Archive for September, 2004

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Jimmy Eat World is coming to Pittsburgh. PITTSBURGH. November 11 pm at 7:30 pm at the Rock Hall. I saw them 2 years ago in San Francisco at the warfield. I think I\’ll miss class to go see them. Again.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

One characteristic that I really don\’t like about myself is my constant social anxiety. Not surprisingly, the Internet is one of the very few places that I almost have none. In some situations, it\’s significant enough that I don\’t do the best that I can at one task.

It\’s just not shyness. I do want to voice my opinion. I want to say something. But this almost irrational fear overcomes me when I have to say something. Not just public speaking, mind you. In high school, the worst grades I got was…for class participation. There was an English class where the teacher graded heavily on participation in class discussion. Almost 15% of the grade. Of course, I was silent the entire semester, probably only spoke aloud 2 or 3 times when he forced me to answer a question. My participation grade was…very low. But I wrote the best essays in class and for some reason, that made up for everything. I got an A in that class.

Most people don\’t understand my \”social anxiety\”. I can see them get frustrated – \”JUST SAY SOMETHING.\” But that just isn\’t good enough.

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Reminder to self – what is on my to-be-purchased list:

  • 17\” lcd monitor
  • mini usb mouse
  • wireless network adapter for desktop
  • ipod?
  • at least 265 mb of ram for pb
  • Sunday, September 26th, 2004

    Why is my powerbook\’s fan on when I am not doing anything that…heavy-duty?

    Just only word, powerpoint, quicksilver, adium, mulberry, mozilla, terminal?

    Moving up through school seems to get progressively harder and stressful. High school was a complete breeze. Undergrad at Berkeley was…well…not that horrible; I had too much free time and I knew it. Now in grad school, I am working almost every waking hour on assignments and projects even though I am doing the program \”part-time\”.

    The last week, I have been having 3-5 hour meetings every day. Today, I have been in this nifty 8th floor conference room (it has a stove, a coffee maker, a view of the city of pittsburgh, outlets in the middle of the table, a good VGA projector, one whiteboard, one blackboard, one bulletin board, and drawers of soy sauce) There\’s also two airport expresses nearby, but they\’re both password protected. :( Out of the five group members, four of us have powerbooks. :) It\’s 7:30 pm now…we\’re almost done…we\’re almost done…I hope. I need time to prepare for my presentation tomorrow.

    Saturday, September 25th, 2004

    It\’s so superficial, but one thing I am afraid of…is that I\’ll gain too much weight here in Pittsburgh. One significant difference here and California is that there are more people that are…pleasantly plump. On the bus, I see people taking up more than one seat. Then when walking to the local supermarket, I see someone in a wheelchair because they can\’t walk. I feel guilty as I walk by, knowing that I gawk and knowing that…maybe it\’s not their fault that they\’re that way. And yet, I can\’t help feeling disgusted as they enter Coldstone Creamery to order a \”I love it\” size.

    When I was younger, my mom did make a point of how I was \”bigger\” than my younger sister. It just sort of showed. But being asian, I was always compared to my peers as skinny…and thinner. Most of the time, I never really watch what I eat. Food to me…is meant to be a joy. And other times, I see it as a curse because my hunger pangs interfere with my work productivity. In Berkeley, I often got away with eating 5-10 bites of food, mostly because I didn\’t have time to eat. That was also because my mom made me food and I didn\’t attach as much value. Here in Pittsburgh, because I make my own food and purchase my own meals, I feel like I should finish everything I make because…it would be such a waste otherwise. And so now, I find myself eating not because I am hungry, but because the food is there. A few days ago, I bought a large bunch of bananas and…finished it in two days.

    Sigh.

    And another thing is that…while in Berkeley, the kitchen was the next room, here the kitchen is two floors below. It\’s too far. And…selfish as it is, I am posessive of my food. The idea of leaving my favorite food downstairs outside of my cupboard (i.e. bread, cornbread, bakery cookies, cereal) may invite people to eat them. So to appease my paranonia, I keep some food in my room. I have three boxes of beverages – water, lemonade, and snapple iced tea. Then a huge bag of ramen. Then my cornbread and cookies in another corner. Then one box of cereal and my raisin loaf bread. And bananas.

    Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

    For everything that is strange and weird to me here, everything in California is strange to people here in Pittsburgh. Example: I have always complained about the back doors on the Pittsburgh buses. That is, I have to yell \”back door\” to get the bus driver to open the back door. Otherwise, I have to run toward the front so that I could get off. Yesterday, I overheard the bus driver talking to a passenger…about how he thought the back doors in other cities were so weird. The fact that the bus driver didn\’t open and close the back door. But if people get on from the back? asked the bus driver Well duh, the back door only opens in one way. But what if someone rides from one side of the city to the other, aren\’t they supposed to be pay extra? And for this, I thought this was really weird that going from one zone to another costed extra…

    Another odd thing I find strange about Pittsburgh is that cars don\’t yield to pedestrians. If I am crossing the street, I expect cars to just sort of…slow down. But here, I almost got run over. The other day, I overheard how someone was so surprised that in San Francisco, a car came screeching down the hill and halted right in front of him so that he would cross.

    EDIT: CARS DON\’T YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS AS OFTEN IN THE EAST COAST.

    Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

    I wobbled today.

    Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

    Even though I had 10 hours of sleep, I still was able to twist my ankle today. Although this time it wasn\’t because of bad shoes or bad coordination. This time it was because of BAD INTERFACE. I was walking out of the old student center, the exit on the bottom floor and opened the door. It was very bright outside so I assumed that the door opened straight to a level surface. Instead, as I took a step outside and suddenly I found myself sprawled on the ground. Apparently the door opened into one single stair with no sign that said \”WATCH OUT\”.

    Before that, I was thinking what a great day it was. That even though I got up late (at noon), I was still able to go to the Technical Opportunities Conference (career fair @ cmu) and talk to a few companies. Dropped off my resume. Then was able to squeeze out some hints from the TAs for the stat hw. Then I fell.

    Oh and right now my bed collapsed. I finally put the screws in.

    Our house is finally getting a new fridge after I hassled the maintenance person who came to fix our toilets today (I guess they didn\’t want to respond to our earlier fridge requests). But with a broken fridge comes no ice. I have only 3 pieces of ice now in a plastic bag over my ankle now…which I put on my newly constructed file cabinet with a tempered glass top.

    It has been exactly one month since I left Berkeley. Tomorrow marks the day since I left California. How much has changed since? Everything is almost the same. But. Relationship-wise, it isn\’t the same. Not that kind of relationship. But it took almost one month to realize how dependent I was on feelings and attachment to people. It took that long to discover that I can be happy by myself. I can be happy with hours of music and myself. But yesterday, my sister made a good point. Memories are supposed to be times of remembrance. For awhile, I had detested how I go through my photo album and found picturess of people I never spoke to anymore. And how at the moment that the picture was taken, we were oblivious to what was going to happen to our friendship. But pictures and that kind of memory is supposed to be a capture of once-upon-a-time happiness. It\’s no regret for the future, but rather it\’s contentment that it happened.

    Monday, September 20th, 2004

    What is a home? One of my friends a few years ago did an essay on that very topic. She asked me to be part of the paper. The interview was about what home meant for me. At that time, I lived in the Berkeley dorms. I never said I was going back home ever. I told people that I would be going back to the dorm or go to Lafayette. Ultimately, at the time, she was able to imply that I didn\’t have a home.

    And now? I could call my parents\’ house in Lafayette home. I also could say that the house in Pittsburgh is my home. But I entirely avoid the use of the word home. Mostly for the fact that it isn\’t permanent. Is it home if my primary sleeping area is there? Is it home if my desk is there? Is it home where I can keep my food together? A place that I call my own? But what if I keep all my things in two places? Am I referring to the entire city? The entire state? Just my room? And the bathroom?

    In Berkeley, because of that belief, I always would be confused if someone said they were going home. Normally, I took it to be their original hometown. The parents\’ house. I miss home meant that they missed their hometown, their friends, their family, the things they grew up around. Because that was the most typical desire.

    Home is one of those words that would always puzzle me. Go home.

    Monday, September 20th, 2004

    And now for another indecisive moment – what to do for thanksgiving?

  • fly to San Diego and spend the weekend with my sister (roundtrip flights right now are $350+ and personally I hate spending so much time in the airport)
  • fly to Boston and spend the weekend with Karen at MIT
  • insert myself into my relatives\’ festivities in the midwest (Michigan or Chicago), relatives that I don\’t know that well
  • stay in Pittsburgh (in the cold, which means no black friday)
  • I know some people must be thinking how about _go home to the bay area_? The fact of the matter is that Thanksgiving has never been big in my family. My mom, a registered nurse, usually works on Thanksgiving. Because it\’s like that, my sister usually stays in San Diego during the weekend. So usually it ends up being only my dad and me having turkey soup to commenorate the day. But what to do what to do!

    From time to time, I envy how people have a place to go to for the holidays. For me, Thanksgiving is the same as Christmas. My mom works. So it\’s just my dad, my sister and me. My grandparents usually attempt a dinner a few days before Christmas. A dinner at the Chinese restaurant. There\’s no family rituals. None of that. And so, I am waiting for the day that I could join another\’s family\’s festivities during the holidays. What does it mean to spend family time? What does it mean?

    On another note, I noticed that I don\’t like spending time with people in large groups. I lose myself in the unfamiliarity. There\’s so much of this group thing here. I can\’t do it. I want to spend time with people one-on-one. But that\’s not the way it works since it\’s such a small program. If I invite him, I must automatically invite her…and him…and him too.

    I found this nice cheesecake place the other day. They also have good bakalava.