Sunday, August 24, 2008

my last year at Berkeley

I just moved back to Berkeley for the fall semester. It's hard to believe summer is over. These breaks are never long enough. :-(

While my classes classes don't start until the 27th, I came back early for Welcome Week in order to make the most out of my last year of college. I've met my new suitemates Bryan, Danny and Tyler, all of whom are really cool guys. I'm sure we'll become good friends soon enough.

Welcome Week is geared towards new students but was pretty fun when I was a freshman. The bad news is that there doesn't seem to have as many activities this year. For example, the RHA doesn't look like they're having their annual Dance & Casino Night. I wouldn't be surprised if the budget cuts are to blame. Damn economic recession. :-(

On the other hand, the theme of this year's Welcome Week is "games." The cool thing is my suitemates brought a ton of SNES, Nintendo 64 and Xbox 360 games to our dorm. They said this had nothing to do with the theme, but it couldn't have been more fitting. In any case, I'm really excited about the school year!

The summer in review

Long story short, this summer totally rocked. For starters, my parents and I went to Yellowstone National Park and the Upper Midwest right after the spring semester ended. The vacation was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. To say we enjoyed it would be an understatement.

I also took Physics 7C at Berkeley during the summer. This was a worthwhile experience as I learned a great deal of things and met many cool people. The not-so-fun part is that I had to miss out on my cousin Anne's wedding in Taiwan, but one cannot have their cake and eat it too.

The rest of the break wasn't too bad as my family went on another trip shortly after summer school ended. Two days after that trip, Jonathan came over from Singapore again and stayed another night at our house. It was a busy summer for sure!

Summer 2008 statistics

I've decided to post some random statistics for shits and giggles:

Family vacations: 2
Pints of sorbet consumed: 1
Pints of ice cream consumed: 7
Pints of ice cream remaining: 5
Comic books read: 4
Summer classes taken: 1
Dances attended: 1
Cousins that got married: 1
Films seen in the theater: 1
Films seen on DVD: 5
RuneScape XP gained: about 1.5 million

Currently playing: Donkey Kong Country

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

back from Southern California

"He's your brother, right?" -- random drunk lady asking Mom about me

I just got back from Southern California with my parents. The plan was to leave Saturday morning, but we had to postpone the trip by a day due to limited hotel vacancies. At any rate, the getaway was a great way to end the summer!

Day 1

The trip began at 10 a.m. with a long drive to Paso Robles. Our first stop along the way was Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad. The view from the patio was amazing, making it a perfect spot for a picnic.

We visited a few more wineries after lunch. Though they're not my cup of tea, exploring new places is always exciting. There was a funny moment at one of the wineries: as we were walking from the parking lot, a woman asked me if I was 21 and then asked my mother if I was her brother. She's obviously had too many drinks. This was completely random, but Mom was flattered as it made her feel young. ^_^

The smooth traffic made the 180-mile drive to Paso Robles shorter than expected. All of us were a little tired and had a rest in our hotel room before going to see what Paso Robles had to offer. I saw an oceanfront restaurant that looked nice and suggested having dinner here. The food was slightly overcooked but wasn't bad otherwise.

Mom and I watched the movies we had borrowed from our local library after returning to the hotel. I saw Sunshine on my laptop before going to bed.

Day 2

Solvang awaited us in the morning. The city seemed smaller than we remembered, but that's probably because we hadn't been there in ages. On the other hand, there was no shortage of restaurants and gift shops; I had a great time checking them out. Though some of the food looked delicious, nothing here was cheap. High prices aside, Solvang was my favorite part of the trip. This was followed by lunch at a Japanese restaurant as it was almost noon.

Our hotel for the evening was located in San Luis Obispo. Dad took us to Santa Barbara after checking us in. The stay included two free DVD rentals as part of a package deal. Sweet!

The reason for the side trip was to see the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is one of the schools that accepted me when I applied for college. The campus was beautiful; UC Santa Barbara would have been my top choice if I hadn't gotten into Berkeley.

The 190-mile round trip meant it was rather late when we got back to San Luis Obispo. All of us were pretty hungry at this point and stopped for dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant. The food was somewhat salty but wasn't too bad as far as Chinese buffets go.

It was finally time to redeem the DVD rentals. I chose Blade while my mother picked a comedy. However, Dad was exhausted and wanted to go to bed; not wanting to disturb his sleep, Mom and I decided to finish our movies in the morning.

Day 3

The two of us finished watching our movies before checking out. Our main stop of the morning was the California Polytechnic State University campus. Cal Poly is another school I had applied to, although I didn't get in. On the whole, I personally liked UC Santa Barbara better.

We stopped at the Gilroy Premium Outlets on the way home as Mom wanted to look at shoes. Shopping for shoes isn't exactly my thing, but I can't complain about extending our trip. Back in the Bay Area, the three of us had dinner at Pizz'a Chicago before arriving home. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular vacation.

I should probably get back to studying as my fall classes are starting soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out the pictures from our trip.

Update: The pictures are now online.

Currently listening to: The Collector's Series, Volume One by Celine Dion

Saturday, August 16, 2008

new dual-core laptop!

It turns out my family couldn't leave for SoCal today as planned. On the other hand, I took the opportunity to familiarize myself with our new HP Pavilion dv2700 laptop. Dad actually bought it for work but is letting me use it for the time being. I had been busy preparing for the Physics 7C final and didn't have the chance to play with the notebook until now.

The dv2700 has a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM and 230 GB of storage. It came with Windows Vista installed; I've heard bad things about Vista but haven't had any trouble with it so far. Let's hope it stays that way. *crosses fingers*

Currently watching: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer school is over, w00t!

The summer session at Berkeley just ended. It was a worthwhile experience as I learned a great deal of things. Having said that, Physics 7C wasn't an easy class by any means. I'm glad it's out of the way - assuming I did well on that final exam!

The bad news is that I tripped and damaged my microwave while moving out of the dorms. Though the damage wasn't too bad, my parents are concerned about radiation leaks. So that means we'll have to buy a new microwave soon. Shit happens.

In other news...

Dad is planning a trip to Southern California for the weekend. After all, I've got to enjoy summer while it lasts. :-)

Currently reading: Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God damn script kiddies

Someone seems to have hijacked my Yahoo! and Gmail accounts this morning. The person managed to change my security questions in addition to the passwords. I was able to recover my Gmail account with relative ease but had to call customer support to reset my Yahoo! login. Bastards.

The good news is that neither account contained sensitive information. I'm also glad none of my other ones were affected. That said, the script kiddie seriously deserves a roundhouse kick to the face from both Chuck Norris and Bruce Schneier.

In other news...

On a more positive note, there was a swing dance class at Unit 2 tonight. Though I only watched and didn't dance with anyone, I really enjoyed the atmosphere.

Currently listening to: "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani