Entries for May, 2009

PM5K left this interesting comment:

I had this strange thought the other day... I don't know exactly how long I've "known" Roy but it's been a few years and for whatever reason I still come and read this Tabulas page once every few days or so. So the thought was: Wouldn't it be weird if I was still reading your blog twenty years from now? I mean will I always read it? Of course twenty years from now we might not have blogs, if I had told you twenty years ago that newspapers would be going out of business you might not believe that..... Just some random thoughts...

I've been writing on this site for five years. I have entries that go back to 2002 (imported from LiveJournal).

This site is such an integral part of who I am, I would be surprised if I wasn't writing 20 years from now.

Update: Check out PM5K's response to this post:

It's just strange because I don't even know you in real life but for some reason I keep reading your blog, and it's not even that interesting, I guess I'm waiting to see if it ever does get interesting.

Will there ever be a baby Roy Kim Jr, will you ever get laid, it's like a really boring soap opera and I'm waiting to see if it ever gets good, so far five years and not really...

And thus, a stranger has managed to capture the essence that is my life.

. . .

I'm starting to get quite pumped about this trip - a visit to a culture which is (almost) the polar opposite of the life I'm leading now - it'll be great.

As I promise every time I travel, things may be quiet here. But more likely than not, I'll probably find my way to a computer and post a couple pictures.

Have a great drinko-de-Mayo!

. . .

Edit: Hate to leave this entry on a negative note, but it looks like Facebook replaced their "friends" page, which now removes the ability for you to ... oh well... know when your friends have updated. Sort of defeats the purpose of a social networking - who is doing the product management at Facebook?

Their recent rollout (which was already an absolute turd) already diminished my usage of Facebook, but that "friends" link was the only thing keeping me there. Now I can't even tell when my friends are updating - the status feeds are so unreliable (at least in the early days, it dropped TONS of messages from my friends - don't know now).

I mean, change always causes some kickback, but obviously somebody at Facebook is high on power, thinking they know better than the whole web.

Now's the ripe time for some new site to completely kick their ass. (obligatory Ree link!) Maybe I'll take this trip to also give some attention to the future of Tabulas.

Posted by roy on April 30, 2009 at 09:57 PM in Personal, Travel | 6 Comments

One of my weaknesses is packing. I cannot, for the life of me, pack things efficiently. My mom, when she used to pack my bags, was somehow able to take half the space that I did.

So my packing for my two week trip is a pretty noteworty achievement:

I will be taking my Canon digital SLR and two lens (fish-eye and my general 24-85mm), my Polaroid with 5 packs of film, my personal HD pocket video camera, two tripods (a miniature one that's in the camera bag, and my full-sized tripod in my backpack), a first-aid kid, a bunch of medicine, and clothes for the trip. All in those two bags. Isn't miniaturization grand?

Posted by roy on May 1, 2009 at 10:22 PM in Travel | 5 Comments

Howdy, all! I'm alive and well in Kunming, China.

The trip, so far, has been a blast. I adjusted pretty well to the jet lag (partially because I couldn't sleep at all on the 23 hour flight over here), and the altitude issue hasn't really been a problem so far (albeit I'm only at around 2200m, and not the 4000m I'll eventually hit in parts of Tibet).

One problem I hadn't anticipated while visiting China is the fact that every Chinese person approaches me in Mandarin, and I have this look of shock and confusion as I can only muster back an "Engrish?" Fortunately, the one line I can say in Mandarin ("You have beautiful eyes") has yielded a few chuckles and has been quite usful (just kidding).

Kunming is an old backwater city that's being modernized as a part of China's new "Go West" initiative. Strategically, it's a pretty important city (it's in the south-west, which controls the trade with China's south-western partners. The climate here, much like San Diego, is almost the same, year round. Parts of the city are being modernized, but there are still huge chunks, which to me, scream "Communist architecture!" For example:

The water is filthy (both in smell - what you see in the water is actually crap that's growing in there). I'm sure in the next five years they'll clean this up, but for now, Kunming seems to be a transition state between its past and its future. That seems to be the recurring theme of this trip: some places are REALLY brand new and look fantastic - Beijing Capital International Airport, being one example:

I'm currently staying at Hao's friends place in Kunming, and it feels like staying at an awesome hostel. It's a three bedroom place, but it seems that everybody is traveling through here this week - Hao's friend also had a friend from Beijing staying, and her other roommate (Israeli) has two friends staying over, too. Languages keep switching between English, Mandarin, and Hebrew. Very cool. The food here has been great - here we are enjoying a meal for four that cost less than $4:

Does that beer stand out to you? Well, it SHOULD. It's ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY BEER:

Game over for the Americans, man.

I thought taking two weeks off was a lot, but the Israelis (both who just got out of military service) are in the midst of a six and nine months traveling pants trip. Holy smokes! Jealousy abounds. I also learned a bit about their Birthright program, which apparently sponsors American Jews to go on a trip to Jerusalem to meet up with other Jews with the intent of marrying one of them - they give you free booze, and basically want you to hook up. If you end up marrying somebody through the program, you get a free wedding. That is pretty awesome (although I hear their success rate is pretty low).  

Last week, a coworker (Mike) took pictures of himself on the Great Wall of China in a MindTouch t-shirt. Aaron persuaded me that I should do the same, cause that'd be cool for MindTouch. I begrudingly accepted. So here are my pictures, just for you, Aaron:

This is me, in a MindTouch shirt, by a Chinese dumpster

This is me, in a MindTouch shirt, by a famous Chinese restaurant called "McDonalds." Every day, it feeds the labor engine of China for its peaceful rise to power.

This is me, in a MindTouch shirt, in front of a KFC.

I hope to bring you many more exciting pictures of me in a MindTouch shirt in front of important Chinese landmarks!

Posted by roy on May 4, 2009 at 04:47 PM in Travel | 8 Comments

Posted by roy on May 5, 2009 at 12:23 AM in Travel | 3 Comments

Hello, all. We flew into Lhasa yesterday, and this was the first thing I saw as we drove from the airport to Lhasa:

The altitude adjustment yesterday was quite difficult - we would walk around for ten minutes and need to stop and rest. You can just feel the lack of oxygen - I was taking some pretty labored breaths yesterday.

Today is much better, though - I woke up at 7am and was able to walk the Barkhour Circuit for nearly two hours. Wow, what an experience. I still feel out of breath, but it's not as debilitating as yesterday.

Our guide will be here in ten minutes, so I'll save some more stories for later tonight, once we're done exploring Lhasa today.

Posted by roy on May 6, 2009 at 06:52 PM in Travel | Add a comment

We're being driven around in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Suspensions are necessary for the roads from Lhasa Airport to Lhasa proper. The car horn is more heavily used than directionals - the cacophony of beeps shriek over the gentle rumbling of the tractors. The highway - a term I loosely use, as the top speed is 40km/hour is shared by all manners of wheeled vehicles - bicycles, tractors, tourist buses, SUVs, and even the occasional military truck.

Our driver is paranoid of drawing attention from the police or the military - he creeps along the highway at the speed limit and is constantly communicating with oncoming cars. A moment of triumph as we pass a speed trap. After we pass the trap, our driver seems to be on a singular mission to inform every informing car, more than a km away from the trap, about the trap. His high beams are met with honks of approval.

Every couple of kilometers, we see a Chinese army guard standing on a pedestal, protected from the harsh suns by a parasol. It's a gentle reminder of who's really in charge. We note a rather impressive building on our drive over, and we ask our guide what it is. He replies, "Military complex."

As we get into Lhasa proper, the roads become marked, traffic is far more orderly, and we see more traffic signals. I wonder if I've arrived at Lhasa a few years too late - the main road doesn't seem much different from visuals I saw in Kungming, and even reminds me of parts of Korea.

More of my fears are confirmed as we wander Lhasa (the best we can - altitude acclimization is beating the crap out of me). We walk past the Barkhour circuit, and I notice more tourists than pilgrims. I go to bed somewhat disappointed, but I'm determined to wake up early and walk the circuit again.

. . .

I ask for a wake-up call at 7am, as the front desk tells me that sun rise is roughly 730am. The light in Lhasa is harsh, which makes photography between the hours of 11am - 4pm pretty much useless.

The early morning is much kinder to me - there aren't many vendors hocking their wares, and you can actually hear the murmurs of the pilgrims as they circumnavigate Jokang temple in a clockwise fashion. (I know it's hypocritical to blame tourists, as I am the ultimtae example of one, but whatever - them not being around is still great)

I wander around Barkhour circuit with the pilgrims and monks twice. I notice a particular monk, who goes through a ritual of lying prostrate on the ground, getting up, taking a step, and doing it again. What devotion to a faith!

In front of the temple, there are more pilgrims. Standing there, all you can hear are their murmurs, with the whoosing sound as they sand down the rocks in front of the temple.

I have another 4 or so days in Tibet, and I already am beginning to regret that I can't stay here and learn more about Tibet. Being here for such a short time, I can barely begin to appreciate the sights and the people around me. I wish I had a month to stay here! (I will also have to learn some Tibetan)

Posted by roy on May 6, 2009 at 10:51 PM in Travel | 9 Comments

Have to run, so this'll be quick. I got rather ill at Namtso Lake, the elevation was brutal. Wil write more on that later, but all that matters is that I am A-OK today.

Here are some shots I pulled off my card this morning:

Hao and I at Namtso Lake. Elevation: 5,190 meters. Roy's ability to cope with elevation: fail. For reference (since almost all of my readers will understand at least one of two of these stories: I was worse off than the Jungle Juice incident, as well as the deep sea fishing incident. Lawls.

Pilgims at Johkang Temple at night

Johkang Temple at night

Posted by roy on May 8, 2009 at 06:37 PM in Travel | 5 Comments

I really enjoyed Namtso Lake because of it's scale. It's located 5,000 meters above sea level (which means that there's only about 50% oxygen). The scale of the view impresses the smallness of me. The lake has this beautiful turquoise color that contrasts against the looming mountain range.

Namtso Lake is a four hour drive from Lhasa on a road with a 40km/hour speed limit (I kid you not). And you can't even cheat the system - there are checkpoints along the way which ensure that nobody speeds. Apparently in the past, there were hundreds of people who would die along this road, but ever since the limits have been enforced, it's much safer. (Although we were warned on our way up there that two tourists had died that very day on that road).

Here are some pictures:

While I was chilling, this little adorable boy ran up to me. He seemed to show a keen interest in my equipment, so I let him take a bunch of pictures – he seemed to enjoy himself immensely. Here he is, saluting:

And here is his most interesting picture:

And a picture of him taking a picture of me:


Posted by roy on May 9, 2009 at 02:55 AM in Travel | 7 Comments

Hello, all! Hao and I found a internet cafe here in Shigatse, so we're catching up on emails. Unfortunately, I have less friends (emails) than him, so now I'm killing time by writing this post.

Two days ago, we visited Potala Palace in Lhasa - it is a beautiful and imposing structure. Right across from the palace, there's a huge square (in the stylistic spirit of Tianamen, according to Hao).

Hao and I were walking around this square when I noticed that there were large grates on the ground, with huge hoses snaking around the grating. 

"Hey Hao, looks like they have water fountain shows here."

Not more than 30 seconds after I say that, this music starts blaring over the loudspeakers. The guy in front of me runs away from me, but I just remain frozen. Wondering why the music was playing.

Low and behold, Hao and I become unwitting members of the 8pm water fountain show. I got drenched.

American tourism: FAIL

Posted by roy on May 10, 2009 at 06:41 AM in Travel | 6 Comments

Made it to Beijing in one piece this morning - we left Lhasa by train two days ago (it's a 48 hour ride). Our bunk compartments were two middle-aged ladies and one migrant worker. The two ladies took great pleasure in making fun of my broken Chinese (Hao taught me a few basic phrases, except they are the informal versions, which make them very funny). They were also trying to negotiate with Hao on a selling price so they could sell me as a husband for $50,000 USD (there are apparently "nice Korean girls" in their village north of the North Korean border) - they even brought over this old lady, who I believe was of NK descent - she barely knew Korean, and what little I could understand was a very different dialect. How popular I was - it'll be nice to know that if I continue to fail at relationships in the States, I can always just fly to northern China and marry a Korean girl - woot!

The Beijing part of the trip contrasts that of the Lhasa - I am fully embracing the comforts of modern life. Although Beijing is hot and humid right now, I am sitting in my air conditioned room, watching movies ("Pirates of the Carribean") on my 42" TV. The hotel I'm staying at is incredibly posh, which is a nice change of scenery after the last 10 days of constant travel - *this* feels like a relaxing vacation. I'll have to try to take pictures of the decor - it's a bit gaudy in places, but the overall experience here is fantastic (so far).

I never thought I'd be so joyful to see a sitting toilet (I've seen too many squatters lately) and a shower. The first thing I did when I checked in was to take a shower to get that film of travel off of me (no showers in the train, and the air didn't circulate well - gross!). I also managed to shed the lingering headache that's been with me for the trip - I don't think I ever fully adjusted to the altitude in Lhasa.

I'm tempted to find a McDonald's tomorrow after Hao leaves (he's flying north to Harbin to visit his extended family) - I'm really curious how they do Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets...

. . .

I lost my iPod on this trip :( I didn't realize how much music is a part of my life until I lost the durned thing. On the upside, I thought I had lost my jeans on the trip ... but I found then stowed at the bottom of my pack when I arrived in Beijing.

. . .

I went gift hunting in Lhasa for some of my coworkers - MAN, is bargaining FUN! I wish I had stayed another day in Lhasa just so I could spend it haggling with the vendors. The Tibetan ladies are the worst, they'll grab your arm and won't let you go - I somehow got convinced to spend 40 yuan (~$6) on this useless little jewelry box I didn't even WANT! How did that HAPPEN?!

I never got as good as Hao as negotiating, but I did alright - got all my gift shopping done for ~$80. I also found a gift for myself (a very rare occassion - I'm impossible to shop for) of this Chinese compass. The guy originally wanted 750 yuan, but I got it for 200 yuan (~$30) ... but that's till probably WAY overpriced, because he let it go too easily.

I expect most of my coworkers to throw out the gifts, but HEY, it's the thought that counts, right? (And as a cruel, narcisstic test to see which of my coworkers are reading my Tabulas, only those who mention the gifts will receive. That's right, if you want my cheap, crappy gifts I humped all the way from Lhasa, you will have to ADMIT you read my cheap, crappy Tabulas. Bwahahahaha.)

. . .

Some jerk realized I was on vacation and decided to post 22,000 spam comments on Tabulas. I've now cleaned this up and blocked his/her IP from posting comments again. Sorry for the inconvenience, all - you can turn on guest commenting again (although I would suggest you turn on comment autolocking after 7 days or so).

Posted by roy on May 14, 2009 at 12:48 AM in Travel, Tabulas | 8 Comments

There's always a market demand for something. In our case, yesterday morning, it was to get a taxi.

We arrived at Beijing West Railroad station, and when we followed the signs to the taxis, the line was at least 70 deep. 70! For taxis! Instead of waiting, we decided to try the upstairs taxi station. Another 70 deep!!!!

And when we walked around outside to try to find a taxi on the street, most of them waved us off - I'm assuming they'd get hit by a fine (traffic flow is paramount in a congested city like Beijing).

But of course, Hao managed to find this taxi driver who had illegally parked on the curb (and was illegally picking up customers). He tripled booked us and negotiated a flat rate with each of the three destinations, and off we went. The meter hummed a happy 0.00 fare the whole ride.

The driver resembled a young, skinny Yao Ming. He seemed like a pretty ambitious guy - he was barking orders through his walkie talkie as well as answering cell phone calls... all while driving. Talk about a consummate multi-tasker! But of course, I could only know him through his mannerisms - he had hidden his driver identification card.

The driver had no respect for the road. He ignored all markers on the highway - any piece of concrete was good enough for him. The shoulder? Good enough to drive. The bus lane? It's his lane now! While other drivers seemed to respect all the rules of the road (given it was rush hour - 8am), this guy seemed intent to drop off his illegal fare with as much haste.

He at least respected red lights ... sort of. After we dropped off the first guy, the cabbie decided to pull an illegal U-turn across 3 lanes of traffic. On the same side. We went from being in the far right lane to going in the opposite direction. 

I couldn't help but laugh at the whole thing - to me, he seemed to represent the ultimate opportunist capitalist. Although he had negotiated a fare for both Hao and I (60 yuan), I tipped the guy 50 more yuan in support of his highly illegal endeavors.

Posted by roy on May 14, 2009 at 10:09 PM in Travel | Add a comment

This trip has been fantastic, but I am really looking forward to getting back to work. I'm so lame, I know. The best decision I made on this trip was to have the Juice check my work e-mail (I don't like autoresponders, cause they don't really solve the problem - somebody is emailing me looking for an answer!); since my mail client is POP3 (I'm one of those lame-os that never got sold on IMAP), I can't even check it through the webmail client ;)

Tonight is my last night here in Beijing - tomorrow night, I fly back home. Today was my first full day without Hao - he flew up to Harbin early this morning to meet up with his family. I got to do the normal Beijing tourist-y things. Being rather camera-weary, I left it at home today and just checked out the sights (the weather was overcast, which was horrible anyways).

I did the two things I do whenever I visit any foreign country: ate at a McDonald's and took the subway. I am happy to report that the McDonald's here has a #1 Big Mac meal, which costs $3 USD tastes exactly the same as the American version.

The subway in Beijing is very nice - it's on par with the Seoul subway system. Subways, to me, separate the first-tier cities from the second ones - they are the perfect way to see a city. They are relatively cheap, have great coverage, and are designed to be navigatable with only visual symbols (awesome real-life UI!) ... can you ask for anything more when you're visiting a foreign city and can't speak the language?

Posted by roy on May 15, 2009 at 05:07 AM in Travel, MindTouch | 6 Comments

"Welcome home."

I don't remember hearing that from the US customs people the last two times I traveled internationally (2002 and 2004). How powerful those two words are - I felt this joy well up in me - I was finally home! I realize that a two week trip is incredibly short, but it was long enough for me to appreciate everything I have at home.

Things got even better at LAX I managed to get to the gate for the 730PM flight back to SAN right as they announced the gate closure (my original flight was 1030PM) and they hustled me aboard that flight so I wouldn't have to wait for three hours.

Home, sweet, home!

I want to travel back to China next year - I think I'll try to take some Mandarin lessons so I can get around more ably next time. English is pretty prevalant amongst the younger generation, but it's still a noticeable hassle - I felt hugely relieved when I could converse with a guard at LAX in normal English - I was trying to find the United ticketing area.

. . .

Started the task of sorting through all the pictures and videos from this trip. Here is an updated photo of the taking-picture-of-taking-picture:


Currently listening to: David Cook - Light On
Posted by roy on May 17, 2009 at 02:10 AM in Travel | 4 Comments

Silversun Pickups - Catch & Release

Pardon me ...
Want to live in a fantasy... quietly?
Show you everything you'll ever need
I hope you'll take it
I know you're faking just a little bit
Come on and taste it
Just get excited 'cause you're giving it

Come and see
How the wind in your hair will feel differently
Catch and release the lure above

Here we are in a backwater overflow
Later on
Don't say I didn't tell you so
Maybe I didn't but you're taking it
Knew you were faking just a little bit
Now that you taste it
No need to fight it 'cause you're giving it

Follow me down the streams of sweat on your body
Can't believe the lure was enough
Do you see how the wind in your hair now feels differently
Catch and release the lure above

And who knows
And how this feeling grows
Was it truly worth, truly worth the starting
And who knows
Why the engine's blown
Hope it's truly worth, truly worth the parting

Follow me down the streams of sweat on your body
Can't believe the lure was enough
Do you see how the wind in your hair now feels differently, oh
Catch and release the lure above

Guess the lure was enough
Yes the lure was enough

Download or preview:

Posted by roy on May 17, 2009 at 09:08 PM in Music | Add a comment

I woke up at 7pm today. Ouch. Jet-lag: gonna lead to the ultimate fail.

I've narrowed down my Tibet pictures down to 60 and posted them into a set on Flickr first. I'll be uploading them to FB and Tabulas soon enough (I don't trust any of those sites individually)...

I also have about 20 videos to sort through - I'm going to soon take all the photos/videos and post them all on a single page, with some more extensive commentary. That'll probably be a "next weekend" type of task - for the time being, the Flickr Tibet photoset should suffice in sharing my trip.

On collage that I particular like is this selection of four pilgrims outside of Jokhang Temple:


Currently listening to: Silversun Pickups - Sort Of
Posted by roy on May 18, 2009 at 01:01 AM in Travel, Photography | Add a comment

I am definitely back in America... as I will now post, quite possibly, the stupidest internet meme ever. Unfortunately, I find these hilarious.

"Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat:"


Posted by roy on May 18, 2009 at 08:14 PM in Ramblings, Foolishness | 1 Comments

Here's a video of pilgrims laying prostrate in front of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet:

I did shoot a bunch of video during this trip, to try to force myself out of the comforts of film (and maybe learn something), but I ended up taking the same approach when shooting video as I do photos... frame, then shoot. None of my videos have anything exciting happening in them - they're just capturing a long snippet of time than my photos (with the added benefit of sound, which was important in Tibet).

I can either blame age or stupidity for my inability to learn iMovie (even worse, since it's Apple, and I'm *supposed* to know how it works) ... but one of these days, I'll figure it out! But for now, unedited clips in their entirety will be the norm.

Posted by roy on May 18, 2009 at 09:56 PM in Travel, Photography | Add a comment

A behavior artifact from my China trip: I was walking past the massage shop in Horton Plaza after work, and this Chinese lady comes out and goes, "Do you want a masssage?" I immediately respond: "búyào" and kept walking. A couple of seconds my mind caught up and realized what had happened.

(In China, people are always offering you crap on the street - saying búyào - "Don't want" becomes an instinct)

Posted by roy on May 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM in Travel, Ramblings, San Diego | 7 Comments

A strange name friended me on Facebook, which was odd, because we shared a whole bunch of mutual friends, yet I couldn't remember the name.

A few messages later, I figured out who it was (it was an alias). But most amusingly, he noted: "hahaha i like how you capitalized your first message and then totally threw it out the window in the second. my man."

It wasn't even intentional, but I think it's pretty funny I did that. Guess my work life is creeping more into my personal life than I feared... ;)

. . .

Guinness in a bottle SUCKS. I'm told the can is better. We'll find out soon.

. . .

I have a misplaced sense of pride in my refrigerator - due to random parties and poker nights, my refrigerator is mostly filled with beer ... but unlike other people, I have the most random eclectic mix of beer. It's almost like a bar.

Currently, you can choose from:

  • Corona
  • Newcastle
  • Red Stripe
  • Guinness
  • Blue Moon
  • Heineken

A little something for everybody, I guess.

. . .

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping this week - I chalked this up to jet lag earlier this week, but I think it's something more now. My mind's been racing a lot more at night lately with random thoughts. I don't like the return of Mr. Insomnia - go away! 

6am at Kunming airport

Posted by roy on May 22, 2009 at 03:58 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

I was really surprised I had totally missed hearing about Seven Pounds, a movie starring Will Smith that came out last Christmas. It was an incredibly touching movie ... definitely recommend giving it a watch. (For SDers, now available on Royflix!)

The trailer, although it doesn't reveal much about the movie, for the curious:

Posted by roy on May 23, 2009 at 01:29 AM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

Some mentally stimulating posts I've read this weekend:

"A Tale of Two Crisis - Japan vs. Korea" - As this post mentions (and I've mentioned before), economics is almost a psuedo-science because of the unreliability of models at a macro level ... but this an interesting read comparing the Japanese and Korean financial crisis, and the implications of both approaches.

. . .

"Argentina: The superpower that never was" - "A short century ago the US and Argentina were rivals. Both were riding the first wave of globalisation at the turn of the 20th century. Both were young, dynamic nations with fertile farmlands and confident exporters. Both brought the beef of the New World to the tables of their European colonial forebears. Before the Great Depression of the 1930s, Argentina was among the 10 richest economies in the world. The millions of emigrant ­Italians and Irish fleeing poverty at the end of the 19th century were torn between the two: Buenos Aires or New York? The pampas or the prairie?"

An interesting look at what could have been - take a peek at how two young republics evolved to two completely divergent nations.

. . .

Curious at the story behind payday loan companies?

Once caught in the cycle, the borrower faces a choice each payday—pay Check Into Cash $30 or pay Check Into Cash $230. Unlike conventional loans, in which the creditor issues the debtor a lump sum to be repaid with interest in installments over time, the largest single transfer in a payday loan goes from debtor to creditor. With payday lending, the “debt trap” is not a figure of speech: the loan is actually structured as a trap.


Currently listening to: Taylor Swift - Love Story
Posted by roy on May 25, 2009 at 04:11 AM in Ramblings, Finances | Add a comment

I never thought I'd end up listening to country music from iPartyRadio.

For those of you who are unaware, iPartyRadio plays AWESOME party dance music. Being dance music, high-browed people tend to diss the quality ... but hey, not everybody can be Bob Dylan! I love the superficiality, yet catchy songs which compose iParty's playlist. For example, a sample lyric: "I know that you be calling my guy / are you crazy? / now I'm gonna take you outside / and show you crazy / ooh I got your crazy / Call my man again, and I'm a gonna --- you up / and I'm a --- you up / and i'm a --- you up / touch my man again, and I'm gonna --- you up, and i'm a ---- you up / and then you call my your best friend." OOOH BABY MOMMA DRAMA!

This past weekend, a particular song caught my ear, and much to my chagrin, I discovered the song was a remix of the country song "Love Song" by Taylor Swift. Country music, ARGH! I felt rather foolish after reading Taylor Swift's wikipedia article, as she is apparently a Big Deal in country music, and I had somehow missed hearing about her.

Better late than never! So thanks to iPartyRadio, I've been listening to Taylor Swift songs tonight. Nice.

And now, it's time to share with YOU!

Edit: LAME. Why does Universal Music insist on blocking embeds? Blah.

Here's a link to the video.

Last time I was back in NC, Alex and I were discussing common themes for AWESOME songs. One thing that all AWESOME songs must have are key changes - preferably close to the end of the song. All the great songs do this, and "Love Song" is no exception! Wooo key changes!

Currently listening to: Taylor Swift - Love Story
Posted by roy on May 25, 2009 at 04:43 AM in Ramblings, Music | 5 Comments

Thought this was a neat: such continuinty in both cities!

(I do miss summertime thunderstorms ... there's something very relaxing about them)

Posted by roy on May 26, 2009 at 01:52 AM in San Diego | 2 Comments

Aaron shared with me a link about thirteen key characteristics of a great start-up. In the article, there's a wonderful quote about leadership and morale from George Marshall (the Marshall Plan after World War II was named after him): "Gentleman, enlisted men may be entitled to morale problems, but officers are not.  I expect all officers in this department to take care of their own morale.  No one is taking care of my morale."

This a sentiment that I felt (but hadn't materialized into a formative thought) the weeks before I left for my trip. In the position I am at work, I cannot expect anybody to take care of my morale. I am responsible for my own morale, and I must learn to deal with it on my own, even if the situation is out of my control.

I'll be honest - the past couple of weeks have been pretty rough at work in the way that it forces you to toughen up and become better. It's nice to see quotes like these every once in a while to help bring together all the random thoughts that are bouncing through my mind.

Currently listening to: Matchbox 20 - 3AM
Posted by roy on May 26, 2009 at 03:35 AM in Ramblings, MindTouch | 2 Comments

So this post is about a year too late, but I am not embarassed! Being in the technology field, people mistakenly assume me for the type of person to chase every shiny gadget. (I refuse to get a smartphone)

I'm the type of guy to run down an electronic years after it's use has passed - my laptop being a great example. I bought one of those lightweight Stinkpads from IBM (when it was still called IBM), which has been my primary work computer since late '05. It somehow manages to run a VM image of Debian, Skype, Firefox, Photoshop, and a whole slew of other applications without a problem! (People who complain about Windows stability need to use mine - it's solid as a rock!) And I'll continue to use it until it burns to the ground. (Random factoid: I've never had to *ever* reformat any of my computers)

I am the owner of a 3rd generation iPod (which still works after I did some surgery on it to swap out the screen and battery a few years back) which I still use in my car as a road trip iPod. Until the Tibet trip, I was also using a 4GB 1st generation iPod Nano as my main music player. Unfortunately, the Nano decided it loved Tibet too much and failed to return with me back to the States. 

And apparently music is a big part of my life - my life felt emptier when I couldn't set the right soundtrack to fit my mood. For example, Del Amitri's "Roll to Me" when I see a pretty girl walking down the street... or maybe "California Lovin'" by 2Pac when I felt particularly happy about the beautiful San Diego weather.

So I picked up a refurbished 16GB 4th generation iPod Nano ($149... not bad!) and got it today. And now my life is so happy!

My thoughts on the 4th generation iPod Nano:

  • I have NEVER bought earbuds that failed to label one as "L" and "R." But the ones that came with the iPod AREN'T LABELED. THE FREEDOM ... IT CONFUSES ME. PLEASE TELL ME WHICH ONE GOES IN WHICH EAR!
  • Holy crap, it feels nice. I thought my 1st generation was nice ... but this is super-sweet. But seriously, the 'iPod' text on the back is HUGE. Whatever happened to subtle?
  • 16GB of storage?! Holy cow! That's more than my iPod! I don't have to decide whether to delete my Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" or my Britney Spears "... Baby One More Time" to upload Taylor Swift's "Fearless" I CAN HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT (TWICE)!!!!!!1!!!!!
  • I got really excited that I saw "Radio" on the menu, then it didn't seem to work. So yeah, false hopes.
  • I had to disable half of the "options" on the iPod Nano, which seems very uncharacteristic of Apple. "Cover flow"? Disabled. "Shake"? No, thanks. "Preview menu"? Please, no.
  • It doesn't charge with my car's radio FM transmitter ... guess they're finally ditching Firewire. Sad panda.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about the revolutionary new smartphone from Apple - the iPhone. Stay tuned. Maybe I'll even start talking about how awesome Twitter is.

"Danger Smells Like Clean Socks": Where current events happen.

Posted by roy on May 28, 2009 at 12:11 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Been a while since I posted a lolcat:

Posted by roy on May 28, 2009 at 04:31 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Following up on my previous post, there are indications on the earbuds that ship with the iPod Nano ... but they are the inner side of the earbuds. I noticed this on the way back from work. I can now feel content to know my earbuds are in the correct ears!

I am stupid, hear me roar!

Posted by roy on May 28, 2009 at 08:18 PM | 2 Comments

These guys are great! I was fortunate enough to catch them in concert last week ... fantastic!

Posted by roy on May 28, 2009 at 11:45 PM in Ramblings, Music | 2 Comments
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