Entries for November, 2003

Julie Choi got engaged!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):):)

The first of my 'real friends' to become engaged!!!


Side story: When I first met Richard, I was like "dag he's exactly what I imagined as being the perfect bf for Julie!
Posted by roy on November 2, 2003 at 01:46 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
I wonder how long I have to listen to Toni Braxton's "Unbreak my Heart" before I just break down and cry.

Time is now 11:25 EST. Let's find out.


therefore i am thug.

oh the joy of reasoning.
Currently listening to: Toni Braxton's Unbreak My Heart
Posted by roy on November 2, 2003 at 09:30 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments
Currently listening to: Matchbox 20's 3AM
Posted by roy on November 3, 2003 at 01:50 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments
I had my first meeting with Alex, the other dude helping me with CampusExchange.

CampusExchange has always been a project I've wanted to pursue on the UNC campus; I really don't approve of how I only get about 1/8 of the total price of books during buyback season.

CampusExchange (which I'll shorten to CE from now on) helps facilitate local textbook transactions; it's not a 'true' internet company... we have no interest in reaching people in Boston or in Cali. We just care about the local market.

We're building, in essence, an online classifieds section for UNC students, but we're doing it in a very narrow way; every function will geared towads textbooks. Although we really don't have an interest yet in pursuing other areas (simple classifieds), I'm sure if the site proves popular enough, we'll do it.

Alex has a grade for this project; he is doing it for his advertising class project, so I know he's commited.

I've been pumping out code the past few days ... trying to work on building a good, solid foundation we can later expand on. There are small things that you always find out while programming. For example, how do you treat "wanted" ads?

My initial impression was to treat it just like a selling ad, but this seems a bit overreaching. For example, most students won't know what textbooks they want to use (unless we get that data). So I'll probably build a function just for the wanted ads.

The initial builds of CE were great, but we needed more. Convenience and usability are huge issues, and we were lacking in that last time. I learned a lot from the initial releases of CE... of which I'll hopefully fix up soon.

I'll write more on this as I progress further along the project.
Posted by roy on November 3, 2003 at 10:54 PM in | Add a comment
Today me and Alex went to Student Stores to try to get a textbook listing; they're just in the process of getting the data input into the system and told us to come back next week.

We also started to go through the bureacracy to try to get the grade distribution report for the school; this should have a listing of all the professors and their grade distributions.

We've decided that this data is crucial to the success of the site. If we can get a full textbook listing (so we know exactly what is being used and at what price), we can incorporate this directly into the site. Removing the barriers for the full flow of information is really how prices become inflated in the first place; our goal is to abide by the laws of free market and to push the prices lower by pushing the flow of information.

But of course, all websites need a 'hook.' Although we would love to push the product itself, we also need something that people will immediately attach to. And that thing is the pickaprof-type system. Full grade distribution reports on the site for all professors, with the ability of comments will replace the need for any UNC-CH students to even use pickaprof.

But how do we ensure this site remains free? Many people are becoming more skeptical about the viability of free sites (with good reason). It's important that you make clear to your audience that certain features will be free for life.

CampusExchange has never intended on making money off of the professor grade distribution data. We want to make money from textbook exchanges (and classifieds in the future).

In essence, CE is revisiting the old portal era (remember the pre-Google days when every search engine tried to be your one-stop portal?). These companies failed because they failed to realize that portals should be local. Their options tried to reach too many people and therefore were too broad.

CE has a very focused market: students of UNC-CH. Nobody else. Everything transpires within the sleepy town of Chapel Hill.

The advantages of this are two-fold:
1.) Because the success of this site relies on word-of-mouth advertising, this spreads much quicker in a smaller group setting. Look at Tabulas as a case study of how slow word-of-mouth spreads on the Internet. CE should in essence be launched and have a strong following within two weeks. And it's not unreasonable if we target student organization listserves as our primary method of advertising.

2.) The focus of the site is more determined. We know our demographic. They are upper middle-class students. This is not a hard task to pull off. Granted, there are different demographics within our school, but we all have the same goals for the next four years: study, graduate, and save money for partying.

CE is simply serving as a platform for eventually becoming a UNC portal. We will eventually incorporate a better class search engine than the UNC one ... couple this with the professor search engine and the textbook search engine, and CE becomes your one-stop for the registration process.
Posted by roy on November 4, 2003 at 01:07 PM in | Add a comment
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

Currently listening to: Styx's Mr Roboto
Posted by roy on November 4, 2003 at 02:48 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
It's been unseasonably warm lately. Of course, UNC, in all its infinite wisdom, decided to turn off the centralized air conditioning. So our awesome A/C unit (which I sacrificed three years in HoJo for)) is useless.

With 4 guys living in one room with a lot of computers on, it gets hot very fast.

Deciding that I had enough of being warm, I set forth to somehow force the cooler air outside into our room.

SOLUTION: Get our huge fan sitting next to the window. This will pull cool air from outside and push it into our room.

PROBLEM: Only the top-half of our window opens. The bottom half refuses to open. Furthermore, we're on the third floor with a parking lot right under our window. If a window fan were to fall out of our window, we'd be in big trouble.

To make things worse, we don't have any rope at all in this room. Or duct tape!

My solution?

Interesting things to note:

1.) The plastic thing you use to rotate blinds has been crossed and is scotched-taped to the other side so that our fan won't fall outside.

2.) Using an elaborate system of crosses, our blind string now serves as the support structure for our fan. The fan leaves forwards, courtesy of our blind string.

Of course, what really sucks is that the window is right above my bed: will I trust my own ingenuity when I go to sleep tonight?

Probably not. But at least we have cool air in the room (finally).
Currently listening to: Big Boi f. Jay-Z's Flip Flop Rock
Posted by roy on November 4, 2003 at 07:29 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
One of the bigger obstacles for CE has been its status. We've tried to avoid becoming a student organization; although this would help in obtaining data and would possibly give us some money from Student Congress (doubtful though), we would lose our ability to operate independently.

One of the main features I've set in the site is the ability to specify school; I want this site to be franchise-able, and the moment we declare student org status, we lose the ability to push the franchise idea. Furthermore, I think there are serious fund-raising issues (e.g. it will cost money to get this done, and we won't be able to effectively raise money via student org status).

In any case, I just called the bureacracy of UNC to try to obtain grade distribution reports. The lady I talked with was very nice and told me she'd call me back.

Let's hope we can get the data so we can get a pickaprof system up. If not, I think me and Alex will go talk honestly with the Head Registrar about setting up a free, independent pickaprof system for UNC students.

Jandro44: it's a shame you only in the rap game, only for the money and the fame, paparazzi

Damn straight.
Posted by roy on November 5, 2003 at 01:58 PM in | Add a comment
Websites that are "first to market" usually get a strong following. However, a lot of these websites later fail (for whatever reason).

I sometimes wonder why these websites didn't make their existence required for any competitors.

For example, imagine if Friendster had published their data (using some variant of SOAP or FOAF standards). Then MySpace and all these other new sites would of probably relied on the Friendster data, and Friendster would of quickly become the "data" source for these other clones.

This might hurt Friendster in the short run, but imagine a competitive environment where you control the intellectual property. It's not much of a competition, actually. You would simply be the parent company to all these other clones.

Of course, how do you prevent these clones from outright stealing the data and then cutting you out? There really isn't a foolproof way to do this - what you rely on is your name and YOUR ability to do better.

Following my analogy, what if Friendster published all data and then MySpace grabbed it (for a nice price, of course)? If Friendster continued to provide a better user experience, then it wouldn't matter. But if MySpace turned out to be better ... well then the user wins (and Friendster dies, but does anyone care if a crappy site dies?)

In a sense, this is what Amazon is doing. They originally were only selling their own goods ... but now they're slowly expanding into services, making other ecommerce sites depend on Amazon for success. And when me (Joe user) goes to search for an item, I get the best price from various retailers, not just Amazon. Amazon is not worried about losing sales; they make that up in the money they make from Target and such (running their sites). Plus now the availability of items is so great that I just go there to buy everything (and no doubt they've made a few sales from my various purchased over the past few weeks, although most of it comes from Adorama).

In any case, the reason I posted this under CE and not web development is because this is what I plan on doing with CE. Full XML syndication of all data; I don't purport to be the smartest guy alive. I'm pretty sure someone else could do better with the data than me.

If I can control the flow of information for these other sites, then in essence I'm forcing the livelihood of other sites to be contingent on OUR success. It's a risky strategy, but one that I think pays out in the long run.

We'll see soon enough.
Posted by roy on November 5, 2003 at 02:24 PM in | Add a comment
- Attacking a well-established adversary with more money, more staff, and more experience.
- Implementing a site idea that had moderate success
- Reprogramming the whole site for functionality
- Creating a usable design
- Dealing with UNC bureacracy
- Integrating the wealth of UNC data out there (class search engine?)
- Making sure the site stays alive
- Talking with Alex over marketing plans for the site

My work is cut out for me. What is arguably the most difficult project so far has been draining me physically and mentally over the past few days.

My work is cut out for me. But boy, if this site matches up to what I have envisioned, it's going to blow everyone away.
Currently listening to: Freaknasty's Da Dip
Posted by roy on November 5, 2003 at 02:43 PM in Web Development | 1 Comments
I'm on the tail-end of a 8 hour programming marathon. Most of it was data-entry and fixing ... so it's not a huge deal.

I managed to use my limited regexp knowledge to get all 10,000 courses offered in the spring for UNC into the CE system. I also managed to grab about 3000 professor names; I'm sure this will come in handy when (someone) has to input the grade distributions for each professor.

This took a while to do... the regexps had to be precise due to the imperfect formatting of the UNC site. You can see the source that I used for this all.

Ok, so this is one big piece of the puzzle down. I have to finish the rest of the CE site today and integrate the class search engine. It'd be nice to inplement a major search engine (an advanced course search engine that would return all aspects of a class, including what it's a prereq for whether it can be used in a major), but this may be a bit too far down the line. We'll see.

For now, just get the site running, Roy. Don't try to overextend the site yet.

Note to self: I need to add a separate layer of DB abstraction for each class. I'm storing each class in separate databases... not efficient. But this means reworking a major portion of the site. Oh well. Better now then later.

Off to Ye Olde Waffle Shop to grab some breakfast, and then sleep. That fool Hao is coming over soon.
Currently listening to: Nobuo Uematsu f. Rikki's Suteki da ne
Posted by roy on November 6, 2003 at 05:38 AM in | Add a comment
MP3 song of the day: Outlandish - Aicha.

Had a horrible day today. But it's the horrible days that give you the insight to fix whatever's wrong in your life.
Currently listening to: Outlandish's Aicha
Posted by roy on November 6, 2003 at 02:47 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
After finally having the initiatie to order a whole lot of paper and ink from Amazon for my printer, I started printing photos from a few of my photographic galleries (Summer 2002 and Chapel Hill).

The Chapel Hill pictures aren't coming out as sharp (which isn't surprising, as I never stored high-res versions of them), but they are okay at 4x6.

My summer pictures are coming out incredibly crisp and beautiful. I'm kicking myself for not printing them out earlier ... some of them are pretty good looking.

The most interesting thing is that they do look quite different than on screen; there really is an art to printing pictures. My printer for some reason seems to drift into the cyan, rendering everything with a slight blueish hue (which may actually be the lighting in my room). I've tried to offset it a few times, but then I got distracted by something shiny.

. . .

I've been busting my ass off on a new project that has to be finished by mid-November, which means I'll be pulling a series of all-nighters this weekend to finish it this weekend.

It's an incredibly exciting project and has a ton of real-life potentiatl. Hopefully I can also get a little bit of work done on Tokki so I can take it out of development and just release it out there; people deserve the best :)

Sorry my entries have been so boring lately, but I'm a pretty boring person right now.

. . .

Yesterday I played some poker with Hao (although I wasn't really feeling well, boo!) and owned him in heads-up poker. We played a total of 5 games ... I won 4 times and took a total of $20 off of him.

Before you feel bad, realize the last time I played with him in a group setting, the two combined took $15 off of me. So it's all good!

My overall heads-up record against Hao is now 15-1. PWNED!
Currently listening to: of a revolution (O.A.R.)'s That was a crazy game of poker
Posted by roy on November 7, 2003 at 02:43 PM in Photography | Add a comment
The concept of "free" takes a whole new level on the Internet. While we don't expect handouts in real life, we all expect free handouts on the web.

We have to pay for e-mail? Rubbish!

We have to pay for access to our favorite sites? Rubbish! It should be free!

Why is this mindset so popular? I can safely say that demographically, most Internet users are middle-class and up. These are not the classes that are traditionally worried about money (or maybe my reasoning is backwards; because they ARE middle class, they are more conscientious of money).

Superficially, most of the problem lies in the age groups that dominate the Internet. As much as I'd like older people to be the dominant forces on the web, most users are somewhere between the ages of 14-21. For those under the age of 17, getting money online is a huge barrier. Kids between the ages of 17-21 are usually too broke to pay for their services.

The main problem with Tabulas, as I've discovered is not the level of support amongst its users, but the fact that most are found overseas OR they are under the age of 18. Both of these groups have legitimate claims to not purchasing paid accounts, and this hurts this site financially.

So what must be done? I truly believe in the free spirit of the web; I don't want to force younger kids to not use Tabulas because they can't afford it, but at the same time we must be logical and find a way to make money. However, the kids must realize that they are getting a free service because they are young - there must be an unspoken agreement to support the site once they can afford it.

I'm not really going anywhere with this. I'm constantly refining my thoughts regarding payments on websites. I've found that forcing people to pay is not a great method, but if you don't ask for money, no one will pay. There needs to be a balance.
Currently listening to: 2Pac Ft. Biggie's Runnin' (Produced By Eminem)
Posted by roy on November 8, 2003 at 02:55 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
How important are laughtracks to a sitcom? If "Friends" didn't utilize laughtracks as often, would it still be as funny?

I think an inherent part of our nature is to join the crowd; Despair.com gets it right with their Conformity poster, which says:

CONFORMITY: When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

So following this reasoning, does the laughtrack lower our humor standards by making our subconscious think, "Hey, everyone else thinks this is funny! You laugh too!"

I find myself laughing harder at funny parts with a laughtrack. So my next question is, who makes the laughtracks?

And how? You can't just force people to laugh. So do they watch something funny to laugh? And do they hear a laughtrack while they are laughing to amplify their laughs? Do the people who make these laughtracks ... are they professsionals? Do they have business cards that say, "Professional Laughtracker?"

Argh, so many questions!
Currently listening to: Yellowcard's Only One
Posted by roy on November 8, 2003 at 11:56 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Reasons why Andy Crank, my English TA, is super-cool:

1.) He actually gave a good talk on Flannory O' Connor and the "New South Renaissance;" for a Monday lecture, it was really good.

2.) He not only forgave me for missing my presentation last Thursday, but he said I didn't have to make it up (!!!!!!).

3.) He was a slack grader when it came to the midterms :D

Edit: Hey Crispdawg, now you can tell Stuart Scott to fix his f'ing face in England!
Currently listening to: Santana featuring Rob Thomas's smooth
Posted by roy on November 10, 2003 at 08:03 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Looks like I found my new jobs ...
(Read More)
Posted by roy on November 10, 2003 at 02:25 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I just realized how futile it is to try to create a "franchise" script. Originally I kept all the school data separate, but this is going to be pretty pointless; even if another school has an interest in using our script, there are enough differences in the way classes are assigned ... argh.

I just realized that I can completely redo the way title additions are done assuming we get a full book listing from Student Stores.

Basically when you input your class dept and class name, it will cross check against the book list (which will be in our database) to pull out the full listing of books that are being used.

On the second page you select the book, or you can input the title yourself. This removes my matching algorithm (which would scale HORRIBLY on 1000+ books) and would allow for more standardizations.

If we also get the book listing, we can also store the ISBN numbers, which we can then use Amazon's Web Services to offer links to students (both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com) for them to buy online. This might give us some referral money, which would be so very nice.

I need to start working on the professor search engine, as well as the general class search engine.

The new CampusExchange UI needs to reflect the three portions of the site distinctly:

1.) Textbook Exchange
2.) UNC Course Search Engine (with full class info, e.g. what is a requirement for what majors, what's a prereq for what, and what a class is a prereq for)
3.) Professor Search Engine (with commentability and grade distribution data)

I know almost no other schools, even if they launch the textbook exchange portion will get access to the latter two (maybe the last one, but not the third one), so this presents a problem: if I use static UI for all schools, a third of the UI will not be usable by other schools.

So what if I just use one static DB, but each webfront is a separate school? That is a likely use ... argh.

Not sure. So confused. Need guidance.
Posted by roy on November 10, 2003 at 11:17 PM in | Add a comment
I had a lovely experience today with Student Stores (no sarcasm here). I went in, asked for a copy of the book listing of Spring 2004 books (which I think is incomplete, those bastards!) ... they said it would cost $0.05 per printed page, and that they couldn't get it in a digital format.

No problem.

I got all of it printed, then I headed over to Undergrad Library to OCR the data at the Collaboratory (WHICH HAS FILM SCANNERS, WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS?!). I OCRed all 63 pages into Word, then converted the Word docs to HTML.

I then came back to the dorm and wrote a quick PHP script that was able to quickly parse all 8 megs of text data (MS Word generates a LOT of crap HTML) and extract all book data!!!!

So now I have all the textbooks that go with each class. W00t!
Currently listening to: Yellowcard's View from Heaven
Posted by roy on November 11, 2003 at 04:51 PM in | Add a comment
If my life is determined by a three-way switch (if such a thing exists), mine looks like this:

0: Working my ass off, trying to learn and earn money (this is when I'm anti-social)
1: Reaping the rewards of my hard work (this is when I'm social)
2: Idling (this doesn't happen too much anymore)

When I'm in zero-state, I'm boring. Nothing happens and I rarely see anybody. When I'm in the first-state ... that's when I start going out to events and start hanging out with people again.

So I've been very busy. But soon... I swear ... I'll be able to reap the rewards :)

P.S. Someone finally found a good use for Tokki ... if you like pictures of pretty half-Asian girls, go here
Currently listening to: 98 degrees's The Hardest Thing
Posted by roy on November 12, 2003 at 12:35 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
After converting all the textbooks to a digital format and getting it so I can easily throw around the data, I realized that I had completely screwed up with the course listings; I had imported Fall 2003 instead of Spring 2004 classes. Doh.

So I spent a lot of time fixing up my spidering script (that grabs all information). It works almost flawlessly now (still a few bugs that I'll work out later) ... so now I have the Spring 2004 classes sitting in a database.

I now have to resolve the differences between both sets of data and then integrate CE's functionality with it.

I'm almost done linking the data together in the DB (actually it's not as complex as I'm making it out to be; the class table just has an additional bookid column) ...

I'll soon start testing the site for bugs. Yay... bug testing ... always fun.
Currently listening to: 98 Degrees's The Hardest Thing
Posted by roy on November 12, 2003 at 12:38 AM in | Add a comment
Just got word that UNC is going to release the last four years worth (8 semesters) of professor grade distributions to us in Excel format.

... you put 2+2 together.
Currently listening to: Outlandish's Aicha
Posted by roy on November 12, 2003 at 01:19 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments
(a work in progress)
When the Internet first came of order, we had static webpages. The idea that anyone can post anything on the Internet was great!

The next big step was the development and proliferation of server-side scripting languages. This helped bring a level of automation and interactivity to the web. From these server-side languages, we see the advent of huge communities.

Of course, the next big step was the poliferation of a free, scaleable database system (mySQL). This helped organized data on these large sites ...

There was a small push a few years ago to start making the Internet more wireless friendly ... but I think the next big step will be the widespread adoption of standards that help share data. The development of open protocols and standards (like RSS 2.0 and XML-RPC [or XML over HTTP]) will help people develop sites that build upon other sites and are easily convertable between sites.

For example, the development of Atom, which is the idea of an open standard for storing data from journals, will allow people to switch between journaling services with ease and helps developers develop third-party applications to use this data (like a desktop application to access your journal).

Contrast this to a 2000-esque system where every site stores its data in its own proprietary format (or doesn't make it available). It makes the end-user's experience miserable, as they must remember all the sites they're registered to ... and what's worse, these sites don't share data between each other! Tabulas and Tokki are like this right now; they aren't linked up in any way!

Now, imagine a world where your Tabulas and Tokki interoperate with ease. And imagine a world where I have told people HOW to access data on these sites; then people can build their own third-party applications to access and output this data.

In essence, Tabulas and Tokki will only serve as massive data storage centers ... you will have the power to output the data as you wish, anywhere on the web.

So how does a site succeed in this upcoming era? If you can switch between LJ, Tabulas, Typepad, etc. with ease ... how do you choose?

Economics states that with no barriers, people will go the lowest cost. My first thought was that this would create a "price war" and would "cut" at the profits of all these wonderful sites. But not necessarily so. People don't like to switch URLs, and there is a certain brand loyalty.

So how do you succeed? You make sure you've been around for a while and that you remain loyal to YOUR customers. Of course, another huge thing will be the ability to "plug and play" sites into each other.

This is why I have both Tokki and Tabulas working together ... a huge undeveloped area is the media storage online. Imagine a day when you can store your favorite pictures on Tokki, but use a third-party application to "sync" your computer with your Tokki gallery; it would be an easy back-up solution!

I can't wait until I see more standards. Once we start taking advantage of all these standards ... we'll really see the true power of the web. The organization of all the data ... so lovely.

Our children are gonna have it good.
Currently listening to: Britney Spears's Baby One More Time
Posted by roy on November 12, 2003 at 04:34 PM in Web Development | 3 Comments
True story: I pulled my right hamstring today.

While programming.

Yes, I'm serious. It still hurts.
Currently listening to: Eminem's Lose Yourself
Posted by roy on November 13, 2003 at 12:45 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
I haven't been to the movies in a long time ... so I'm thinking of heading over to the wonderful Southpoint Cinemas tonight to catch a flick. But which one?

All my dastardly friends saw Matrix (which is one of those movies that I guess I have to see) as well as Scary Movie 3 (which appeals to my crude sense of humor). The one movie that none of us have seen is Elf, which I expect to be a above-mediocre film.

Of course, deep inside I want to watch "Love Actually," which clearly demonstrates that Hugh Grant is not a one-dimensional actor (LOL I MADE A FUNNIE).

No, really ... deep down inside I like chick flicks. I'm not as hard-core as Tony Lee, who likes to lock himself up on Valentine's Day and watch back-to-back-to-back Meg Ryan chick flicks, but I do enjoy my fair share of chick flicks.

Of course, it does help that Keira Knightly is in "Love Actually" ...
Currently listening to: The Ataris's Your Boyfriend Sucks
Posted by roy on November 14, 2003 at 12:28 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Just showing support for my boy Kasparov as he battles X3d Fritz. I watched a bit of match one against Fritz ... when I left for class, Kasparov had a slight positional advantage, but he ended up drawing.

In any case, he lost the second match. Let's hope he recovers ... and wins!

(I was the biggest chess dork in middle school).

Random thought: Late-night Waffle House runs are the best :)

Another random thought: Tabulas is not going to scale to large groups *at all.* Better start planning for the inevitable day when I have to deal with too much data...
Currently listening to: Bethany Christian Freestyle's World Wide
Posted by roy on November 15, 2003 at 12:12 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Whoaaaaa. Try to beat this game. It took me about a half-hour ... it's tricky stuff.
Currently listening to: Chicago's Died in Your Arms Tonight
Posted by roy on November 15, 2003 at 02:23 PM in Foolishness | 3 Comments
a green plastic watering can
for a fake chinese rubber plant
in the fake plastic earth

that she bought from a rubber man
in a town full of rubber plans
to get rid of itself

it wears her out, it wears her out
it wears her out, it wears her out

she lives with a broken man
a cracked polystyrene man
who just crumbles and burns

he used to do surgery
on girls in the eighties
but gravity always wins

and it wears him out, it wears him out
it wears him out, it wears him out

she looks like the real thing
she tastes like the real thing
my fake plastic love

but i can't help the feeling
i could blow through the ceiling
if I just turn and run

and it wears me out, it wears me out
it wears me out, it wears me out

and if i could be who you wanted
if i could be who you wanted
all the time, all the time

This song resembles so many of the problems I face in life. The song, to me, talks about the molds that we are expected to fill from our parents and from society.

I know that on a real level, I've failed my parents. The plan and path they set out for me was not the one I chose. All their perseverence for what they believed I should be and do ... I simply chose to ignore it and go my own path.

Of course, I have no regrets. I love my life. I love the skills I've acquired ... and I'm excited about the future. There's still a very real threat of "failing," but I'm sure that I'll be ok.

So many people have walked down a path chosen for them without really thinking about what they are doing. They've gone through the motions and find out, in the end, they're empty and unsure about what they want.

Finding the passion that drives your life is the *most important* aspect of your life when you are younger. Whatever you choose to do, you will be doing it for the latter half of your life.

Not finding that which fulfills you will most definitely lead you to become the "cracked polysterene man" with a "fake plastic love."


I used to be described as being a very cynical person ... but I think I've changed quite a bit over the past few years. I'm sure only those who saw me in my utter shititude during my freshman year would know how much I've changed, but I have.

I'm now more aware of life in general. I don't purport to know the secrets to life, but I know that being happy and doing the things you want are _so_very_important_.

Chasing money for so many years ... it's seriously neverending. I was never happy with what I made, when in retrospect now, it was so much. The lesson I took out of that? Don't work towards the next paycheck. You just lose time and you're never happy with what you made.

Enjoy your life.
Currently listening to: Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees
Posted by roy on November 16, 2003 at 01:11 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
So I'm starting to hear Christmas music everywhere.


Thanksgiving: such an underappreciated holiday :'(
Currently listening to: Mariah Carey's Hark! The Herald Angles Sing/G
Posted by roy on November 17, 2003 at 03:14 PM in Foolishness | 3 Comments
With Lillia and Alice gone ... and me no longer in a relationship, there really isn't a girl I can talk with. There have been moments when I just need to talk to someone, but I can never find anyone ... just gotta keep it in.

Currently listening to: Eric Clapton's Layla (unplugged)
Posted by roy on November 17, 2003 at 08:26 PM in Personal | 8 Comments
Sometimes in life you do the right things in the right way, but luck slaps you upside the head.

Not everything is in your control. Learn to let go and accept your circumstances.
Currently listening to: Third Eye Blind's How's It Going To Be
Posted by roy on November 19, 2003 at 11:23 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I love Sarah McLachlan.

Sarah McLachlan - Angel
Spend all your time waiting for that second chance,
For the break that will make it okay.
There’s always some reason to feel not good enough,
And it’s hard at the end of the day.
I need some distraction or a beautiful release,
Memories seep from my veins.
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe,
I’ll find some peace tonight.
In the arms of the angel far away from here,
From this dark, cold hotel room and the endlessness that you feel.
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie,
You’re in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here.
So tired of the straight line and everywhere you turn,
There’s vultures and thieves at your back.
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies,
That make up for all that you lack.
It don’t make no difference, escape one last time,
It’s easier to believe.
In this sweet madness, oh, this glorious sadness,
That brings me to my knees.
In the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here ...
Currently listening to: sarah mclachlan's angel
Posted by roy on November 20, 2003 at 04:04 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Those of you who think that having the willpower to study for school and caring about grades is something to take for granted ... don't think that.

None of you have any idea how much awe and respect I have for people who go to classes and study hard for examinations. The willpower in my life for school is nonexistent.

My lack of caring for school is a point of great stress for me ... and I really suffer a lot for it. Most of my personal problems are tied in with this stress; you'll notice that every December I go to the doctor's to pick up some sleeping pills because I have trouble sleeping.

I have a lot on my mind lately ... I'll spare you for tonight because I haven't slept really well over the past few nights.

I had an exam tomorrow but I'm going to skip it ... dont' worry, I don't get a zero for the midterm; the final just counts more now.

yeah ...
Currently listening to: The AAR's My Paper Heart
Posted by roy on November 21, 2003 at 01:32 AM in Personal | 8 Comments
For some reason, I woke up craving Sbarros. Not really sure why. But I craved it.

So for lunch, me and my roommates drove to Northgate mall (~30 minutes) so we could eat some Sbarros.

For dinner, I was craving Taco Bell ... so we drove to Taco Bell (~15 minutes) so we could have some tacos. I had 4 crunchy shells and 2 soft shells.

If you go to Taco Bell, you'll notice that they always have that "drop a coin" game; I played twice and won both times (caught dimes both times, which won me a cruncy taco each time). I mean, what would I do with 6 crunchy tacos and 1 soft shell taco?! That's too much taco bell for me.

. . .

When I went to Harris Teeeter, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lucky Charms cereal was on sale; it was buy one, get one free. The last time something was buy one, get one free, I bought 4 cases of Hawaiin Punch (which we still haven't finished; my roommates bought a whole bunch of iced tea and Fresca ... I think they're trying to tell me something).

. . .

Food thing this weekend was a success. Thanks to all for coming out; special thanks to Tony Lee and Daniel Li for helping buying the food/cooking food.
Currently listening to: Daft Punk's Harder Better Faster Stronger
Posted by roy on November 23, 2003 at 11:31 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Great song by Kenny Rogers ... called "The Gambler." Thanks to Kao for sending it on over my way.
On a warm summer's evenin' on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, "Son, I've made a life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice."

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

Now Ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep."

So when he'd finished speakin', he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count you r money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
Currently listening to: Kenny Rogers's The Gambler
Posted by roy on November 25, 2003 at 02:04 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Nobody knows it
but you've got a secret smile
and you use it
only for me

Gosh, I love Semisonic.

I wanted to thank all my friends for coming out yesterday to my bday party.... you guys rock.

I wanted to throw out a special thanks to the 305 Lewis boys for the gift (Crisp, Sung, Yush) as well as the honorary 305 Lewis boys (nasty nate and soober) for organizing the event.

I was driving back from the airport at 5 this morning and I was just counting my blessings ... I have so many.

Sorry to all for being 'out.' I've been pretty down and out lately. But I'm sure I'll be back soon =)
Posted by roy on November 26, 2003 at 05:33 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments
I've been catching up on my Dave Barry over Thanksgiving Break ... and boy, are there a ton of great moments. Check this little snippet out from his latest:

In any event, it turns out that women's brains secrete more of the chemicals ''oxytocin'' and ''serotonin,'' which, according to biologists, cause humans to feel they have an inadequate supply of shoes. No, seriously, these chemicals cause humans to want to bond with other humans, which is why women like to share their feelings. Some women (and here I am referring to my wife) can share as many as three days' worth of feelings about an event that took eight seconds to actually happen. We men, on the other hand, are reluctant to share our feelings, in large part because we often don't have any. Really. Ask any guy: A lot of the time, when we look like we're thinking, we just have this low-level humming sound in our brains. That's why, in male-female conversations, the male part often consists entirely of him going ''hmmmm.'' This frustrates the woman, who wants to know what he's really thinking. In fact, what he's thinking is, literally, ``hmmmm.''

So true!
Currently listening to: 2Pac Ft. Biggie's Runnin'
Posted by roy on November 28, 2003 at 12:40 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Homesick while being at home. Is that possible?

I guess I'm just feeling like being at "home" isn't the same it used to be when I was younger. I feel more like a guest at my parents' house now. Maybe it's a part of "growing up" and moving on to your own thing.

In any case, as I was driving around UNC campus after hanging out with Hao last night, I realized how much I loved campus life. How much I love hanging out with my roommates; just chilling .. the whole social fabric of the campus. Ordering late night food. Being within 10 minutes walking distance of tens of good friends. It's stuff I'll never get to relive once I leave school.

Now that I'm officially no longer a 'teenager,' I gotta start being more responsible. Thinking of things I want to do with my life, etc.

Ok enough of this rambling. I gotta go sleep and wake up early so I can have my bday lunch with my family ... hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Posted by roy on November 28, 2003 at 03:30 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
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