In comparison with last year\’s summer memories:

  • Working as a residential computing consultant, marketing (sort of) , technical coordinator and lead technical coordinator all in a period of 3 months
  • Taking the introduction to digital video class for $120 which was probably not worth it…to make the very-artlike video on the Mike Fernando story
  • Eating at Spenger\’s with Karen and Anderson – was this a relief or a regret since I didn\’t like the food at all
  • Watching Vienna Teng play piano and sing. Live. In San Jose where I paid too much for parking and also splurged too much on Denny\’s.
  • MEETING PINK TACO, \’nuff said
  • Eating at Bette\’s Diner with Kyle and how we were able to drive there, wait for a table, order, eat, drive back all in one hour
  • Eating at Cactus in Rockridge – HI I GET LOST – and at Barney\’s with Becky
  • Pimpin\’ the CAs at CKC :)
  • Shopping with Angie, why did we have a $25 lunch?
  • Almost running over a middle aged man while making a right turn onto College
  • Setting off the storage alarm with Sean and having myself \”carded\” by a campus police officer who radioed my stats into her radio
  • Saying goodbye to Angie, not once, not twice, but thrice
  • Actually having ONE sip of an alcoholic drink aka apple martini – that\’s the most alcohol I have ever had
  • Losing (or misplacing) my car keys twice, both times at Clark Kerr – first time, I had dropped them in front of building 8 then the second time I dropped them in the computing center…
  • NOT having Shinelun come back to the bay area and carpooling with me
  • Driving up to Irvine Spectrum to see Vanessa and being supremely disappointed by what a typical socal mall is like
  • Being stuck in traffic on the 405
  • Seeing Kill Bill vol. 1 four times and Kill Bill Vol. 2 twice
  • Getting the pick up line from a resident who wanted to hit on me – \”You\’re leaving in 10 days? But I need 11 days to change your life!\”
  • Having a party where guys outnumbered the girls. Seven to one!
  • I now know a total of 5 Chris\’s
  • Watching Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and actually treking to In \’N Out right after
  • My LOTR fascination that last for approximately a month when I watched FOTR and TTT more than 15 times each, re-reading the entire triology,
  • Lele getting a cell phone!!!!
  • Parking in a space that I got tricked into renting – $200 for the entire summer, two blocks from the Rescomp office, a dirt driveway, have the space that is marked \”no parking\”
  • The parents buying a new cactus green colored 2004 Toyota Corolla – my dad very reluctant to let me drive it, only letting me drive the 1988 Acura Legend
  • Spontaneously visiting San Francisco on a Wednesday with Karen, et al…in the Legend, fortunately it made it up all the hills
  • Meeting two idiot 24 year old guys formerly from USC who thought I was interesting just because I was mean to them
  • Being a coward and never returning an e-mail to my philosophy GSI to ask why I failed the final…*cough*…
  • Being asked \”how does it feel to have graduated\” one too many TIMES
  • SEEING THE MAN WITH A MONITOR ON HIS BACK!!!! (thank you so much for making my summer worth it)
  • Having a 100 degree fever while I did a fmri study. whoops.
  • Yahoo following gmail\’s steps of offering more space. Well only a little more space…
  • Me offering to give out gmail invites if someone commented on an entry, AND NOBODY RESPONDED
  • Buying an oversize expensive ADIDAS backpack from SportsMart!!!
  • Watching the director\’s cut of Blade Runner with Lam and Chris…apparently the original version had a voiceover by Harrison Ford and is much more easier to understand rather than being pumped with bad 80s \”futuristic\” synthesizer music
  • Meeting a Marine Corps guy on the flight to Pittsburgh who kept talking and talking about his experience abroad…and him giving me his e-mail address which I promptly lost
  • People giving me one too many tours of Carnegie Mellon in July
  • Seeing a $700 apartment in Pittsburgh that looks exactly like a $1200 one in Berkeley
  • Peggy rejecting me. Again.
  • Hosting one of the best parties ever because the right people came…then also ditching my own party for a non-related event
  • Making two really good friends in less than a month and also learning more about someone that I should not have…

  • my mother calling me at 11:30 pm on my penultimate day in Berkeley, telling me to come home and then threatening, \”NO CAR, NO KEYS IF YOU AREN\’T HOME IN 30 MINUTES. *click*\”
  • Tomorrow is my first day of class. Summer is officially over (and my summer list still isn\’t finished yet). Since I plan to work for a professor here, my schedule seems lighter than it should be. Normally most students take up to 6 classes per semester. I just want to make sure I can allow everything to sink in before I graduate.

    Today while walking back from yet another potluck, I got caught in a downpour. Of course, Pittsburgh weather is known for being very NON-california like. At first, I was going to walk the 3 blocks home, but the lightning and thunder was close together. I went into my friend\’s place which was a midpoint home and stayed there while the sky flashed and roared. Then it was over in 20 minutes. What great weather, right?

    To this day, I don\’t understand why SoCal people complain about Berkeley weather. Here in Pittsburgh, how could SoCal people complain about unpredictability of temperature when I am suffering humid summers and cold winters? I quote a student, \”You don\’t know what winter is until you have been to Pittsburgh.\”

    Being three hours in the future is sort of getting to me. Waking up at 11 am knowing that people in California are still incubating in their little cocoons. More so, the fact that I can\’t have the late night conversations (on AIM) that I used to have. 2 am is late for me, but the night has only started for California. I had a few friends on the East Coast when I was in California…they had bad habits of staying up until 4 or 5 am. Is that what\’s going happen to me when I am sitting out in dreary humid cloudy Pittsburgh, craving the clear blue sky of California?

    It\’s strange to be in a city where I don\’t recognize anybody. What I mean…is not quite about not seeing people I know. But rather walking down the street and coming across the girl that was in Linguistics with me or the weird looking guy who I had to help fix his computer. My first week in Pittsburgh is almost over and I feel so much more settled than I was at the beginning of the week. It also might be because I now have a bed, a plastic drawer thing, my overpriced mirror from Ikea, and my overdone hangers (also another mistaken purchase from Ikea).

    I also bought laundry detergent. For the very first time. I\’ll like to declare that I have never done laundry on my own in my life. At the age of 22, I will put my clothes in the washing machine…turn on the water, dump in the clothes, pour in the detergent, hit \”start\” and wait 30 minutes to put the rest of the clothes in the dryer. So, am I missing any steps?

    Today, I went along with Jack (someone I did research with this summer in Berkeley), his housemate and Justin to…almost all the cheap furniture places in Pittsburgh. Needless to say, cheap furniture stores does not mean they have quality things (of course). Not to mention, it was humid because of morning thunderstorms…so it was tiring to trek from store to store…when all I wanted was to be in the cheap wood and clean design of a Swedish furniture store.

    So far, I learned that PhD students tend to be more \”quieter\” than the masters students. HCI is always more \”interactive\” and social than CSD students. Despite being the top program in HCI in the US, the hci program is significantly smaller than of CSD. Also, my housemate can get very drunk. :)

    Oh yeah yesterday like my farewell party, I used my laptop and the free dell speakers to play music until my other housemate brought down his speaker system. YEAH!

    Because I said \”If the Internet does not exist, then I do not exist\” at the logo icebreaker on the first day of orientation, I have to blog about what happened so far because some students are counting on me. Or rather they\’ll try to google me and find this anyway!!!

    Being at a private school and an elite program, you would think that most people would be slightly arrognant. But fortunately most mhci people are humble and down to earth. At our \”potluck\”, I was able to have fun despite being the only sober one. Guy, one of the people who got really drunk, commended me for my blogging dedication. I just had to say that because he claims he will find my site.

    I changed my cellphone number. Or at least, I bought a new phone plan from Verizon today after spending a month undecided about whether I should pay extra to keep my Cingular phone. (No Cingular in Pittsburgh for some stupid reason.) What\’s great about Pittsburgh is the fact that nearly everyone here uses Verizon so I can do the \”unlimited IN calling\” thing aka unlimited mobile to mobile minutes. I can bug you, every day, every second…all day long!

    It was funny when I walked into RadioShack with Kun. We both went up to the salesperson and I declared that we both wanted a new phone plan. The $39.99 America\’s Choice plan. Of course, he immediately assumed that Kun and I were…\”close\” and was about to sell us a family package. Then for some stupid reason, he assumed that we were both FOBs and asked if we really had any picture id. We pulled out our California driver\’s licenses and the process…went fast. We both got the LG vx6000, the phone that almost everyone has.

    But! So I returned to the GSA orientation and on a city tour. Embarrassingly enough, Kun called me right while the tour guide was talking about how…Pittsburgh was number one for yet another something…and my phone went off. Of course, I didn\’t know how my ring sounded like. So I stared along with everyone as we turned our heads to figure out the origin of the (annoying) sound. And it turned out it was me. Ouch.

    Despite being the arrognant fix-computer-nerd I am, I was embarrassed to find out that the reason my laptop was acting funny was because my airport card had come loose. Yesterday night, my powerbook got a pseudo-black screen of death – where the screen shaded into gray and had a message that said \”you must restart your computer. hold down the power button\”. At first, I thought it was because my baby PB had reheated, but NOOO. So the following morning, I dragged myself to the CMU Computer Maintenace Group where I dropped off my laptop. In a few hours, they called back saying they just reseated the airport card and that everything was now fine.

    That…I could have done it myself. But I suppose I am the kind of person that is reluctant to operate on my own precious objects. Of course, I would so happily work on any computer that is not mine!

    So far, orientation has been…interesting. Met lots of interesting people. But the weird thing is how the schedule is set up. For several activities, they would direct us to a room, but then…nobody would show up. So we just end up socializing in the meantime. It\’s just so weird that there are at least 10 people originally from California. Of those 10, about 5 came from Berkeley. Even more so, there are about…6 or so people who came directly from undergrad. So I am not the youngest! :)

    By the way, I got a (twin) bed yesterday. Yes, it\’s used, but then we sleep on beds in hotels and dorms all the time and they all have been used! I had two of my new friends (along with a new housemate) help me assemble it. (At first, I had dragged a shopping cart from Giant Eagle the supermarket around here to help me deliver, but the girl selling it to me was nice enough to deliver it to the house). Unfortunately, I sort neglected the four screws she gave me. I think in a few days I may be startled awake by an earthquake of the bed.

    So despite all my vain pictures in my photo album, my cmu id looks horrible. Hm, maybe I should post it!

    Today was my first day of orientation. I admit it was so different from CalSo as an undergrad at Berkeley. No bright-eyed freshmen who was away from home for the first time. Yet I was almost disappointed that people weren\’t that immature. I guess I shouldn\’t feel that way. I am pretty sure some people from the program will find the existence of this blog since I am currently third in google for \”cmu mhci blog\”, but we\’ll see.

    What surprised me was that half of the people in the program are originally from the west coast. Two people are from Hong Kong. And what\’s more is that half of the program…almost half of all the people…are asian. All my housemates now are coincidentially asian. I thought Pittsburgh would be predominantly Caucasian, a return to how Lafayette is like. I guess that\’s what happens in graduate programs. :) I am also very happy that the majority of my housemates have a MAC. And a lot of people in the program use a MAC. I am not alone. Although I am sure nobody has a dented powerbook like mine. I think I did see someone with a cracked screen. Ouch. :(

    Anyway, I am now sitting on the floor of my room. It looks like a tornado ran through here. I slept on the ground yesterday. I also used the yellow plastic crates as a pseudo desk and shelves. There\’s a girl in my program who is selling a twin bed, but I don\’t have a car. I am going to die. It\’s $49 to deliver furniture from Ikea to this house in Pittsburgh. So much to do. I think I left my PNC debit card in California. Whoops.

    It feels so strange to be in a city where I don\’t know anyone (that well). And strange that I don\’t know the bus routes. I don\’t know where everything is located. I am not sure how to get to the closest Best Buy. And especially living in a city where the word Fry\’s does not exist… :(

    Right now, it\’s 11 pm and I am sitting in a computing cluster ON CAMPUS, writing from my laptop. I had taken a $50 taxifare (including tip) to the house. Dragged three pieces of luggage (50 pounds each), a desktop and my backpack from the West Coast. Then a professor that my neighbor\’s friend knew deliver two boxes. This is supposed to be a new beginning for me, but when is it going to start?

    I always wanted to start a blog entry with the word \”And in a drunken stupor…\”, but we all know that won\’t happen. Instead, I woke up today at 5 am in a dead state. I had indulged in staying up late and only got only 3 hours of sleep. As I ran around my room trying to find anything I wanted to bring, I realized…that I won\’t be home for more than 4 months.

    During welcome week in Berkeley, I only showed up during move-in day to drop off my stuff and claim a bed. I immediately went home after the hall ass meeting, thinking that it was unneeded. Maybe that was one of my regrets. As a result the following four years, I almost went home every weekend. My reasons always ranged from \”nothing to do in Berkeley\” or \”better sleep at home\”. But that made me take my parents and home for granted. My apartments in Berkeley were always half-moved in. Everything that I needed to \”live\” was at both places. And so now, I have 3 boxes (50+ pounds each – yes I brought my dell speakers), one desktop computer, my backpack, and two boxes I had brought earlier to Pittsburgh. All this…to start anew on the opposite coast. I am attending the entire orientation week, starting this Monday. And I want to do CMU right, with no regrets. Learn the best as I can, do the well as I can…and finally experience life to the fullest. We\’ll see what I will be saying in 2 years though., because I am sure 4 years ago I was saying \”this sucks, i wanna go home\”.