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.