Friday, December 19, 2008

snowed in and karaoke paradise

We finally had a snow storm yesterday after days of forecast warnings that came to naught. Actually it was kind of funny because they keep warning that it will snow in Wednesday so everybody got all prepared, the school closed down, people stayed home etc etc. But it was perfectly clear on Wednesday, and apparently this was the reason.

You see the large amount of green ? That is all snow storm, you see that hole in the middle where we have perfectly clear weather? that is us. thats right. But finally on Thursday, our snow bubble burst and we got the full onslaught. Although, for once, the west side got the bulk of the dump while my house only got the very edge of this Canadian storm front.

So being at home, and couldn't remote into work because the other 30,000 people were also trying to remote into work at the same time. I decided to put my exciting plan for Karaoke Paradise into action.

Now I have like 3 karaoke machines at home of various age. The problem is tho, I don't have songs to go with them, and I don't want to keep changing disks every 3 songs. So it is highly inconvenient. Now I was thinking originally of buying a karaoke machine in China like we did a long time. But after shopping around I realize apparently home karaoke is no longer popular in China. People just go to a karaoke place where they can sing and get food for like 10 yuan or something ridiculous like that. So the selection is seriously lacking. Then i have found out that my friend here has a home karaoke setup using a laptop, Internet connection and a microphone mixer. So I decided to copy that. Now, I couldn't convince myself that I need a $700 laptop so I can sing karaoke so I decided to rebuild my old machine (the one that the hard drive died). it still have everything intact, except it is missing the HD and a CD player for booting. So I took my old DVD drive off my new uber-machine so I can put it back into KP machine. I also have a spare 80gig IDE HD Cloud gave me when I was whining about my HD last time so I figure it is all a go.

The machine assembly was relatively easy, although the master-slave thing gave me so much trouble because I keep switching them around and the DVD won't boot. So after I got that set up. Time to install XP pro. A process I have only done like 5000 times before. The first time it was a success. I installed everything, hooked the machine up dual monitor with a spare monitor (for song selection) and my plasma ( for mtv). Now all i have to do is upgrade to SP2 get the 1000 security updates and download a karaoke program with songs. It all went downhill from there. Right after I upgraded to sp2, the machine wouldn't boot. It says

file is corrupt or missing : system32\config\system.

Now this is kind of a serious error. I thought maybe I corrupted the registry when I was installing sp2 cause I really was forcing it down its throat pretty fast. So I tried like 10 more times to install XP using various different options like deleting old partition, quick format, full format. And none of them worked. GRRR!! so my next plan is of course.. whine to Velius. Velius is awesome as he suggested that I wipe down the install disc and try again. Amazingly it worked! This time everything was perfect until I decided it is a good idea to upgrade to sp3! boom, the error is back. After almost tearing my hair out. I have decided the failed HD drive curse of 2008 is still with me and there is only one solution to this problem, a new SATA HD from newegg. When all else fails, throw more money at it =P

oh and this is the mixer I ordered.

So now i have to wait another week or so before continuing my KP saga.

Monday, December 15, 2008

4th place again

I really enjoyed tonight's trivia game despite coming in 4th AGAIN!! We are so close everytime. We had about 8 people there, well 7 + one guy who only wanted to have dinner but we forced him to join haha. He contributed the answer to "Christie Hefner to step down as CEO of this company". Which everybody guessed but he actually knew haha. We had some really good answers coming out of nowhere. Like CloudSix knowing the TV theme to Air Wolf.(??) Tyrtle knew the compound that was used to grow cartilage for joints. We totally rocked the country names with Z in them category, including three countries in Africa that has Z but doesn't start with them. Did great in "current events", not so well in "this day in history" (forgot to study). and Kirason, Tyrtle, and I totally embarrassed the rest of the team by cheering for the theme to Xena The Warrior Princess (WOOT!!)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

CL visits Seattle

The weekend went by super fast. I took CL to the airport last night and everything is back to the same old stuff again. I had a really fun weekend with CL. It turned out to be really good weather on all 3 days which is so rare in winter here. CL joked that he brought good weather with him and I am glad. On Friday, M dropped him off at Pikes Place Market while we were at work. Then, we had dinner with Snoopy at Tamarind Tree, this nice Vietnamese restaurant tucked in a corner of chinatown. CL is a vegetarian so it took some thinking trying to find appropriate restaurants but I think I made some good choices thanks to Snoopy's help. Afterwards, we spent some time chatting and I showed him my vacation pictures (Xbox comes in so handy). I haven't talked to CL in 4 years and even then we barely hung out so it was nice to getting to know him again. He didn't seem to change much, but then he says neither did I haha.

On Saturday, Kirason and I took CL to the Space Needle, Kerry Park and EMP. I haven't been up on the Space Needle for a while but I really enjoyed the trip. It was a particularly clear if not sunny day. We could see every detail of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics. Kirason and I also amused ourselves at their new display that shows the panorama view at different times of the day. If you rotate the time dial really fast, you can see the ferries and sail boats come in and out all through the day. It was fascinating. Then at night, we crashed CoreSD's holiday party at McCaw Hall. They showed a special performance of the Nutcracker ballet. Then afterwards, they had a live band going, a piano bar and lots of food and drink. Everybody was dressed up and we got to see lots of friends. I really enjoyed the party.

On Sunday, I decided to try this vegetarian place at U-District called "Veggie Veggie" (so unique i know -_-). I found it on the intertubes. It actually turned out to be really good and they had these soy fish that had the exact texture of fish meat. I wonder how they did that! After lunch my schoolmate Tris came down from Vancouver to meet us. We also met up with Snoopy again so we had a mini reunion. I took them to Alki Beach for the amazing night view and then hotpot for dinner. I am quite proud that everything went off without a hitch since planning really isn't my strong suit at all. Even Snoopy said I did a good job :D.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not the End

Ok. Velius was saying that the title of my last post is like an ominous omen that signals my abandonment of this blog. So I figure I better come and start posting again. I mean I have to at least keep pace with Snoopy right?

I am looking forward to the weekend because my friend from college CL is coming up to visit. I haven't talked to him since I graduated so I am sure we have alot to catch up on. Of course I also have to plan out his visit but now that I have experience planting the Veggie trip it should be a breeze. I will probably take him to the Space Needle and then Kerry park, Pike place market and pioneer square. On Saturday Night, We are going to go crash the Core OS group's holiday party at McCaw Hall. THey are watching a performance of Nutcracker! How cool is that. Our xbox party is at some club with "macabre entertainment". not interested humph..

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The end

This now conclude my very interesting and fun trip to China. I almost made it to daily blogs but I did try my best haha.

I really enjoyed spending time with my family and especially my niece. This is the longest time I have ever spent with a baby. It is amazing to discover how curious and intelligent they are. She is only 6 months old and she is already very adept at getting what she want. She already learned that if she smiles at people, they will pick her up haha. So she does this kind of a fake smile but it is still cute as hell. She is constantly observing everything. You can tell she is absorbing knowledge like a sponge. I can't wait to see how much she's grown next time. ALthough she won't remember me at all :(

finally, in keeping with the banquet theme:

day..something+1: Qi Xia Temple

I must fit in one last temple visit in NanJing haha. The second day in NanJing, we went to Qi Xia Mountain. It is another famous mountain in NanJing, but it is a little bit out of the way since most of the people go visit Zhong Shan mountain. We decided to go because this mountain is covered in Maple trees, and by November they are usuallly fiery red so it made for a beautiful hike. Alas, when we got there, there were no red maples to be found. Apparently Nanjing was uncommonly hot this year and the trees don't turn red until a chill so we were thwarted. We even hiked half way up the mountain as M was determined to see some red leaves. But we didn't make it as the sun was so hot. -_-!!!

Set at the bottom of the mountain is Qi Xia Temple, A buddhist temple built in AD 489. It also houses the National Buddhist school so it's a very serious place and not that touristy. It was kind of ironic though because as I walked in, there are red banners everywhere from different associations saying "best wishes to the Qi XIa Maple Festival opening success". Considering how crazy the weather is I find that highly unlikely hahah. We also encountered a memorial ceremony going on in the temple in the back. It is a tradition where the grieving family asks the monks to pray over the deceased so that he can go in peace. I have never actually seen one in person so I took a peek at a respectful distance. The family had traditional paper stuff to burn so that the deceased can use it in the afterlife. In addition to the normal "mountain of gold", "mountain of silver". They also had a two story house, complete with furniture and decorations, and a garage with a car inside. It is a fascinating insight into the convergence between tradition and modernity.

After this visit, we again had a banquet on the river of the QingHuai River (where the famous FPS checkpoint doorway was lol). QingHuai river is famous for its night scenery. It has a night market and it is the favorite spot for all the tourists. They did not allow any tall buildings to be built around the area, and no cars are allowed inside so it is a little space of rest( but not peace haha) in the middle of the big city. The restaurant is called "family on the QingHuai". They have live performances while you eat and they are famous for a 16 course meal where they introduce you to NanJing cuisine (in very small dishes hehe).

Unfortunately, after we got home, we learned that during the weekend, the D trains are going into maintenance, and they are cutting 8000 seats everyday. In the panic of not finding tickets later, we decided to return to ChangZhou the very next day, and called my cousin in ChangZhou to buy train tickets to ShangHai. It turned out to be a great idea as my cousin called back and said that there were only 5 seats left for the train 3 days later.


ok ok, yall are right, I am a total slacker haha. but in my defense, really nothing much happened since I came back from HangZhou. I spent the rest of the time sleeping, eating and shopping. Except for 3 days where I made a side to NanJing to visit my father's family. I was actually pretty nervous since the people from the two sides of my family actually hate each other and they never talk. This time I am taking M with me so I have no idea how it will go. It didn't help that M and I had a small fight the night before cause she thinks I am being inconsiderate making her staying at my aunts. Since she was afraid my aunt will give her the cold shoulder. I felt really bad since I haven't fought with her in like 5 years. Looking back it was partly my fault for not giving her enough assurance that wouldn't happen. So there was alot of tension. But it all turned out relatively alright. I can tell deep down, they still feel all awkward, but at least on the surface, it was all civility and politeness. That is all I can ask for.

So while in NanJing, there are of course more banquets. My aunt took us and my favoritite cousin to this great restaurant in the shopping district the first day. I had many famous NanJing dishes like the Salted Duck and Tofu Skin soup and Lions' Head that Velius talked about. I was lucky in that the week I went coincided with the International Urban City Conference in NanJing. My aunt says that in preparation, the entire city was cleaned and wiped spotless so it will look good for westerners. (so typical). But the benefit is that everywhere is super clean and have good service haha. I was able to ride the spankin new subway that took people across NanJing city. that was really nice too.

The next day, we went to visit Treasure Ship Park. It is a new park built after I was there 2 years ago. In the late Ming Dynasty (1400s). A Eunuch, Zheng He was given the mission to take a sea faring ship to explore the rest of the world. He started out from Yangtze River in Nanjing, and did about 7 trips going as far as the cape of Africa before he lost the favor of the emperor and the empire closed its doors until modern times. A couple of years ago, they found the original shipyard in NanJing and excavated lots of equipments for making ships and many artifacts during that time. So they created it into a park. In the park, there is a to scale replica of Zheng He's flagship. It was a humongous 5 level thing that I am sure can carry a thousand people at least. It was really cool to read about Zheng He's exploits and all the places he visited. It was really sad though to see how much difference there was between his trip and the European's. The Europeans started trades, and brought back lots of treausre and money for their country. But Zheng He instead took lots of gifts to other countries and didn't take anything back. Maybe if he was able to make money, they wouldn't have stopped his trips. It seems like a such a waste when they basically negated all his achievements and destroyed all his boats.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

day 8: temples in the rain

More rain today! it was pouring today which has really affected our plans. we had decided to go visit LinYin Temple and Yue Fei Mausoleum. LingYin temple is this huge Buddhist temple in HangZhou. It is really old and really wealthy. in front of it, there is a small mountain that is made entirely of rocks, and in a bunch of rock caves at the foot, there are many buddha carvings from the Song and Yuan dynasty. This is the first time I have seen rock buddha carvings (don't count the ones from that island tourist trap). It was really interesting to see how the style have evolved over the years. the rain had made this part really difficult cause all the rocks are slippery, but also it means less people so we can enjoy the caves without 500 tour groups walking through.

The temple itself is extremely big and well maintained. I was happy to see that apparently this is a serious buddhist temple where monks live and study. They don't solicit you for money or want you to buy crap all the time. And they don't charge you 5 dollars to hit the bell or whatever. This makes me respect them that much more. I saw the cafeteria where monks eat. Man, they all eat this HUGE bowl of rice.

After the temple, we decided to go to Yong Fu Temple, an older, smaller temple on teh backside of LingYin. due to its small size and location, almost no one was there except us. it was really nice to walk there as the rain and the empty courtyards really made me feel at peace. It was a really good atmosphere. I am really glad I went.

Yue Fei Mausoleum is of course famous because Yue Fei is buried there. He is a Song General that is famous for fighting for his country, and then wrongfully executed by the emperor. it was like one of the biggest wrongs in Chinese history. I wanted to visit there and pay my respect. They had his evil accuser's statues prostrating in front of his tomb and I saw everybody spit on them as they walk by haha.

it was very different seeing HangZhou in the rain, West Lake looked completely different. So I was glad to go out today even though my pants got all wet :)

day 7: shopping day

I was glad we got to go see the lake yesterday as the weather forecast, which is much more accurate than the one for seattle, predicted 3 days of rain. So Sun decided to take us shopping. We first stopped at a mall where they carry very luxurious items like LV and Coach bags. We walked around and pretended we wanted to buy stuff haha. Aftet that, We went to the famous HangZhou silk market to look at cheap scarfs. Now I am horrible at bargaining because I don't know enough about the base price even though now I have learned how to say the right things to haggle. Sun, on the other hand, is an expert. Our greatest accomplishment was to buy a scarf for M. original asking price 215 yuan. final sell price: 35 yuan. @_@

day 6: Heaven on Earth

There is a saying in chinese :"In the sky there is heaven, On earth there is SuZhou and HangZhou". This is a testament to the beauty of the two cities. Now I have been to Suzhou and while it has very beautiful gardens, I felt like it has fallen into disrepair and decay over the years. HangZhou, on the other hand, has developed its environment along with its industry and preserved all the great scenery. It totally lived up to its "heaven" title.

Today, I walked around West Lake, which takes about 3 hours if you don't stop and look at anything. I of course took all day as I had to look at EVERYTHING. We had a rare sunshine day today. The sky was blue, the breeze was cool. It was a perfect day for a lake trip. West Lake has various scenic spots around it that are little gardens in themselves that you can walk around, and in each pavilion, long hall way and bridge, you can see a different view of the lake. It was incredible. ALmost every corner we turn, we saw a different aspect of the lake, and the mountain surroundng it.

In the morning, we climbed GuShan, which is this small hill that overlooks the lake. It was still misty and cool in the morning, and we got to see West Lake shrouded in mystery. After that, we climbed down the other side and walked on SuTi, a pier that goes across the entire diameter of the lake. There are 6 bridges on the lake and each one is different. the entire walkway is full of willows, flowers, pavilions. I noticed when I was walking, how quiet it was. The only cars allowed on the causeway is these small open air tour busses that uses special quiet engine. All the boats and ferries on the lake also uses the quiet engine so you almost hear nothing of the city beyond. You can tell they put alot of thought into the maintenance of this area.

At the other end of SUTi, is a scenic spot called 'fish watching in the flower garden". There is a pond in there with thousands, I mean literally thousands of those red chinese goldfish. they all come ot the surface and expect to be fed haha.

Of course, i had to plan a banquet into the day. I decided we have to eat at the most famous restaurant in all of HangZhou 楼外楼. It is originally built in the 1800s and is the only restaurant allowed on the side of West Lake. they are famous for a variety of dishes that i will post pictures later. We sat outside so we got a lakeview while we ate. The price is actually not bad. It is about twice as expensive as normal restaurants. check that off my list of things to do.

After dinner, we decided to keep walking along the lake. We saw a musical fountain ala Bellagio, some very interesting bars and tea houses. At night, every single building along the lake is lit up, in fact, the entire hill of GuShan is lit up at night. every single tree has a light. It looked awesome. I can't imagine their electric bill tho. Also, we had to stop at the WestLake Hyatt for the cleanest bathroom in the land. In addition to having real toilet seats, they actually have Paper towels!!. They must have been imported from somewhere cause I have not seen paper towels anywhere else and they don't sell them in the market. I wish I can carry that Hyatt bathroom with me, alas, we were only able to steal a bunch of paper towels.

Monday, October 27, 2008

day 5: tour groups are all the same

M was very excited to go see the YaoLin caves after hearing my aunt describing it. My aunt has travelled many places around China as part of her work benefit (she is the onsite doctor at a factory). So if she says something is good, usually she is right. so we decided to join a tourgroup for a day trip. The tour groups are really abundant and convenient in China. You can basically join a tour group to about any scenic spot that is worth visiting. Everything can be arranged online and it is highly customizable. they will even do a individual tour just for you if you have enough money. It is all really reasonably priced as well. that is the up side.

the downside tho, is that the schedule is extremely tight. They basically forces you to go through everything about twice as fast as any normal human being ought to. Especially if your tour group is big, the whole time is spent listening to the tour guide asking one person or another to hurry up. The other big downside is that they always want to make you to buy stuff. At the end of your tour, they take you to like a tea factory, silk factory, pottery factory etc etc. whatever the local product happens to be and you have to sit and listen through some sales pitch and they hope you buy stuff. It is alot like a timeshare presentation actually haha.

I have noticed this year that services has been getting tons better, they don't pressure you as much to buy stuff anymore. most companies now has a policy that the tour guides are strictly forbidden to take any tips. this way it prevent them from trying to solicit you. So the experience is much more pleasant. And if you encounter a good tourguide, the talking is really entertaining as well.

Ok, that is enough about the love/hate relationship I have with tour groups. Our day was divided into 3 parts, in the morning we went to visit this man made tour spot called Grandmother's House. It is basically a replica of a traditional farm house. Not very exciting except for this one house that is actually 400 years old, built in the Qing Dynasty. It is now preserved as a museum. It is basically a home temple for ancestor worship. It was really big and every single corner was covered in beautiful carvings. interesting, M says that our old family house was like this before it was all taken away in the Culture Revolution. She lamented that I was born too late to enjoy our opulent rich lifestyle. But I don't know man, how opulent can it be when you don't have flushing toilets? hmm

After this brief tour, we rafted down this really shallow river on rubber boats that seats 4. It was pleasant but really nothing exciting except for the fact our personal rower was amazingly experienced and he only gets 5 Yuan (less than a dollar) for each trip of backbreaking rowing. He says he can only do about 2 trips a day before he die of exhaustion. poor dude. I totally felt like a capitalist oppresor

After lunch came the most exciting part of the day, the Yaolin caves. this limestone cave is supposed to be the biggest in China, streches one kilometer in depth and covers an area of 28000 square meters. The place is really too amazing and too hard to describe. I am just gonna have to post some pictures. I heard that there are some really nice ones in the u.S. too, like that one near Austin. But I haven't been to any of them to be able to compare.

Third part of the day is the sales pitch. we got some green tea and silk bedsheets pitched to us. All in all, not too bad, at least we got to drink the tea hehe.

day 4

Didn't really do much today, which I am thankful for as the first 2 days kind of drained me. I went to pick up the luggage at ChangZhou airport. It was really really tiny and they just put my bag in the airport personnel office. Thank goodness everything worked out in the end. only now did my heart finally calm down.

After picking up the luggage, we took the long distance bus to HangZhou, which is the hometown of the renowned scenic park, Westlake 西湖. M's best friend Sun has an apartment there so we are going to visit her and various tourists spots around. The bus took about 2.5 hours and it was not as comfortable as the train but it can't be helped as HangZhou is in a different province and there are no direct trains. I am really looking forward to touring the lake as there are thousands years of history around this lake and it is just full of ancient temples and gardens.

Of course some banquets were involved later for dinner. HangZhou's food is very delicate and mild. the people here are very big on the easy lifestyle, they have much more discerning taste than the much smaller city of ChangZhou. The entire city is very well organized and there are greeneries everywhere. I think it is a great town to vacation in.

During the banquet I have decided I must forgo the planned trip to Huangshan as I was just exhausted from the nonstop action the past 2 days. After experiencing a little bit of HangZhou, I have decided to spent a few leisurely days here to just sit and soak in the people and history. But before that, there is still one more day trip to make. tomorrow, we are going to visit the famous YaoLin caves.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

day 3: WuXi 无锡 - the new old stuff

Alas, no banquet today. We went to a neighboring town of WuXi to visit some famous garden, and just to make Velius jealous, we went to this park where they have the movie set for the tv series "Romance of The Three Kingdom". You can walk around and they have shows about stories from ROTK. It is really cool.

I am too tired to write now, Will have to add more details later after my nap.

ETA: Alright I am back and refreshed.

So WuXi is about 1 hour away by car from ChangZhou. The funny thing is that the dialect there is completely different from ChangZHou and I can't understand any of it. Amazing how people can communicate before. we decided to go there because it is on the shore of 太湖 Tai Lake, this really beautiful lake that is the subject of many poems in Chinese history. So there are many beautiful gardens, and temples and houses along the shore. It is a good place to go for a day trip.

We decide to take the train. The newest train in China is the D train (动车). It is the fastest and has the best service. It is kind of like Shinkasen in Japan. The trip from ChangZHou to WuXi only takes about 15 minutes. It is really cheap too, the economy class seats are only 12 yuan (2 dollars). The first class seats, which is similar to first class on airplanes but with bigger leg room, is only 10 yuan more. They also have the cleanest bathroom I have ever seen on a train! You can totally tell progress in China by how clean the bathrooms are. They have been getting cleaner and cleaner every year I've been back. Now if only they would have real toilet seats instead of a hole in the ground.

After we arrived, we asked one of my uncles to drive us to 蠡园 (Li's Garden)。 This is a house that was built in the 20s so it is not that old. But its owner spent an enormous amount of effort to make it as authentic and as traditional as possible. the result is this gorgeous garden house that is very typical of southeastern Chinese architecture. There are ponds inside of gardens, surrounded by pagodas and all hidden away behind these rock mountains. I really loved it because it is still new enough that things have not started to fall apart and yet it has that very ancient feel. The reason it is called Li's garden is due to the legend of Fan Li and Xi Shi (one of the 4 most beautiful women in Chinese history). Supposedly xi Shi was born on the shore of Tai Lake and this is where the couple finally retired to.

We were seriously running behind on schedule because Li's Garden was so much fun to walk through even though it really isn't that big (still ridiculous large for one person to live in). Next stop is 鼋头渚. Turtle Head Peninsula on Tai Lake. This place is just famous for nature scenery and its view of Tai Lake. I actually made a mistake here as we decided to follow the tour route the tour map suggested which took us to this island Three Hills Island first. It turned out they have built a bunch of really fake photo spots on there, like a fake temple, and fake carved rock Buddha and many many touristy shops. OMG, it was horrible. Total waste of time and the boat ride took really long time. We were totally cheated. The 2 hours we spent there could have bene spent wandering around the hiking trails around the peninsula as they do have really great view of the lake and the mountains. By the time we came back from the island, we were pretty much out of time and had to run to the next stop.

Ok, now comes the fun part. At the end of the day we made a quick visit to 三国城. This is a theme park made from the leftover movie set from the tv series "Romance of the three Kingdom". They still use the set for other period films too. But when it is free, they let people buy tickest to go in and walk around. We visited SunQuan's palace, the navy camps of Caocao and SunQuan for the Battle at Red Cliff among other things. The coolest thing there is that they have this show that is the battle at Hu Lao gate where the Liubei, GuanYu and Zhangfei fought Lu Bu all at the same time. it was really awesome show. Everybody was on horses and they had real duels and fireworks and charges of the infantry. This show was better than any other one I have ever seen at another theme park. I took video too. It was totally worth the trip!

Come to think of it, my entire WuXi trip consisted of fake old stuff haha, I saw garden built in the 20s,fake temples aka tourist trap, and a movie set for Three Kingdom!

day 2: banquets!

After sulking all day yesterday about my lost bag, I was ready for some fun! My cousin drove M and me to the Heaven's Eye Lake (天目湖). It is this manmade lake very close to ChangZhou. The lake is surrounded by 6 mountains and was made by damming a river which they are using for electricity. It is relatively new lake built in the 90s. Besides their beautiful scenery, the one thing they are famous for are the Fish Head Soup!. They have the best 灰鲢鱼 around for the famous dish because the water is so deep there the fish never has a chance to burrow in mud which gives them that slightly muddy taste. So the fish head soup at Heaven's Eye Lake is suppose to be the best among all. So we went to the best restaurant besides the lake and had fish head soup. It came in a humongous bowl and was amazingly good and way too much for three people. That was basically all we had for lunch.

After lunch, we did a tour around the lake. THey have these small chains of islands in the lake which has hiking and various demostrations of tea making and pottery and stuff. The weather was sunny, the water was blue and it was a great time.

Oh and the most important thing! while I was hiking, China Southern called to politely inform me that they found my bag and it is gonna be on a plane to changZhou tomorrow! WOOT!!! apparently they do have awesome service! (well it would be better if they didn't lose it in the first place and force me to wear the same shirt every day).

After our lake trip, it is time for another banquet! This time our whole family went to "My Hotpot", A hotpot place near our house which has individual hotpots!! instead of having to share a big wok and duel with others for your piece of meat. You get this individual tiny hotpot and you can eat to your hearts content.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

day 1: anguish!

Apparently my aunt's new place has awesome internet so yay for me. I have arrived safe and sound in ChangZhou after about 20 hours of sitting in airplanes. On second thought, perhaps my flight plan wasn't the best of ideas. My original plan was to go

Seattle-> LA->Guangzhou->Shanghai _train-> to Changzhou

this way it ensures i get into shanghai in the morning so i can have a leisurely train ride to ChangZhou. but really according to the actual route travelled by the airplane, this is what actually went down:

seattle->LA -> Seattle->Seoul->Beijing->shanghai->Guangzhou --> Shanghai ->train-> to changzhou.

what a waste of time LOL not only that, stupid China Southern (despite of being perfectly cordial and polite) lost my luggage somewhere between LA and Shanghai! so now i am sitting at home with nothing to wear. Thank goodness nothing too important was in my luggage except all the nice clothing i have ever own. *cries* So hopefully I will get a call in the next couple of days with good news.

Other observations: LAX international terminal is a serious dump, they don't even have a terminal. THey bus you to the plane. GuangZhou airport is really nice and new and shiny. The food at Shanghai train station is very good but hella expensive. well, at least it was good haha.

oh, I also got one of those fancy asian haircuts last night that took 3 hours. I almost fell asleep during it. But now I look like every other Chinese girl here hahah.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Off I Go!

I am about to leave for China in about 4 hours. Will be there til Nov 8th. The plan is basically to beat Velius in the amount of banquet pictures in my blog posts during that time. I will do my best on daily updates but my aunt's place doesn't really have good internet connection so we shall have to see. So until then, everyone enjoy Halloween!! :D

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

a close call at trivia

I wish all the veggies were here for today's trivia. Because Guitar Hero/RockBand finally became a bonus round category today! We were given song snippets from the games and we had to name the title and the singer! Now I know the Veggies would have rocked this !

For the second week in a row, we had user requested cateogories for trivia. I guess the guy got tired of coming up with categories. We were suppose to nominate categories on our answer sheet a few weeks ago and turn them in. As a result, we got some really weird categories lol. For example, Classic Pornography was a category last week (eyeroll). Did you know Peter O'Tool (Lawrence of Arabia) was in Caligula? Last week we weren't able to take advantage of this because none of our categories got chosen. This week, it was a totally different story. We had a cateogry on Video Games that were made into Movies, sooo easy. and to Snoopy's extreme happiness, Peanuts the Comic Strip! She nailed that one effortlessly! Unfortunately, to balance out 2 categories in our expertise, we also had an cateogry on Rocky Horror Picture Show @_@!!!

All in all, we tied for third place with 56 points! This means the tie breaker of doom!! I am sorry to say I totally lose this game for the team :( The question was which planet is comparable to Earth in size and mass. I suggested Mars, while apparently everybody tried to tell me Venus. I answered Mars anyway, but of course every one else was right. So we were 4th place once again .. Cries!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

House pains

Anybody watch the House season premiere last night? House was his usual grumpy self. Although his frustration is enhanced by Wilson's wanting to leave. I thought the patient's story is very poignant. I like how House always put in a dose of reality into the lukewarm pool of "you can do anythingness". It also enhances House's theory that people don't change (except for Amber). The saddest moment of the show for me was when Wilson was about to walk out and he said "we are not friends House, I don't even think we ever were". How can he say such a thing after all they have gone through!!! Yes House is kind of an ass but if there is one person he always yields for in the end, it is Wilson. Now all those years of friendship and comraderies is wiped out in one heartless thought!! I feel sad for the duo :(

(although, one part of me can't help but think this would make an awesome slash storyline hahaha, must not ship... must not ship)

We had a House watching party at a friend's house. He had HD LCD TV with DVR. It is the ultimate tv watching experience!! You can skip all the commercials, rewind if we missed a section due to exciting chatter, and watch 13's eyes sparkle and glisten in full HD glory!

After the show, we decided to sample JJ Abrams' new show "Fringe" which is billed as a modern day X-files. The show has a leading girl who is an FBI agent with a dark past of betrayal, a bum genius guy (percy from Dawson's Creek) and his crazy Einstein dad who was in mental hospital for 17 years. The trio solve weird phenomenons that is part of some global conspiracy pattern thingy. The show looks ok so far, the crazy dad is definitely the most interesting person. They have this weird graphic device to introduce different places by putting the caption in giant and i mean GIANT CGI LETTERS right next the building as if it is a statue that just happen to be there. I am not sure if I like it or not. The show also has some really crazy "Science" that makes me blink in disbelief. Example: They can read the last thing a dead person sees by using a "Electrical pulse camera". NOrmally when the person dies, all the image goes away, but since this person had a muscle relaxant before she died, somehow the image was frozen in the neurons... riiightt...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leap of Faith

This saturday, Snoopy and I went to a team building ropes course with a bunch of other friends. The course is in a park about an hour away from the city. It consist of platforms connected by ropes and wooden beams high up among the trees about 4 stories off the ground. They attach you to a safety rope and make you climb up there and explore. It was really strenuous work because you are basically rope walking the whole time while using your arms to keep your body up right. my arms are really sore now. It is funny in that you know you are perfectly safe the whole time, but it is still very scary to walk in midair and trying not to fall. Even a tiny little gap between two platforms becomes a deep chasm that is just waiting to swallow you. Even though i am not afraid of heights it is still a challenge to overcome the instinct of wanting to be on flat ground haha.

Later in the day, the most challenging part of the course came to us. It is this 36 feet tall wooden poll where you have to climb up and stand on top. the top is barely big enough for a pair of feet. Then they slide this trapeze over to you just out of your reach. You are then forced to jump for it. You can see how I did in the video above. I reached the bar but wasn't able to hold on. I think my hands are just too weak. It doesn't look like very far from the bottom, but when you are standing on top of the pole, alone up there, the trapeze might as well be across the forest. I almost hyperventilated up there trying to work up the nerve to jump lol. I totally respect sky divers now lol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

I have been watching Olympics nonstop this past week, on NBC, CBC and live on the website. This resulted in a severe lack of sleep. There are of course some incredible moments in this Olympics, starting with the beautiful opening ceremony that is just full of class, elegance and awe - inspiring choreography. Zhang Yi Mou, even though I hated your movies, you did good this time! Of course we also had Michael Phelps getting 8 Gold Medals, Liu Xiang's injury (oh I was heart broken over that. Feel so bad for him!). But those moments were talked about well enough by many many other people. This post is about some of the more obscure and weird stuff I saw this week.

1. Intimidation at the Fencing Strip: Now despite have taken fencing class at school. I Have never really watched any competition on TV. And really no tv station would ever play this. So I was totally surprised to learn that when you think you scored a point in the fencing game, you have to basically scream, grunt and act victorious to the judge even though you may have completely missed.Apparently this is a tradition left over from more simple times when there is no electronic scoring. When the points are too fast for a judge to decide, it is dependent upon the fencer's confidence and aggressiveness in declaring victory to score points. Some of the women fencers are quite scary when they proclaim their awesomeness. Women Fencing Clip

2. Creative writing at 10k Open Water Swim: Now I just saw this today online. This is the marathon of swimming. A new event in the Olympics. There is no lanes in water like the shorter swimming events, basically everyone swim in this river and they all bunch up together jostling for the front spot. It looks terribly exhausting actually. But what I found funny is that since there are no lanes, there is no way to tell who is who very clearly in the water. You can't put a number on their swimsuit because the body is submerged under water. So in order for the cameras and the commentators to be able to distinguish between the athletes, all the swimmers have their number written on their arms and shoulder blades with a black marker lol. So when the camera looks vertically down at the swimmers. all you see is two shoulder blades with a giant black number on it!! How clever ;) The Women's 1-k Swim

3. Going nowhere at Track Cycling: This is actually the first cycling event I saw. I thought it was pretty weird that this sport is done in a indoor cycling track. The track looks like a racing track except it is made of wood and about the size of 2 basketball courts. The cyclist starts at the very top of the rim, slowly goes in a circle around the rim until a bell rings, in which case they zoom down to the very bottom of the track and run furiously in a circle til they cross the finish line. I suppose doing it in a slope eliminates the need of having to push off. But still kinda of a funny event if you ask me. Women's individual Sprint

4. Steeplechase: pretending to be a horse: This is the first time I saw this event in track and field. I fail to see the point of this at all. It is a race with giant unbreakable hurdles and a water puddle you have to jump through. Trusty Wikipedia says that this is derived from the Steeplechase in the Equestrian events. So something that makes perfect sense for a horse just looks kind of silly with humans haha. 3k Men's Steeplechase

5. Sailing: Ok, there is nothing really weird about this sport. I am just cruelly excited about the fact that weather has been horrible in the sailing arena the last couple of days. It was raining furiously and producing waves of 2-4 feet. So the most common occurences during the competitions is sending out the sailors to sea, while they sit in chilling rain, completely soaked waiting for the waves to quiet so they can start. And then 2 hours later, they are called back because the event has to be delayed due to bad weather hahaha. I know, I am mean :D Havoc at Sailing

Anyways, despite my amusements at some of the sports, I think this Olympics has been awesome so far. I am really proud of China for hosting it and making it such a great success and I admire all the athletes that strive for the best they can be.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hiking Mount Rainier

Last weekend is the last weekend that M's best friend Sun and her hubby from Houston is here with us. I decided they simply must go hike Mount Rainier before they go since the last time Sun was here, we went to Rainier but it was completely covered in clouds so we didn't get to see anything. So I took them to the Skyline Trail in Paradise after the weather reports sunny weather in the afternoon. Last time I went to Skyline Trail with Snoopy and friend and I really enjoyed it. You can see it in my previous album. It has spectacular views as it wounds around the base of Mount Rainier. When we were at visitor center, i made sure that the trail was open. The guide said that there are some place that are still covered with snow but it is totally walkable. So we proceeded with the hike even though I despair of actually seeing the mountain that day since it was still completely cloudy when we were walking up. It turned out to be a really strange and interesting hike since we were basically hiking inside the cloud cover. Too bad we didn't get to see Rainier at all. And we had to turn back half way up as the trail was covered by this "Mountain" of snow that one is suppose to hike up and over to get to the other side. M and Sun decided it is not worth breaking a leg over. As we were driving home tho, the weather finally favored us with some sunshine and the clouds moved away and we were able to see Mount Rainier in its true glory !! M was super excited about it hehe.

Rainier Album

Friday, July 25, 2008

soo envious!

Snoopy found this gem on youtube. It is this guy matt that made a video of him doing very geeky dance all around the world. I think he first just started doing it and then some company sponsored him. The video is so cute and the music is perfect.

It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, you should see some of the outtakes too. Some of them are hilarious.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Los Angeles Trip

I went to visit my friend Kirason in her hometown LA this past weekend. I really had a great time there especially since I haven't been there since I was like 10 years old. Kirason's parents fed me ridiculous amount of food and showed me around some of the spots that LA is famous for.

Los Angeles 2008_07_20

Above are some of my pictures. They are actually in backwards chronological order. As the first night I went to check out Hollywood Boulevard. I was somehow extremely surprised at the humougous Scientology sign on the boulevard much to Kirason's amusement. We went to visit Chinese Theatre the Kodak theatre and read through all the stars on the sidewalk. It was pretty touristy even at night, choked full of people taking pictures, street performers with loud speakers trying to attract some attention, weird people dressed as comic characters (including one extremely well done Joker, I was too afraid to ask for a picture) and many hot dog stand that smelled super good. Kirason and I ended the night with some Italian Yogurt (whatever that is).

The next day I went to visit Universal City Walk. It is this really fun walking shopping center outside of Universal Studios which I didn't go. The entire place is full of vibrant colors and interesting novelty shops.

Last day I did a quick tour of Rodeo drive. The place where rich people shop. ALthough I suspect now a days it is more of a tourist attraction then an place to star watch. They build this small walking street on the corner that resembles an European Alleyway, complete with an outdoor cafe. But of course it is really just an pale imitation. I am mostly interested because of the movie Pretty Woman haha.

Then I visited my favorite place yet. The Getty Museum. It is this magnificent building composed of marble and steel that is situated on top of a hill overlooking the greater Los Angeles area. There is only one way up and down by tram. The museum itself is quite good, filled with valuable paintings and sculptures. I was only able to make through one wing out of four before we ran out of time. But the most beautiful thing about this museum is the architecture. There is an incredible view around every corner and framed by every gateway. The grounds are surrounded by beautiful gardens. I can totally just spend an afternoon there lounging on the grass.

Monday, July 14, 2008

our E3 press conference

I watched our E3 press conference this morning. It is mostly 2 hours of self congratulatory rhetoric accompanied by carefully manipulated sales data. But some of the previews for games are pretty cool. We also got to see our VPs doing some silly things on stage like acting in B movie in that new movies game so that is always fun. So here are some interesting notes:

1: The BIGGEST NEWS of ALL of course: Final Fantasy 13 is going to be released on Xbox360. This is a huge coup for Xbox since FF is basically PlayStation's bread and butter. This also means there is no need to buy a PS3 ever muhahah.

2: Resident Evil 5 is going to be online coop- I think it is only going to be 2 player. But killing of Zombies in teams is better than alone!

3: Fable 2 is also going to have online coop. Or rather it is more like MMO, where you can just randomly invite another friend in his/her own single player game in the same area and then quest together :)

4: The Last Remnant, Square Enix's FF clone (imho) is going to be released for PC. hmm maybe I should get it just test out my PC ;)

5: The battle for the ultimate Drum Kit set is starting to get ridiculous. $300 for the new Rockband 2 that has like 7 pads on it. I might as well buy a real drum set humph. Oh and it was also really funny and awkward to see Guitar Hero III guy and Rockband 2 guy taking the same stage one after the other and all very "excitingly" announcing their own proprietary artist release. This is gonna get ugly real soon folks.

6: for the portal fans, they are releasing Portal : Still Alive for the Xbox Arcade. They had GlaDos announce the news. Oh GlaDos, how I missed you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

some real Lightning

You have seen my sad attempt at capturing the lightning storm last week. Now for you to get the full effect, look at my friend's album. He took these pictures at about the same time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

computer woes: the conclusion!

I am now up and running again! It is good to be among the land of the living! As you probably have guessed, I finally assembled my uber machine after nights of anguish and tribulations. As Velius will attest since he listens to me whine all through it. Despite having everything already chosen for me, making this pc work proved to be surprisingly difficult! It is Murphy's Law at work. Basically everything that could go wrong went wrong and I am still shocked at all the crap I had to go through to make this uber machine load BF2142 in 2 seconds.

The actual physical assembly went relatively smoothly, especially after I figured out the front panel can be opened like a door so I can insert my harddrive in it. But then everything just fell apart from there.

Chapter 1: Hardware difficulties
So with much anticipation, I plugged in everything and pushed the power button. The light came on, there is power, the fans are on. Everything is going great. Then the Asus splash screen where it says "press Delete to enter Setup" came up and then nothing... It didn't accept input, it didn't go through hardware check. NOO! SO I had to call up Velius to whine. Fortunately, Velius is much calmer person and told me to check all the connection. That is when I realized that the CPU fan is not working. The 12volt Power plug goes directly next to it (bad design if you ask me) and it is obstructing the fan. After much assurance from Velius that my CPU did not just die from overheating. I was able to tie the power chord somewhere else. Then Power... Nothing.... noooo!!! This time, Velius suggested I remove one of the memory. Power... YES!! moved passed splash screen, did hardware check. Then I realized it is still not accepting keyboard input. Call up Velius again and ask him if I needed ps/2 keyboards. Velius informed me yes. NOOO!! I think I threw my last one away!! But after much searching, I realized i did have an extra one in the closet. So got passed that part. Next in line is XP install.

Chapter 2: XP madness
Now I have an authentic XP OS disk with an authentic key. You would think it would go super smoothly. But of course not. As soon as it got passed the partition part, it was completely stuck at Loading Windows screen pretty much frozen. You just see that annoying progress bar goes back and forth forever. NOOO!! This is right before I left for Vegas. So imagine my frustration knowing I won't be able to debug it until I come back. Velius was again the bearer of all my whining lol. So continuing after the weekend. After I perused a million online threads. I narrowed down the problem to missing SATA drivers. Since I am using the old XP disk it doesn't support SATA. Now ordinarily the solution would be to make a driver floppy and install it before Windows. Unfortunately, my PC didn't come with floppy drives!! So next solution in line is to slipstream it into my disk using Nlite. Since I am doing that anyway, I decided I might as well slipstream in Service Pack 2 as well. Nlite is actually remarkable easy to use. It is an awesome tool. So the sequence of events following is pretty much:

disk 1: burned using simple ISO burner, burn failed.. Trash!!
disk 2: success, would not boot in DVD drive, Trash!!
disk 3: burned using Nero with specific boot settings, STILL would not boot, Trash!!

Then, an epiphany occurred. I have an DVD drive and a CD drive in my PC with my DVD drive as master. I bet the DVD drive doesn't like CD-r boot disks!! ok. back into Bios, switch it all around, picks out disk #2 from trash and Voila boots!! Ok. continuing to install XP. Got passed the progress bar screen in no time. OMG so excited. Then.. failed during actual install. Error says non authenticated something or another. NOOO!! I wondered if maybe it doesn't like boot discs? But people online did it all the time. Then I think maybe I was messing too much with Nlite unattended settings and it somehow fails install.

disk 4: burned using ISO burner with no setting changes. SUCCESS!!
Finally was able to install XP SP2. Then I spent the next 2 hours installing drivers. Asus, graphics card. Oh and I put the second memory stick back in and it still worked!

Chapter 3: USB fail!
So now that Window is installed and nothing can ever ruin my day. I realized that my USB ports didn't work. Neither the ones in the front nor the back except for ONE. God, now I am thinking I have motherboard failure. I can't go on using the PC with only one usb ports! I am gonna have to use ps/2 keyboard forever! After much anguish, ( refrained from whining to Velius cause it was like 3 am in the morning). I found out that when the Asus CD says it has installed all drivers, it didn't mean the SMBus driver. I had to go to Nvidia website and install the latest driver pack for the motherboard that actually made USB work. Thanks ASUS!!

Chapter 4: Microphone setting is where!!??

Now that computer is actually working. The first thing to do is of course to install BF2142. See I got my priorities straight. After you install BF2142 for the first time, it pops up a settings dialog asking to test out the voice chat for the multiplayer. So I break out my Barracuda headphones that I won at WCG last year. It is so fancy, it can simulate 5.1 channel. The plug resembles a DVI plug it's ridiculous. Then to my horror, I realized that my microphone is not working. Now, I have done this enough with M to quickly realize it's probably driver issue. So I went to download the newest Realtek HD audio driver and installed it. It totally didn't help at all. So after another 50 pages of Internet research later, I found the answer. Apparently, even though the Realtek HD audio gives you two sets of volume controls: Playback and Recording (normal so far). Everything is actually in the Playback setting including Microphone volume! WHAT!!?? So even though there is two sets of volumes. The Recording is all grayed out and unusable. How is that even logical? So I searched out the microphone control in the playback section, and sure enough it is muted. Unmute and everything is fine again.

So in the process of creating this PC, all kinds of random problems happened but fortunately I was able to find answers somehow. Now I feel very close to it *pets PC* So I am thankful to the Internet and to Velius for listening to me whine patiently hehehe. I spelled checked this post just for you!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

camera fail!

There was a humongous lightning storm tonight. This is super rare in Seattle since despite our rainy reputation, we almost never get anything bigger than a drizzle. When I was on my way home from work, I saw these giant lightning bolts flashing right on top of our Highlands mountain. It was so bright it lit up the entire sky even though it was so far away i couldn't even hear the thunder. I had this whim to try to capture it on my camera. Now a SD 700 IS is really not the right camera for this job I think. Tochicam would be much much better. I was not really sure what settings to use so I kinda fooled around with it. I think I set exposure to +2 so it will capture the maximum light. Then I set ISO to 80 because there is this street lamp right outside my house and I didn't want to be blinded. Although It took me a while to figure out if smaller number is better. Then I set it on continuous shot until I ran out of batteries. the first picture I took above was on ISO 800 so it didn't look that great :( The second is on ISO 80 but the timing wasn't perfect and I only got the end of the it. so really I only got this one pic that came out ok. But it really failed to capture the majesty of it all. Next time I will be ready!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Epic Biking Adventure

It all started with me buying a $60 bike from Target in high school. I always felt it is my obligation as a Chinese to be insanely awesome at biking. But needless to say, like my many other dreams, this one didn't really pan out. I kinda rode it around my neighborhood in NC, finding that even small gentle hills are beyond my weak wobbly grasp and I put it away for 5 years. The poor bike was moved across country and sat in my garage all this time until a month ago when suddenly I had this whim that I should fix it and ride it around when it's summer. (these whims never turn out well..hmm..). Anyway, so I spent 30 bucks and got my rear tire replaced. In the words of the technician, "this kind of bending only happens when a car hits your bike" I said "hmm.. I am pretty sure nothing like that happened to me..." I know this because i have never ridden it outside my neighborhood haha. Anyway, so I rode my old/new bike around the park for a couple of days until I can stop without panicking and toppling over. All is going well until last week when Kirason said "soo.. now you have a bike, I want to rollerblade from Redmond to Seattle, want to come?"
me:" .... how far is that?"
Kirason: "oh about 20 miles"

Ahh, the courage of the ignorant. kirason assured me that since she is on rollerblades, I wouldn't have to go very fast and can totally make it.

So the original plan is that we go one way, and drive back. However, the third person decided he really wanted to do the round trip. So I was like. sure whatever having absolutely no concept of what that is like.

So the much anticipated day comes, it is the hottest day of the year, 90 degrees outside. beautiful sky absolutely no cloud. We rode on the Burke-Gilman trail which is this really nice and long trail that goes around the entire Seattle area. You can bike on the entire paved trail. Kirason assured me that the entire route we picked is actually quite flat with only very small hills. The first third of our route runs along the Sammamish River, passing farmlands, trees and small neighborhood with parks. It is quite nice since we started at 11 am so there is still shade from the tall trees. I kept my pace nice and slow to conserve energy. So slow that even Kirason was ahead of me on roller blade -__-!! . We rested at a park about 6 miles in and drank some water. The day is getting really hot now but there is still a nice breeze going. The middle part of the trail goes into the city of Kenmore along some busy streets, and then winds around the edge of Lake Washington on top of the waterfront properties. We saw some really fancy houses along the water. Even though the trail was surrounded by greenery, the Noon sun didn't really give us any shade at all. We rested again at the 12 miles. It is a good thing that all the park has drinking fountains to fill our water bottle. Both of my companions had gatorades but I just had water. I think it was fine tho. The last third of the trail is this enormous gently climbing hill to Gas Works Park along the water edge, passing through the university district. That was quite trying for me as I don't have any strength for hill climbing. After climbing the hill for an hour I was quite sick of it and my legs are getting really tired and I can feel them starting to cramp. But they never really did. I was really running out of energy when we arrived after 25 miles at Gas Works, we rested for about half an hour for a lunch sandwich and then it's time to come back! As soon as I started the trip back, I noticed that my legs and knees are hurting really bad. I pushed on but it was kind of distracting. I complained to Kirason that I never got my seat adjusted so I can't extend my leg all the way and that is probably why it hurts.. She suggested that when we past that bike shop on the way I should see if I can get it adjusted. That turned out to be a brilliant idea. The very nice guy at the bike shop took one look at my bike and was like, this seat needs to be much higher. He had to raise it 4 inches to the properly position for me, all free of charge. Before I left, he also said "your tires are only 1/3 full, if you fill them up outside, it will make it much easier" OMG he is the nicest, most helpful guy ever!! So I biked 25 miles on a seat too low for me and on tires with no air. Now that I fixed everything, the next 25 should be a breeze!!

Turned out the adjustments worked wonders. My legs didn't hurt again in the next 25 miles. But now that the seat is 4 inches higher, I completely cannot get on and off the bike again. Everytime I have to get on, I end up falling over and the same when I try to get off. Now there is an incentive to just keep peddling lol. Now it is about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is in full fury and all the breeze died down. So it is 3 hours of burning hotness back home. We rested at the same places we did the first time. At this time, I am significanly slower now. Kirason and the other guy have far outstripped me by 15 minutes. They have stopped periodically to wait for me but I told them not to bother since I will just be slow again. The exhaustion, the heat and endless trail finally got to me around 1.5 miles from the end. I keep telling myself just 5 minutes more, but at mile marker 3, I completely lost concentration and my legs couldn't move like I told them to. Actually I think my legs still had strength left, it is just my mind is so exhausted and I couldn't focus. It is kind of sad as I am sooo close to the end. I had to stop and walk with my bike for 10 minutes until the heat is just too much and I have to keep biking to keep cool lol, and I finally made back to the parking lot at 6:45 with Kirason already sitting in the car. She was pretty exhausted at the end too. I am so in awe of her for roller blading the entire 50 miles. Not only that, she was faster than me biking!!!

So that was my adventure, biking 50 miles in a day after barely learning how to bike. This was the hardest sporting thing I have ever done. I am so glad I did it tho. Apparently I can really do some crazy stuff if I really tried lol.

ETA: I almost forgot to mention, my bike fell in a ditch while I was still on it. Fortunately, it was a grass lined ditch so I was not hurt except for bruised ego from all the passerbys laughing at me and a big splinter in my thumb that I had to pick out with a needle. Good times!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

treasure off Youtube

so actually I have no idea how I got around to these videos. But suffice to say by some strange twist of fate (clicks?) I managed to find these really entertaining cover songs done by some really talented people. I am always amazed how much talented singers are out there on Youtube. I especially liked the Apologize cover, that just looked like so much fuN!

One Republic - Apologize w/AJ Rafael, Chris Cendana, and Der

Lucky - Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait cover

I am Yours - Jason Mraz cover (I really like this guy's voice)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

new Computer on the way

I finally made the decision yesterday and ordered from newegg. Thanks to Velius for basically choosing everything for me and therefore spare me the effort of having to think :D BF2142 on All high settings, here I come!

Antec Three Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $69.95

1 Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail

1 G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail $84.99

1 ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $149.99

2 EVGA 640-P2-N829-AR GeForce 8800GTS SSC 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $399.98
($199.99 ea)

1 CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply - Retail $109.99

total $1,024.89

Monday, June 23, 2008


I haven't updated trivia in a couple of weeks mostly because I have been missing it. So time for an update! Today it was the old guy doing the questions and immediately we know we were in trouble. Because he is known for "Jeopardy scoring" and obscure ancient trivia which he likes to taunt the young'uns with. But Velius would be happy to know that "Night of the Iguana" made an an appearance today. We had an category called "where am I " where we had to name fictional places that movies have taken place. The question was in which city was "Night of the Iguana" filmed. We randomly guessed Rio De Janeiro but it turned out to be Porta Vallarta which made sense I suppose. Pretty soon we would know everything there is to know about this movie without actually seen it haha. Other questions in the category were:

Which hotel was The Shining taken place in (the fictional name)
The hotel that housed Pretty Women (Darn, I almost got this one, and I really should since I have seen this movie 50 times at least)
The town of Jaws
The beach that can see HayStack Rock (this is in Oregon apparently)

We also did kinda bad in First Songs of Musicals (who has even heard of The Fantastics???), and the first bonus category: Dead Or Alive. I think we thought all the alive people were dead and all the dead people were alive. That was pretty sad hahah. We faired pretty well in an cateogry about Eddie Murphy (God he was in so many bad movies) and we did our usual best in the News category. But despite beating the last place team by 20 points, we still came in 2nd to last with 57 points. On an even sadder note, the one man team of super awesomeness won again....

funny video for you WoWers

World of Workcraft

Thursday, June 19, 2008

computer woes!

I have had a string of bad luck in the home computer area the last couple of weeks. First, M's computer refused to boot, throwing a "corrupt config/system" error randomly after rebooting one day. Microsoft suggested that it is an registry error but I suspected HD error instead. Before I even gotten around to take a look, my own machine also threw the same error a few days later. This is after I came back from like a 4 day vacation and turning it on. On the surface, it seems like they are related but I really dont' see how. I dont' know any virus that would kill the HD like that. Anyway, in frustration, I decided to forego computer use for a couple of weeks. It was strangely liberating not to be tied to the Internet all day long. I actually got a large amount of GTA done. You never know how much time you are using up until you can't surf the web anymore!

Anyway, lack of computers has gotten M very antsy after a week or so. She even went so far to suggest that we buy a laptop so she can keep online!! I have created a monster! I told her that buying a laptop is NOT the solution to our problems and resigned to start to fix her problem. I used a seagate diagnostic tool to scan the HD which threw a few read errors but generally the file system seem to be intact although XP Recovery Console refused to recognize that there is a OS installed. I thought the best way to go is to boot from a linux disk (Knoppix) which runs an operating system from memory and get all her stuff off to her external drive which I just bought her a couple weeks ago and then format the HD. That went reasonably well. I copied all her docs and favorites and stuff to the external HD. Then I bought her a new bigger HD plus memory upgrades (you can never just buy one thing on Newegg!). So reinstalled windows etc etc. everything runs beautifully. XP boots up in 5 seconds. M started using it with happiness and then we realized something horrible, the linux OS apparently doesn't recognize file named in Chinese!! none of them got copied over. So we lost all her music, videos and favorites that she named in Chinese!!! Now that I put a new HD in, I can't go back to the HD because her stupid Dell machine only allows one SATA HD to be installed (they removed all the extra plugs). booo!! So I had to convince M that naming stuff in chinese is a bad idea. I think she was suspicious but she went with it. Incidentally, I am never buying a cheap Dell computer again! It is a piece of crap. After I bought it, I had to buy M a new HD, a new sound card, new memory, a switch to go with the new soundcard, new microphones to go with the new sound card and a external harddrive since she ran out of room in her original. for all that I could have built her a better one already humph!!!

Now having done all that relatively painlessly, I decided it is time to tackle my own computer since I found that I am fighting M over computer time now that we have one. (-_-!! its evil!!). now my HD is organized into three partitions, OS, data and data2 which is filled with Clay stuff (no laughing!!). I figure I could still get the data out of it and just wipe it clean. however, this is much much worse. Seagate diagnostic started throwing out read errors for basically huge chunks of file segments. chkdsk would fail at 10% without fail. basically i think the entire middle chunk of the drive is busted (why!!! why!!!). which means that I lost pretty much all of my data partition, filled with my pictures, my mp3s, basically everything I ever owned in cyberspace. however, all my Clay stuff is all still there ( great that really helps since I can redownload everything from the web anyway). So I plugged in my IDE HD into M's machine as a slave and started looking at data recovery tools online that can read a corrupted NTFS system and salvage whatever is left. I got GetDataBack which seems to be pretty good. I had to download from a Chinese website (cough cough) and for a while it seemed to going really well. It can read file segments and skip the bad ones and salvage whatever is left. So I started it up and told it to read through the data partitions which is about 200G. It said it will take 15 hours so I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, the entire computer is frozen. no mouse, no keyboard, no display. What can I do, I had to reboot. As soon as it restarted, my HD started making the whirl and clicking noise really loudly when it was accessed. I knew righ then I am doomed. After the computer came back, it couldn't even recognize that I have a second HD installed. my HD just clicks like a old man on his death bed coughing his lungs out. So all that work is for nothing. this drive is just a pretty brick now. or as Velius puts it, a sophisticated brick.

Velius has now convinced me that I should just buy a new computer. He was nice enough to even list out all the components for me lol. So I guess I am upgrading!

Monday, June 09, 2008

midyear review

So, I have been neglecting this blog for a while now. Tochi, you are a BAD influence. well also facebook is a very bad influence. But anyway, I thought I should come back to it and try to keep it up and what better way to restart than to do a midyear review of my New Year "commitments".

Moonfleck's 2008 New Years Resolution Update:

1. Go to the gym at least once a week- I have been doing pretty well with this because my officemate is keeping me on my toes. I have been playing Badminton twice a week for the first couple months and then I lost my partner. So now I am doing cardio kickboxing once a week plus wallyball. I was reading my old ski posts and I think I need to strength my knee muscles before I can go ski again.

2. Read one book a month - well, I am a little behind here but I have read at least 4 books. I have read The KiteRunner, The Assault on Reason, Meisner's On Acting, and now I am reading A History of Iran. It is hard to choose what books to read since I want to read nonfiction but usually they are so boring I fall asleep after 3 pages. :(

3. Continue piano lessons - Total fail here. Haven't even tried.

4. Learn ONE song on guitar - Total fail here too. But I still have half a year I guess.

5. Do not lose touch with all the friends I am in touch with - Doing ok here. I saw the Veggies last months. Facebook is also making everything easier. :) Still working on this.

6. Redecorate my room - TOTAL SUCCESS!! I have sold all my old furniture, bought new ones fro Ikea, including all new sheets and pillows and mattress. I even threw in a new mattress for my mom. I was also able to donate tons of old stuff to good will. As GlaDos would say "HUGE SUCCESS!"

7. Learn to cook 3 new dishes - hmm.. haven't been able to yet although I might learn how to make cookies this week. I think that would count. My plan is to make the roasted duck that we saw on Yan Can Cook at Kungs haha.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Ultimate Shopping Spree

Ever imagining what will you do if you won the lottery? What if the lottery is 3 trillion dollars? which is the projected final expenditure for the Iraq War. At you can do that. Go on a shopping spree and see what can you buy with 3 trillion dollars. Here is the opportunity to by that clone of Angelina Jolie you always wanted...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

just like real life

So I was just taking a leisurely stroll through my 'hood the other night when I came upon this building that looked like a night club. ( I guess its the neon lights and the bouncers). So I thought I would go check this "petroshka" place out. Just as I walked passed the bouncer and was about to push open the double doors. I heard someone beside me say "Oh nooo you don't". I was a little confused. I mean here I was, a grown man with some money, why the hell can't I go check it out? But it is too early in the night for trouble so I decided to turn and walk away. What did I get for such an act of concession?? TWO bouncers started to come after me, trying to beat me up. I tried to fight them off a bit but there are two of them swinging their fist and I still can't get the "duck" timing right. so they cornered me and I couldn't run away. By this time I am getting annoyed, heck I didn't even set foot in their stupid club!! My health is in the red and I have no choice so I decided I really have to shoot them! See, this is how a decent man is forced into crime!! I was perfectly willing to just beat them up and leave but look what they did!! However, as soon as I pulled out my "piece" they screamed and ran away, leave me behind holding a pistol gaping like an idiot. AHA!! so that is how you get rid of people, I can see the advantages of this gun thing.... either that, or kungfu...

*omg, I am totally getting corrupted*

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


So I was browsing while waiting for AI results with Kungfucius. when I noticed they have this live blogging event post. So I clicked on it. and when you load the webpage, it is basically has a Twitter like interface but 100 times better. It's this software made by Rickey was blogging in real time, and all the guests can comment, and he can post pictures, and video and audio almost in real time and also throw out poll questions! This is amazing!! It even saves the entire event for a replay later if you like. I am constantly surprised by how far technology is progressing. just imaging, if this thing has a web interface for managing, and you have an iphone that can access internet anywhere. Basically you can be your own real time news show. You can see something happening, use your iphone to take pictures, video etc. then go on line, log into your CoverItLive, and do real time chats with audio/video. Now I know this is not groundbreaking technology or whatever, but it is still so freaking cool!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

bring it on!

So I finally succumbed to the hype and bought GTA 4, much to the dismay of M. She keeps saying" why would I want to play a bad guy!!??". I really have no good response for her except assuring her that I will be the "good guy among bad guys". Kinda like Chow Yun Fat in mob movies you know? Actually that is my goal, to build East European immigrant Niko into the next Chow Yun Fat in Liberty City.

The game itself is actually incredibly well made. There is amazing amount of details in the city. The art, music and the atmosphere is all so well done. I am very impressed. They basically give you no manual to start the game except a city map. I assume they expect most people to already know what to do but it is all new to me since I haven't played the previous series. So I spent a long time just walking around, getting to know the layout and the movement. I thought the most annoying thing is the camera. It tends to zoom in and out really fast due to the angle you are at and it made me kind of dizzy. The most surreal thing that happened in the first 5 minutes is me sitting on sofa in my living room watching Niko sitting on a sofa in his living room watching a dingy tv with real tv programs ON MY tv!!. I spent about 10 minutes watching a documentary of the beginning of Liberty City although it was more like a mockumentary filled with sarcastic comments about the "morality" of the first settlers lol. Part of me want to just sit there and watch tv just to see how long of a program they actually included and when does it start recycling lol.

So anyway, in my attempt to stay good, I have been very careful not to become a indiscriminate killer. To the game's credit, every mission had a very good motivation and you don't feel like you are doing a bad thing while doing it. So after about 3 hours of play, here is the tally of my "accidental" bad deeds.

Broke umptee amount of lightpoles, garbage cans and various paper stands chasing loan sharks (mostly due to horrible driving skills)

Ran over a kid on a bicycle while I was on a date with this nice girl (she didn't say anything.. and that kid came out of NO WHERE!!! I actually felt kinda bad about that lol. )

Beat up some poor guy on the street corner just to test out the punching button.

Gotten chased by 50 police cars and a helicopter because I tried to "cross the bridge" on foot. How the hell am I suppose to know that I am not allowed to cross the bridge until I unlock certain missions.

Kinda trashed my cousin's taxi numerous times, basically after every mission. But really, he gets it back new at the next mission so that should be ok

oh yeah, I also refused to pay tolls over the bridge... I ran the gate thing :D That thing was $5!!! total ripoff!

See, that wasn't so bad right? I even refrained from robbing the laundry mat and the internet cafe even though a context menu popped up saying I could "press Y to open cash register..." -_-!!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

funny IM conversation with Snoopy

Here is a funny conversation Snoopy and I had earlier today (edited for clarity etc.)

Moonfleck: oh speaking of baby names
my coworkers is about to have a second child
his first child is a boy
and he is trying to think of a name for the second, but he doesn't know the sex
so he is going through this list for boy and girls
and he is Egyptian
so like his rules for names are :
1) it has to be Arabic name
2) it has to be pronounceable by Americans
3) it can't be any Christian themed
so I was like.. hmm so what is the name of your first boy
he was like :"Adam"
so these rules apparently didn't apply to the first son??
well apparently adam is arabic
yeah but also Christian themed!!
yeah. I was like. um.. anybody that heard that name is gonna think Christian
and he was like. well it is Arabic name first
tell him if he has another son to name him osama
it's definitely Arabic, not Christian, and Americans DEFINITEly know how to pronounce it lol

Saturday, April 26, 2008

where to buy?

So my cousin in China wants me to buy him Lenovo X61 notebook. I looked around, and the official site seems to have the lowest price. Any ideas where else would be cheaper?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

a masterpiece

The other day, while I was at the soccer game. My friend got me a bottle of water from the foodstand. I finally finished drinking it today (yes I am a camel). So I was looking at the label out of boredom and it said, in very new age pretty blue font: "Jones Natural Artisan Water, not from the tap". What the hell does that mean? Is there such a thing as "unnatural water?" what would that be called? "irradiated mutated water"? I imagine the Jones company probably has a beautifully and lovingly crafted workshop in the back of their bottling factory filled with solemn elves carefully stacking hydrogen atoms onto oxygen atoms to create the most intricate patterns of water molecule designed to quench the thirst of even the most picky human. How else can it deserve the "artisan" description. and I certainly hope it wasn't directly from the tap since we probably paid 3 bucks for this fancy artisan water and I can get tap water for free!!

What is next? designer air?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Viva Mexico!

sorry about the picture quality, I took this using my phone.

I attended a soccer exhibition game at Qwest stadium on Wednesday. The games are part of the Mexico tour 2008. It is China vs. Mexico that day. Now I am not really a big soccer fan but my friend wanted to check it out so I went. Have to cheer on the national team! The traffic was absolutely horrible that day. We were stuck on the bridge for 2 and a half hours even though we left 2 hours before kickoff. So we ended up missing the first half. Stupid soccer game with no time stoppage lol.

While we were stuck on the bridge, I was amazed by how many Mexican soccer fans there were. We were surrounded by a sea of cars with green flags waving. They honked all the way from east end to west end. I saw plates from California and Oregon. It was pretty cool to see all these people coming up to support the Mexican team. Although it made traffic unbearable. The most funny thing I saw was a jeep with its roof down and a guy sitting in it wearing this humongous sombrero screaming at the top of his lungs. I swear I was the only Chinese person for miles around and I imagined they all looked at me with disdain as our car inched past hahaha (j/k).

So after we finally got to the stadium, I was completely flabbergasted at the amount of people. The entire football stadium was completely filled. The energy and excitement was so palpable. It is like one giant party. There were so many Mexican soccer fans there that they announced the entire game in Spanish, not even bother with English. I saw one tiny section of Chinese soccer fans waiting the red flag in vain,completely being overwhelmed by a sea of green haha. The seats we got was smack dab in the middle of nowhere so I kept my head down. Now I have never been to a real soccer game so everything was new to me. Apparently there is this habit of throwing paper airplanes down to the field. I don't really know how people was suppose to run around on there without tripping over 500 paper airplanes. What weird habits! lol.

In the end, Mexico won 1:0 against China. This is a good thing as I avoided getting beat up by 52,000 angry soccer fans hahaha. It was quite inspiring how everybody came together to support the home team. I swear the entire hispanic population of Seattle was there at the game.

Just a side note, apparently Seattle is applying for permission to start a professional soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. This ought to be fun if it happens. I can start at the beginning and actually get to know the teams. Also, this means Beckham may visit someday hahah!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AI top7 review

I am actually surprised that Idol didn't have a Mariah Carey night before. Her repertoire is choked full of bombastic ballads that are perfect for this show. I thought everyone did really great tonight (yes even Kristy sigh). The songs were able to showcase their vocals as well as their diversity. I can't put them into categories tonight because everyone did well. At this point, I am willing to go for a top 3 all male showdown though. I thought all three guys were really different and lovely in their own way. All three of them will be able to have a good career.

In order of performance:

David Archuleta: Really good choice of a song and sang it really well. I think he eats ballads like this for breakfast. Probably have been singing the same kind of songs since he was 5. He is totally going to be the next male Hannah Montana haha. The only thing is I don't think he is used to singing R&B runs. The runs were kinda forced and unnatural. He is definitely safe either way.

Carly Smithson- Btw, Clay sang it better. just FYI haha. Carly's vocals were as brilliant as always. I feel like the judges were way harsh. They are trying to influence the votes maybe. I think Carly was handicapped by a bad arrangement of the song. It climaxed too quickly, forcing her to scream through half of it. She should have done a quiet second verse before going for the second climax and go all out.

Syesha Mercado-I have no criticism for her. This is about as perfect as you can do on AI. She is just not as big of a personality as the rest of them. I am pretty sure she can't win regardless.

Brook Whites- OMG, who in the world did the arrangement for this song? First of all, it was WAY WAY too fast. Brook can barely get all the words out, and then the piano raced to the end, forcing her to play catch up thereby making it even worse. She was totally screwed by the song arrangement. Poor Brook

Kristy Lee Cook- I am guessing the hotness law still applies here. She definitely had the worst vocals of the night, but even that was tolerable. I am saddened to say we will probably sit through another week of her painful warble.

David Cook- Ok, I think he is being overhyped now. It was an original version of that song but he hardly sang it well. He was slightly offkey the entire song. He does have amazing stage presence though. That will really make an impression on the audience. He is untouchable at this point. The judges treats him like he already won anyway so I think he is a shoo in for #1 or #2. I also think he does the modern rock thing totally well but his voice is so nondescriptive. Would I be able to tell him apart from Daughtry, or 3 doors down or Nickleback when he is on the radio?

Jason Castro - Ok, I think Jason is going to be my pet favorite. I know Kung is not into him at all haha. But I just really like him for his confidence and his calmness on stage. He knows who he is and he is totally comfortable in his skin. He really sings well too despite of not having a really projecting voice. I loved all the songs he sang so far. If he puts out a CD right now I would go out and buy it haha.

so bottom 3: Carly, Brook and Syesha

Kick off: Brook ( I am just not sure people have abandoned Carly yet)

Monday, April 14, 2008

the greenhouse effect

No, I am not talking about the global climate crisis. The "Greenhouse Effect" refers to an amazing natural phenomenon that happens in our office during sunny days. Not many people have experienced it, and without our green bowl of goodness we might have never noticed. But it happened and I was left with the crazy result :(

So My officemate Kirason and I share a small corner office that has 8 window panes. We also have 4 monitors, 2 xbox and 7 PCs in the room. So on a good sunny day, it is regularly 80 degrees there. I am constantly surprised that no motherboard has melted yet. And having tropical plants is a constant topic of discussion. Now normally this is mitigated by the awesome AC system that keeps us sane. However, on a weekend, there is no such luxury. Now this brings me to the other part of this equation: We also have a candy bowl in our office filled with various chocolate goodies that people have dropped off to keep it full. This is terrible for me but I will talk about that later.

This past Saturday, a fluke happened and we had a beautiful sunny day where the temperature shot up to the 80s. This made for a really pleasant day at the lake but something horrible has happened in our office. Now you know where this is going:

80 degree weather + 8 windows + no AC + 7 PC + bowl of chocolate candy = something HORRIBLE!! DUN DUN DUN!!!

Of course, this all happened when we were out enjoying the weather, so coming in today, I opened up an left over Easter chocolate egg, and noticed it was a weird sandy color, which you must admit is weird for chocolate candy. I was very suspicious but ate it anyway. It tasted fine although really hard for chocolate candy. So this is what I inferred.
80 degree weather + 8 windows + no AC + 7 PC + bowl of chocolate candy = something HORRIBLE

something HORRIBLE + AC on Monday = melted and re-solidified chocolaty weirdness


Since Kirason has a strong aversion to anything chocolaty, I guess I have to eat these abominations of nature :D

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

AI review top 8

Wow, I didn't write anything all week lol. oh well, here is review again through Rickey, but this time he had judge reviews on so I figure I should be alright. First of all, American Idol people!! when I said last week that there are too many back up vocalists, it is NOT an excuse to bring in a choir!!!! this is getting ridiculous. I thought most people did ok this week. They all picked very nice songs so it is hard for me to hate any of them. I am going out on a limb right now and say the top 2 is gonna be between David Cook and David Archuleta. They are obviously the judge favorite and ahead in fans. It is going to be the battle of the Davids!! haha

Jason Castro- ok, I am TOTALLY biased because I flove this song so he can do no wrong. I also think it is so funny how he can be so Hawaiian when he is from Texas. It is like some weird genetic mutation haha.

David Cook - Ok I think this song is way too difficult for him to sing in a competition. But he has so much charisma and so much stage presence cmobined with the ultimate confidence that he has million fans so he pulled it off anyway. While he was up there, it might as well be the David Cook concert instead of AI. I think his career is pretty much set.

David Archuleta: I am also biased because this is also one of my favorite songs by Robbie Williams. I thought he sang it very well but the piano playing really dampened his singing. If he dindn't have to play, he would have sounded so much more smooth and beautiful. I don't think it lost him votes though as piano players always get points for impressiveness.


Syesha - Ok I actually thought she sang this song very well. The anonymous choir really did a good job too. But you just DO NOT sing the victory song from a previous contestant because you would never be able to capture the emotional intensity of the song and will always pale by comparison. Like I would totally laugh if anybody tried to sing This Is The Night because it will just sound stupid. So bad song choice for Syesha.

Michael Johns - Rocker lbahblha.. Rocker... anything else? He is not doing his best to distinguish himself from David Cook, and David Cook is pulling far far ahead by being unique.

Brook White - very pretty pleasant song. I think she was a little nervous so alot of the happy and serene quality of the song was lost.

Carly Smithson - Totally butchered one of the best Queen songs. She is not one of these rocker chicks (she got kicked off already). THis song is way too difficult for her to master in such a short time and it was just horrible. Carly's strong points are her beautiful voice and experience and this song takes advantage of neither.

Kristy Cook - I was just complainingto my friend how bad she was. Now my friend, who is a guy has never watched the show or Kristy so he has no idea what is going on. After hearing my whining, he asked the all important question:" is she hot?". And after perusing very closely, I hate to admit, yes, Kristy is indeed very very hot. and there you go. It explains everything.

Bottom 3: Carly, Michael Jones and Syesha (Since Kristy is never going to get kicked off haha)

kicking off: hmm this is a difficult one, I think Carly will stay and I am always wrong about Syesha, so lets go with Michael Jones haha.