Sunday, February 22, 2015


MC: How come you don't buy a house in Pittsburgh?
MC: I could.
MC: I thought about it
MC: I was advised against it by my father
MC: You need to live in a location for at least 5 years roughly for the investment to pay off i think
MC: because what you pay the first few years is mostly interest on the mortgage
MC: Right.
MC: and you don’t build much equity
MC: and i don’t make enough money for the interest deductions to be substantial enough to really benefit me in taxes i don’t think
MC: the closing costs on buying property is probably prohibitive for me right now
MC: and i’m not interested in the work of a fixer-upper at this point
MC: plus the costs of furnishing
MC: and i think it tends to arbitrarily tether you to a city
MC: when being mobile is probably beneficial for me at this point in my life
MC: so
MC: I'm pretty hungover

Thursday, February 5, 2015

California, here we come (again)

I'm out in California, again, for a few months. I'm really grateful to have friends who let me sleep on their couch while I was out here looking for a place to stay. That being said, sleeping on a couch that is shorter than me can be quite painful after 3 weeks. My neck/back and knees started to hurt after being curled up and I wasn't getting very good sleep. I'm making a new adult rule for myself which says that I should not sleep on a couch for an extended period of time.

I did finally find an apartment in SF though. It turns out that traffic anywhere in the Bay Area is awful and that a commute in the South Bay can be unjustifiably long.

Do you know those sitcoms where they live above a bar? Boom, I live below a bar.
Do you know those sitcoms where they live next to a coffee shop? Boom, I live next to a few.

Unfortunately I haven't had time to explore the neighborhood yet but I look forward to exploring the new neighborhood and its gentrification.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Accounting TV shows

It's been a while since I've done a full accounting of the TV shows that I've watched.

How great is the phrase "Gladiator in a suit"? I lost interest after season 2, but for a little while is was nice, brain-dead television.

Netflix has a way of recommending me shows that it knows I will mindlessly enjoy watching with great ships.

For DH:

Surprisingly good for a JJ Abrams scifi procedural. It contains a very good amount of shipping, but I had to stop at season 4 because it got really bad.

I'm not sure if I've talked about Arrow on here before. I'm a sucker for comic book shows (e.g. see Young Justice).

The Flash
See above.

The Blacklist
This is another one of those shows that I watch because the Netflix recommender told me to. How good is James Spader? Also, he's going to be in the next Avengers movie. And Denny Crane.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Gadgets

New iPhone 6

A bluetooth toothbrush. I'm going to have so many stats on my teeth.
"I was trying to brush my teeth with an apple and it was horrible. Horrible!"

Apple Health tracks my steps!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

New vices

Here are a list of new things that I've come to enjoy in grad school:

1) Coffee
I only used to drink coffee as a sugar delivery mechanism. Now, I drink my coffee black and I've started to really enjoy the taste of it. I have to limit myself to only one cup a day though. I used sip it throughout the day from my coffee tumbler, but recently I've been pouring it into my mug and drinking from my mug. It's much more enjoyable and it makes me drink it a lot faster.

2) Beer
The taste of beer used to disgust me, but now I find it much more tastiful. Enough of my friends are beer snobs so I often drink craft beer and compare notes with them. My first couple years in grad school I would almost exclusively only drink darker beers and stick with porters and stouts. I've diversified my palette lately and have come to enjoy a good IPA. I really don't know anything about beer though and I mostly just like to throw around beer terminology, like hops.

3) (Red) Wine
My newest fascination is (red) wine. One day when I was buying groceries, I decided to buy a bottle of wine because I thought the cashier would judge me less if I were buying a classy bottle of red wine instead of a bottle of Captain Morgan or Gin. I have a janky $1 Trader Joe's wine opener so I'll have to order a better wine opener off of Amazon.

4) Gin
My Gin preferences are in some ranked order: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, New Holland's Knickerbocker Gin (tastes like Christmas).

5) Whiskey/bourbon
I'm not going to pretend that I enjoy the taste of whiskey or bourbon, but we do occasionally go whiskey tasting when it is half off on Wednesdays.

Coffee and alcohol, isn't that the best description for grad school?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Adult rule about bacon

I have a new adult rule: never make bacon at home.

Here are the reasons that making bacon at home is bad:
  • Lots of hot grease popping everywhere. It gets all of the stove and all over you.
  • It makes your small apartment smell like bacon for the next week (debatable as to whether or not this is a bad thing)
  • If you make the entire package at once, you will eat a lot of it.

So my new adult rule concerning bacon is that I will never make bacon at home. But when I go out to eat, I can eat as much bacon as I want. Quid pro quo.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In which I take a detour to Colorado

(Colorado reminds me of Everwood)

I got back from Colorado last week for a conference. I don't know if I psyched myself up about the altitude. I couldn't actually tell if I was affected by the altitude or if I just thought I was affected by the altitude (I was sick at the same time). I definitely had to drink a lot of water though. I feel like they kept reminding us of this.

Fun fact: The New Belgium brewing company is based in Colorado (Fat Tire is brewed there). The hotel bar had 26 beers on tap. I think I'm becoming more of a beer snob. Though not as much as Denis who scoffs when I tell him that the only beer I have in my fridge is Stella and Sam Adams.

Finally, flying with noise-cancelling headphones is a new revelation. I don't know how I flew before or fell asleep on the plane. The difference with them on an off is like night and day. If I flew more often, I would say that it was totally worth buying these headphones.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


LJ: Crap, speeding ticket
LJ: 47 on a 25
Me: You should probably stop texting and driving
LJ: Now I need to find a lawyer
Me: I didn't get a parking ticket today even though I forgot to move my car
Me: That's probably why you got a speeding ticket.
Me: Karma
Me: I hope that makes you feel better.
LJ: ...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

That's ambitious, at best

If I had the intelligence/time/money and if I were ambitious, there are many things/organizations/entities that I would like to create. Imagine as if I were the Dave Eggers version of me. I would:

  • Write my semi-autobiographical memoirs. I wouldn't have anything interesting to say, but like I said, if I were a Dave Eggers version of me, I'd be able to make nothing sound interesting. Like "This is a picture of a stapler" or "Where is my lattice?!" The second one would be said in a Jack Bauer voice.

  • Make my own MMORPG. After all, even Curt Schilling wanted to do this. I wanted to do this in college but that fizzled out after a week or two. Also, Mark thought it was a stupid idea. More, recently, I ran this idea by Kee and he shared my enthusiasm for the idea (this is one upside of now having CS friends). 1

  • Have my own website. It would be something like a smaller Grantland 2or Politico. There would be about half a dozen of my friends as writers 3 and all the articles would strictly be just conversations about controversial or absurd topics like Obamacare, PEDs, or Twilight.4

  • (Co)-found a company and become a billionaire like Bruce Wayne. I guess this one is a bit more absurd, but, as usual, let's err on the side of absurdity.

  • Then, after I make billions, open my own coffee/beer shop. Because, if you have a billion dollars, why not be a hipster?

  • Also, start my own non-profit. That would be fun for at least a few weeks. I'd have to make one to see if it would actually be fun for longer than a few weeks. I have no logical reasons to think that this would be fun, it just seems fun; you're helping people, you're giving away lots of money, that seems fun. Also, then, when you go to all of the fancy art gallery openings that you'll be going to when you're a billionaire, you'll have something to talk about.

1 Imagine how much money Nintendo would make if they made a Pokemon MMORPG.
2 I bring this up because the current Grantland series on rom-coms is top-notch. I also bring it up because of that one time Ben told Allie I like watching rom-coms.
3 I did do this in high school with Josh, Clark, and Matt. We took ourselves too seriously though, but then again it was high school and who didn't take themselves too seriously. Or was that just me?
4 This actually wouldn't be that ambitious, if I had friends that is. ._.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mid-afternoon hourlong walk (not quite as catchy as hourly midnight lunch)

Now that the winter of our discontent is over, I've been trying to take a walk during the day. In the summer, our office over-compensates for the heat outside and blasts cold air all day. The thermostat only has two modes: blast cold air or have no cold air. So occasionally I find it refreshing to get up from my desk and thaw. Also Jake reminds us every so often that sitting all day is hazardous to our health.1

When I go on my walk, I just walk around north campus. I like that there's a fountain on north campus. It's nice to just sit there and watch the fountain spew water.2 It's also nice that it's the summer and there aren't as many people around. It's unfortunate that there's not much more to explore up here.

I do like to aimlessly walk around3. When I lived in a more dense environment (i.e. cities like SF or Seattle), I would just get up and walk around the city. It's a good way to kill time and explore the city. I'm a big proponent of killing time, or maybe I just need a lot of time to myself. Or I'm going insane. One of those, or both.

1 Jake has made a makeshift standing desk and stands all day now; he has a family, so he has something to live for. The rest of us just sit.

2 I always found it odd that shopping malls have fountains in them.

3 Inside and outside of buildings. I probably should get a Fitbit so that I can compete with een.

A little blog post

  • KR sent me a postcard from when he was in a conference in Germany. It dawned on me that I should get a bulletin board to pin it and other cards I have to. My walls are completely empty, but it doesn't seem worth it to try to populate them as I'm going to be moving in a month. Maybe for my next apartment.

  • I feel like Saad because I'm currently sitting on my floor while working on my laptop. The only thing I remember Saad having in his room during college was a lamp. I'm assuming he must have much more now since he's married. But maybe not.

  • I have an odd infatuation with these GE energy efficient light bulbs. They're so bright compared to the $1 Ikea ones that I have. When I turn on a lamp with the Ikea bulbs in them, it's like a little night light (with a purple hue). These GE ones that I bought, give off a warm, orange hue when I first turn them on. Hmm, I need to start thinking things other than light bulbs.

  • I got MLB.TV with the express purpose of watching the Yankees. I also thought that I'd just watch other baseball teams too, like the west coast games after the Yankees game has finished for the day. It turns out that it's actually really boring to watch a team that's not the Yankees. I attribute that to the YES broadcast booth. I don't feel this way about other sports though. I've been thoroughly enjoying the world cup and, in general, I do enjoy watching soccer (except the MLS, which is awful). I enjoy watching the NFL1 just because I like watching the sport. The same goes for the NBA and college basketball.

1 I hate college football though. The skill of play is so bad.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adult shirts

Because I cannot have adult conversations, I do not yet consider myself an adult:

Denis: I was going to wear a button down shirt today but I didn't iron it.
Me: (incredulous) You iron your shirts?
Denis: Only my button downs. Don't you?
Me: No, of course not. I don't even own an iron. (looks down at wrinkled shirt)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Baseball, Ray."

I gave in and ordered again. I was bored and the NBA playoffs were winding down. I'm not sure how I feel yet about watching a Yankees-less Pettitte, let alone watching a very mediocre (and old) Yankees team.

I thought I'd actually make use of the full package and watch a bunch of games, not just the Yankees. But it turns out I really have zero interest in watching a team other than the Yankees.

A few things:
  • works perfectly with the Apple TV
  • Watching Tanaka pitch is really quite enjoyable.
  • Betances and Robertson
  • The Yankees infield is so old. And bad.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Getting excited for the World Cup

Soccer is one of those sports that I never got into growing up. Actually, the only sports I was actually interested in following were baseball and football. I played a little basketball during elementary school but I didn't follow the NBA. Nor did I follow hockey or soccer.

As a kid Soccer was one of those sports that didn't really make sense to me:
1) It required a lot of running. I've never had the endurance for running. I think my mom would always chalk this up to my Asian nature. Irregardless, I was never a fan of sustained running.

2) It requires using your feet to kick the ball. This is a foreign concept to the careful hand-eye coordination that I've honed as kid playing baseball.

It wasn't until I met Marco and Mark that I started watching soccer. I learned about the Champions League, relegation and Juventus, the EPL and how Marco hates it. I would purposefully butcher the pronunciation of players' names, like Arjen (pronounced like Arjun) Robben, Lionel Messi, and Thierry Henry (pronounced exactly as you would expect). We would play a lot of FIFA too, that is, until I snapped the game CD in two after another infuriating loss to Mark. I can't say my FIFA gameplay has gotten any more refined since.

I was in Seattle during the last world cup and Seattle is an amazing soccer city. The atmosphere at the Seattle Sounders games are supposed to be amazing (I never actually went to one of their games, I think it's because 1) I don't do thing by myself and 2) they weren't actually in season when I was in Seattle). One of the reasons why I came to believe that the west coast has the "good time zone" is because during that world cup, I would wake up at 7am for work, turn on the TV, and there would be a soccer game on. It's such a great feeling to just wake up and be able to watch soccer. Long live the good time zone.

I got the US kit during the last world cup.

What I'm looking forward to this World Cup:
  • Seeing the US win. And if they don't win, seeing them lose without Landon Donovan.
  • England messing up their penalty kicks in a shootout. I hope they make it out of their group just so that we can see them miss PKs.
  • Getting to know the next generation of soccer players
  • Orange jerseys. I have orange shoes, don't you know?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gladiator in a suit

Hobbies: Watching TV (aka Fernsehen schauen)
"What do you like to do in your free time?"
"Is there anything you like doing better than watching TV?"
"Sports. Playing sports."

I re-aggravated a neck injury playing basketball last Friday, so I spent all of last weekend in my apartment. I couldn't turn my head so it made driving really unsafe (and sort of impossible). In the midst of my boredom, I watched the first two seasons of Scandal on Netflix. It wasn't particularly good, but I did like their catchphrase, "gladiator in a suit." It's been a while since my last TV marathon -- I forgot how mind-numbing it can be. It's what I imagine heroin tastes like.

I used to watch a lot more TV than I do now. It used to be my defacto thing to do when I'm bored. Mostly during idle summers or long Christmas breaks. I wasted a summer in Seattle watching a lot of TV shows. Though that was mostly because I didn't have any friends in Seattle, I didn't make any effort to make friends, and the other interns were lame (and younger than me).

If I had more interesting neighbors in my apartment complex, I could totally see myself doing a "Rear window" sort of thing in the midst of my boredom. There's an Indian guy who lives next door. He's probably some traveling consultant as I saw him one time walk into his apartment with a suitcase. I would call him the poor man's "double V."1 but the only thing that I know they have in common is their Indian-ness. My neighbor one time was occupying the treadmill in our apartment gym when I tried to use it at 11pm. That was rather annoying because I go to the gym at 11pm specifically to avoid contention on the treadmill.2

I probably I shouldn't call our neighbors uninteresting. The girl next door lent me her shovel during the winter to let me dig my car out. That was pretty nice. And that's the extent of all of my interaction with my neighbors. Oh, there's also the old man who takes walks around the dumpster. Also the guy who almost eats as much pizza as Ben -- I see him take his stack of pizza boxes to the dumpster.

I guess I'm pretty bad at this whole "Rear window" thing.

1 Double V was an MBA student who lived in our apartment when Dan was away one semester doing his co-op. He told us his life story that one time we had dinner together. His middle name was something like "Jawfish." He had a giant stash of frozen Indian food that he would heat up and eat. This made our microwave smell like Indian food. Dan threw it out when he came back and got a new one. He kept a whole semester's worth of frozen food in his giant full-size personal refrigerator he wheeled into his room. He would take really long showers and would run into the bathroom as soon as he heard our alarms in the morning. We also had a working theory that he never actually slept but took a series of micro-naps throughout the night that never lasted longer than 45 minutes. And that's pretty much everything there is to know about "Double V." (And, yes, we would call him "dubV".)

2 Our apartment complex actually has a pretty nice pool. It has a fountain.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Approachable Questions

When I'm out and about walking around town, I usually try not to look insane. That is, I try to keep the talking to myself to a minimum. I've considered walking around with a bluetooth headset so it seems like I'm talking to someone else. In particular, I find that I talk to myself a lot while I'm at the grocery store. There are just so many decisions and running commentary to be made.

"Do I want generic canned tomatoes or name brand ones?"
"Wegman's generic is so much better than Kroger generic"*
"What aisle is the rice located in?" **
"I really want some Trader Joes instant Chai mix."

* Except for Kroger generic brand yogurt, it's the best yogurt I've ever had. It's actually one of my favorite yogurt stories to tell. When I was in Seattle for that one summer, I did most of my grocery shopping at a QFC on the way back from work (it's where I learned to efficiently pack my backpack with groceries, which translated well to my first year in grad school). It's at that QFC where I discovered the excellent Kroger brand yogurt. I actually thought that I'd never have that yogurt again after I left Seattle. But little did I know that Kroger is actually one of the biggest supermarket chains in the states. So I had a happy reunion with Kroger brand yogurt when I got to grad school. (I could go on and on about grocery stores, and maybe even yogurt)

** I've actually had some other customer ask me this. For once, I'm not attributing this to racism, they just didn't know where it was. I did manage to tell them which aisle it was in after looking it up in the grocery store directory. Fun fact: there is a grocery store directory. One of the employees at Kroger showed me it after I kept pestering them about where various things were located. It's actually a pretty lame directory; it's just a small booklet located in every other aisle and it doesn't even have every item listed in it.

Anyways, back to my original point. I find it odd when people ask me for directions when I'm just walking around. I'm definitely the last person on earth that you would want to ask.

It's particularly funny when this happens on campus because I have no idea where anything is. Or in downtown AA where I similarly have no sense of direction. It's also happened in SF, DC, and Chicago (the latter two cities being particularly odd because I was literally there only for a weekend and I absolutely looked like I had no idea what I was doing). One time in SF, I think I blatantly told someone to go in the wrong direction.

I bring all of this up because the other day, when I was walking into the office, an elderly Chinese couple came up to me and started speaking Chinese to me (ironically, they wanted directions to Kroger). I felt bad because they had said a lot before I managed to cut them off and tell them that I didn't speak Chinese. It's surprisingly difficult to cut someone off and explain to them that you don't speak the language they are speaking to you. (I found myself in a similar situation a few weeks ago when Sean recommended that I go to a Chinese barber shop for a hair cut).

I felt bad that I couldn't give them proper directions on how to get to Kroger. They probably wanted yogurt.