressed about it all. probably because i didn't care too much about grades seeing as everyone does at least OK in grad school. so i really got to enjoy ann arbor my last year.

after graduating for real this time, i took 2 months off to relax. i spent about a month in australia and then some time packing for my eventual move to arizona--which is where i am now.

so right now i'm living in chandler, arizona and working for intel. nothing terribly exciting. i've been here about 9 months now, working as an industrial engineer. from the time i interviewed to now, we have had 2 organizational changes, so we will see how long i have this title for (3 months so far!). outside of work, i have been playing a lot of ultimate frisbee (couple times a week). so that's about it for me. i apologize for the lack of photos...

happy birthday harry!

happy birthday emily!


sorry about the late afternoon post, but at least i beat bruce! and finally, jeff won't be calling me at ungodly hours anymore. haha. joking....

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kenneth's Life

I've never made a real blog before, so this type of thing is new to me. I've haven't felt a need to tell everyone the stuff that happens in my life (or maybe I've never made one because I'm not a good writer). Anyway, I think that this blog is a good idea, if only to let us stay in touch and stay posted on what's happening.

All is mostly well in my life so far. I am a second-term senior right now. That doesn't mean much to me, of course (besides the fact that I don't have to worry about college applications, or SAT's, or college essays, or deadly competition, or....actually, nevermind). Well at least in terms of classes, I never did much work in the first place, so it's hard for me to slack off. I'm going to graduate in two months. That sort of makes me feel old, but at the same time, I feel young. Two of my friends turned 18 last week. They keep referring to themselves as "barely legal teens". I can't wait until my 18th birthday.

For those that don't know, I was accepted to Columbia SEAS early. Mr. Mott, my english teacher, said that he wanted to throw a party for me. Then again, Mr. Mott says a lot of things.

Tommorow, I am going to Columbia's Days on Campus program for admitted students. I am excited. I'm going to stay there for two days, so I'm finally going to get to see what the dorms look like. I actually know the rest of the campus quite well, because I have to go there nearly every Saturday, for the High School Science Honors program, and because of the summer program last summer. The summer program was great; I took the engineering course, and it was a really immersive experience. The science program is OK, we get free food every time.

There's not much else to say (or maybe I just don't like writing), so I will stop here.

Happy birthday, Harry, Emily, and Alice (on the 18th).

I know way too much about Oprah...

Well, it's been a while since I've done this whole blog thing (6 months for my own blog), but I think it's a neat way for us all to stay in touch.

I'm trying to finish up my graduation project on Oprah Winfrey, which I've been putting off for four years. I get some strange looks from people when they hear that I'm writing about Oprah, but I know someone who did "how to make a PB&J sandwich." And no, I do not watch the Oprah Winfrey Show. I'm also not part of her fan club or anything else like that. Her name just popped up in the news in March, and I thought, "I need to do something for my graduation project, why not do it on Oprah?" I'd thought it would be really neat to do it on her, but a month later and I'm sick of her. I spend way too much time thinking (and researching) about this project (besides college), because I'm afraid that I'll fail and not be able to graduate. The good thing is that after my April 21st presentation date, I will never have to read another book about Oprah (10 books from 7 libraries, isn't the inter-library loan system great?) or hear people say "WHY Oprah??!!" again.

Only 2 months till graduation, and I'm really excited. Unfortunately, I still have to do my 12p crit paper on "Cry, the Beloved Country," due in 2 weeks....

It's 12 now, and I need to wake up at 4 to drive up to Cornell. Before I sign off............Happy birthday Harry and Emily!

The Death of Eric Cartman

Did anyone see the latest South Park episode? Basically everyone starts ignoring Cartman. So he thinks he's dead and he starts crying and goes around apologizing to everyone, but they all keep ignoring him. I wonder if that reminds anyone of anything. Eric Cartman's initials are pretty cool too.

Update: In an attempt to make this less insidery. When we were younger we once did something very similar where we kept ignoring Emily and stating how sad it was that she was gone and how much we wished she was there. She kept following us and telling us that she really was there. Mean. But funny.

Part three of three - Settling in

Grad school has been so much fun. I never went to class at all in undergrad, but I love going to class now. The material is interesting to me, the teachers care, classes are very discussion like, and we chat and have fun and everything. I can't believe it but it's just great. The only thing is that (like everyone else I suppose) I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Oh well. I did get an internship from Google for this summer though. I just found out about 2 hours ago. So I'll be in northern California this summer.

Some random stuff I've been doing.
I met two cousins I've never met before, Linda and the other Alice Chen (well actually I met Alice in May). I've seen Frances a bunch of times and seen Teresa and Steve and their families. So that's been very nice.

I lost my ATM-Visa Check card in November, didn't realize it, had someone charge 1000 bucks to it, still didn't realize it, paid off the 1000 bucks, still didn't realize it, and finally found out at the end of January when I went to get some money from the ATM because we were going to Vegas. Luckily, the bank was fine with that and I got my 1000 bucks back. It was a girl too because the first stop was Pottery Barn, and there was some store called Baby Nay in there too.

I've been collecting furniture off of the street. I got a heavy executive desk that took us an hour to move using a shopping cart. This is what I've been sleeping on.


We finally hit the jackpot in January though. I got a tip from our apartment manager about some furniture in an empty apartment. So we went and got that. After moving furniture from 3am-6am, and some heavy bleeding on my part (I actually left a very visible trail from that apartment to ours), we ended up with two nice couches, a corner table, two lamps, a single sofa chair, a dining table and chairs and a few other things. Our place looks infinitely better now. We promptly threw our old furniture out. Unfortunately for the workers there, we missed the garbage can.

Part two of three - Arriving in LA

So I got to LA at the end of August and my mom went with me. I had secured an apartment way back in May. It's a long story, but the basic idea is that she found out that I was living next to a cemetary. And she had this nightmare where Helen told her that I shouldn't live there. So, I moved.

The next place I lived at was pretty nice at first glance but turned out to be terrible. The guy who I was renting from called himself Sinjin even though his name was actually John and he was, well... morally suspect. He was subleasing one room to me in the two bedroom apartment he was renting. He rented out half of his room to this kid. He rented out the couch to a mentally disabled girl for more than I paid. He lived off our rents so he didn't have a job and hung around the apartment all day. He also had this ongoing craigslist post. It says looking for laidback girl - free rent in exchange for errands. So these girls call, and he makes it sound all good and stuff. When they get there he makes them clean. Then he lies and tells them that the person in the main room (me in this case, but this has been going on for a while) will be leaving soon so they will be in my room when I leave. For now, sleep on the couch (he has 3 couches). So they agree, but then they find out that I'm not leaving. So they usually get mad, but they are pretty much stranded there until they find a new place. And until they find a new place, they need somewhere to stay, and in order to stay there, they have to do all this work for him. And he makes them do a ton of work. Besides cleaning, he makes them get dinner, do laundry, dial phone numbers for people he wants to talk to, and anything else he can think of. And if he doesn't like them, he kicks them out even if they beg to stay for just one more day. And that's just one example and there are many more. Plus, even with all the cleaning girls the place stunk anyways. My room was the only place that I could really stand being in for long periods of time. Not that it was all that bad... the place itself was big and nice and he treated me fine... it was just how he treated everyone else that bothered me.

So I was actively looking for a third place. The next place had 3 bedrooms, I would have one of them, these two guys had another, and these two girls had the third. But then the girls dropped right after I moved in, but before we signed anything. We ended up squatting there while we looked for my fourth place. We finally found a two bedroom and so I'm living with those two guys. They're pretty cool so everything's been pretty good so far. This all happened in the first month and a half I was in LA.

A Snowy April Greeting from Boston

No, I am not kidding...we actually got snow here in Boston yesterday. The usual April showers were replaced by big fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky. Boy, do I envy you West-Coasters, but alas, I will be here in New England for another 2 more years. In case some of you haven't heard already, I will be going to MIT Sloan Business School starting late August. I'm pretty excited about it, yet at the same time totally stressed out about it. (What else is new?) I know it's supposed to be a really fun yet intense two years, but as usual, I have no idea what I want to do when I "grow up", especially after I get out of business school. But time will tell, and I'll eventually find something or another to do. As for the time before school starts, I'm planning on going to Hawaii for a week or so, which I'm totally psyched about. A friend of mine is spending the summer there, so I'll be able to explore the island and soak up the rays with her. I will be staying on Honolulu Island so if anyone has any suggestions about places to visit, restaurants to eat at, etc., do let me know!

In terms of other news about my life...there really isn't much. There is always the occasional not-so-subtle hints that my parents try to drop about how Calvin and I should get engaged just because we've been going out for so long, but I usually try to ignore them.

Conversation 1:
Mom: I was talking to an old friend a few days ago and she told me that her and her husband got married when he started his residency. Maybe you guys should do that to.
Me: ?!?

Conversation 2:
Mom: So... Calvin's coming up on his fourth year of med-school, right? I heard 4th year is always pretty relaxed. Maybe that might be a good time for you two to get married.
Me: !?!

My mom then tried to explain to me her logic about how men increase in value as they get older, but how women decrease in value as they age. To which I responded, don't worry, Calvin will not dump me over a wrinkle. Well, I didn't really say that aloud, but I certainly thought that.

In other Chen Family Saga news...my parents are finally renovating the house! After years of talk about moving to NJ, then years of talk about moving to Shanghai, they've finally come around to just remodeling our second floor. Construction will begin in May and hopefully end by June, so if anyone is planning on visiting "76 St.", try to plan around those dates. In actuality, there's not going to be much of a remodeling done...just a changing of the red carpet and fixing of the walls and ceilings. They claim that they may turn one of the rooms into a dining room, but I will believe it when I see it. More likely, they will just add more strange "exercise/health-promoting" equipment that resemble medieval torture-machines to the already cluttered room.

One last anecdote before I hurry off to my Taekwondo practice. About a month ago, my boss decided to leave the company and go join a hedge fund. (A very popular trend right now.) Well, he's always been intrigued by the fact that I, such a small-statured girl, hold a red stripe in Taekwondo. So in "celebration" of his last day, I decided to perform a board breaking demonstration in my office. I came dressed to the nines...with my crisp white Taekwondo uniform and my red-striped belt. Everyone in my group, and then some, gathered in the hallways to watch this spectacle. I even had Calvin come to the office to properly hold the 1-inch thick pine boards for me. Before I began my board breaks, I decided to introduce each of the techniques that I was about to do. My first technique was called an ax-kick. Of course, all my coworkers heard "ass-kick" (pardon my french) ... despite my insistence on it being the "ax-kick". And so with that fumbled introduction, I turned to face the board with my fists clenched and my foot stiffened ready to strike down on the board. I made a loud "kiyup!" sound and swung my leg up...only to bounce right off the board and fall on my "ass". How appropriate for an "ass-kick". That didn't phase me, however, as I got right back up and made for a second attempt. Much to my embarrassment, I flew off the board again but this time fell backwards into a wall. By now, my coworkers were really holding their breaths and sweating beads, wondering if in fact I could break the board or would the board break me first? Luckily, the third time was the charm, and I kicked clean straight through the board as my coworkers exploded into applause and whistling. I then finished up with 2 more breaks - a side-kick and an elbow-strike - both of which I was able to accomplish on my first try. By the end of it, my coworkers had formed two lines down the hallway and insisted that I run through it slapping high-fives to everyone. At that moment, I felt like an NBA superstar... my boss even asked me to autograph one of the broken board pieces for him! That day was the highlight of all of my work days...

Anyhow, I've rambled on long enough. I hope this message finds everyone well and I hope I will see all of you sometime soon again. Happy birthday to Harry and Emily!

Part one of three - Wisconsin

I left Wisconsin in August. Wisconsin may not seem like much, but I lived in a cabin of which the back porch view looked like this. I had a jetski too.


During the winter we went ice fishing. And see that pole? Yao dropped it in the lake. About 10 seconds after I specifically told him not to. We had to build a contraption using two coat hangers and a shovel to get it out.


The job I quit was cushy and I couldn't get fired from it even though I did the most outrageous stuff, including 5 hour workdays and some tampon incident which went straight to the top of the company in about two hours. Plus my cubicle looked like this.


I challenged everyone to tug of war right before I left. You can click on the picture to enlarge it... it's funny to look at everyone's facial expressions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Introduction

So this started out when Alice suggested we do a birthday present for Harry from the cousins. The idea was that we'd all send a little something to him saying what we've been up to. Well then we decided that it would be nice if we could all listen in on everyone's lives. And that's how this blog started. After it's accomplished its task, we'll leave it here and see where it goes. Perhaps it will turn into something ongoing where we can share stuff and read stuff about each of us.

Besides, I always sort of wanted to have a blog. But it just seemed a big waste of space to have a whole thing all about myself. I didn't think I could handle the pressure of keeping my readers interested either. Well this solves both of those. I guess I'll stop with that.

Happy Birthday Harry