Tuesday, February 21, 2006

In Memory of Grandpa

Kong-kong during his younger days

Received a text message from Dad sometime last night while I was still asleep. I also got a voicemail left by Aunty Bee around the same time. Woke up to find a text message and voice message, I knew something had to have happened. I found out that Grandpa passed away in the afternoon of February 21, Tuesday Malaysian Time at 97 years old. Malaysian time is actually ahead of the US Central time, which is where I'm located, therefore them calling me in the middle of Tuesday morning....I know it's confusing but that's what I have to live with whenever I communicate with my family who are half the world away. They are constantly living 1/2 a day ahead of me, it's night here when it's day there, it's today here when it's tomorrow there; so this makes it all quite confusing sometimes.

I found out that Grandpa would like to be cremated and have his ashes scattered into the seas surrounding Penang Island. It will probably remain along the Straits of Malacca for a while and then eventually be carried to the Indian Ocean or the South China Sea depending on how the ocean current flows. I am surprised that this is what Grandpa, the free-sprited man I suppose, wanted because traditionally people from his generation are either buried in a family cemetery or cremated and then stored in a temple so that future generations can pay their respects. In a way, I can see how this can be quite serene andnot that bad of an idea.

I am just a little dissappointed that I will not be able to attend his funeral. It seems that ever since I've started living in the US, I have missed out on a lot of the major family functions. First was of my eldest brother's wedding. Then there was this big 90th birthday celebration for Grandpa where Aunties, Uncles and cousins from all over the globe attended.

In honour of all people closest to me who have passed on, I have created an account at Genebase to somehow link all my relatives together in a one big family tree. I will try to recruit as many of them as possible. Hopefully the response will be good. Wish me luck...

Kong-kong shortly before his passing

Monday, February 20, 2006

No Longer together...

This last weekend was a somber one. On Friday Feb 17, I decided to dissolve my 10-month oldrelationship. It was very difficult but I felt it had to be done. It was for the best for the both of us. I thought about it long and hard and had 3 main reasons for breaking up:

  1. JRM's schedule changed recently (since Dec) which resulted in extreme reduction of the time we spent together. We barely see each other on weekdays and some on weekends. I feel this is quite a significant reason.
  2. JRM will be graduating soon. There are all kinds of plans, talks about joining the Peace Corp, travelling out West etc etc. I feel it's best I get myself out of the way to make the decisions easier.
  3. And finally, I know this is tied to #2 but we are both at very different stages of our lives and probably looking for different things as well. I think it could have worked if the both of us became more stable in our lives/career.
I still question it today if I've made the right decision, it was a lot harder than I thought. I definitely feel like getting on the phone and say, "Ha ha, April's fools, this was all just a joke" but the reality is we both probably need time apart to get used to the feeling. The rest of the weekend was mediocre. The weather sucked, the clouds were gloomy and temperatures were down to single digits. I think I spent most of Sunday just laying on the couch watching TV. I don't think I even got out of my pjs. I definitely hope to remain good friends. There has been text messages and emails exchanged and I think both sides are progressing well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Valentines...

So how was everyone's Valentines? The day where couples get brainwashed into buying overpriced roses and eating at overbooked restaurants all cozy with one another, isn't that just sweet, NOT. Anywho, mine was quite low key. I cooked a meal for us, a full 3 course dinner complete with salad, pasta and dessert, and gave that special someone a cute lil teddy bear and candy of course. It was definitely not a big deal as I had said we wouldn't be doing much, it turned out just the way I wanted it to.

Later in the evening Dave and Em popped by my place to update me on his very dramatic love life. He broke up his relationship on Valentine's Day! How crazy is that :) What a drama queen! Anyway it was definitely interesting hearing about all the little details of the breakup. Apparently my other friends agreed all wrong and said that Valentine's always puts couples in such pressure and that will eventually lead to a high break up rate on this specific day. Anyone else has experienced a Valentine's break up? Do share in comment section...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Photos with Fang from NYC

Fang and me posing in front of my duplex with her rental car parked up front.

Joe, Fang and myself fooling around in my living room. Just got back from Osage beach shopping. We were resting before heading out for dinner.

Again fooling around in living room.

Awwww.....isn't that sweet.

Cheers to you too! Having a very yummilicious dinner at Trattoria Strada Nova....I think that means Restaurant on Ninth Street ;)

Another pic of us before heading home with a full tummy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Smart Ass

R.L. Loeffelbein A physics teacher at Washington University in St. Louis was about to give a student a zero for the student's answer to an examination problem. The student claimed he should receive a perfect score, if the system were not so set up against the student. Instructor and student agreed to submit to an impartial arbiter, Dr. Alexander Calandra, who tells the story.
The examination problem was: "Show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer."
The student's answer was, "Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, and lower the barometer to the ground. Then, bring it back up, measuring the length of the rope and barometer. The lengths of the two together is the height of the building."
I, as arbiter, pointed out that the student really had a strong case for full credit since he had answered the problem completely and correctly. On the other hand, of course, full credit would contribute to a high grade for the student in his physics course, and a high grade is supposed to certify that the student knows some physics, a fact that his answer had not confirmed. So it was suggested that the student have another try at answering the problem.
He was given six minutes to answer it, with the warning this time that the answer should indicate some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything. Asked if he wished to give up, he said no, that he had several answers and he was just trying to think which would be the best. In the next minute he dashed off this answer. "Take the barometer to the top of the building. Lean over the edge of the roof, drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula S=½at2, calculate the height of the building. At this point, I asked my colleague if he gave up and he conceded. The student got nearly full credit.
Recalling that the student had said he had other answers, I asked him what they were. "Well," he said, "you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and length of the building's shadow, then use simple proportion to determine the height of the building. And there is a very basic measurement method you might like. You take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb, you mark off lengths of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks to get the height of the building in barometer units.
"Of course, if you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of 'g.' The height of the building can, in principle, be calculated from this.
"And," he concluded, "if you don't limit me to physics solutions, you can take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent's door. When he answers, you say, 'Mr. Superintendent, I have here a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of this building, I will give you this barometer.'"
Finally, he admitted that he even knew the correct textbook answer -- measuring the air pressure at the bottom and top of the building and applying the appropriate formula illustrating that pressure reduces as height increases -- but that he was so fed up with college instructors trying to teach him how to think instead of showing the structure of the subject matter, that he had decided to rebel.
For my part, I seriously considered changing my grade to unequivocal full credit.
R.L. Loeffelbein has been a teacher and writer for 20 years. He was an assistant professor aboard the first voyage of the University of the Seven Seas.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Superbowl Weekend

Steph decided to have a superbowl party on Sunday and it turned out to be quite alot of fun. Everyone brought a little something and I made my famous cheesecake. I experimented with one by adding peanut butter and it came out really good! I'll definitely have to try that one again. No one except for Steph and Chad was paying any attention to the game, I guess they were the only two that were into football. The rest of us were paying more attention to the ads than the game. One of the cutest ads has got to be the one for Budweiser where the little pony's trying to pull this huge carriage and as he's coming out of the barn, you see two other little ponies at the back pushing the carriage, helping their friend along. That was just soooo sweet =) After the game, we all watched the very dramatic Grey's Anatomy. It was a pretty good episode except that we didn't like how it left us hanging in the end.

We didn't really do much on Friday evening. Went to the mall and shopped a little and later just chilled out at Steph's house playing cards. Saturday was Emily's birthday. After playing cards all night, I went to MU's Rec center with Dave and worked out the next morning. I did weights and ran for about 4 miles and later just chilled at the sauna, very relaxing. I'm proud of myself for keeping up with my schedule so far. I hope I'll see some results soon. After that we just hung out with Justin and Chad at Cherry St and later met at Pasta House for Em's birthday dinner. After dinner, we all went to Shattered and danced to 80's music.

All in all, it was a fun weekend but I definitely feel that I'm partying it up a little too much. There are many chores at home that is ignored but the way I see it is I should take full advantage of the situation while everyone's still in Columbia. After the summer, everyone will be done with school and only God will know what will happen then. I have a suspicion that my social life will come to a screeching halt. I'm really not looking forward to that but there's nothing much I can do.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Yesterday, I saw on the news that Muslims across the world are outraged by some political cartoon making fun of Prophet Mohammed. I know this is a very sensitive subject but when there is freedom of expression how far can it go? Is it black and white or is there a big grey area? There are times when I question this freedom. Recently I learnt that a local KKK/white supremacy group has been handing out flyers on car windshields at a local strip mall. This was especially scary for a person of my racial background to know that there are groups of people like this out there. It was quite disturbing and it's situations like this that makes me question this freedom. Personally I feel that this whole Prophet caricature situation is just blown out of proportion and I kinda like the very PC reply of the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen where he goes "Neither the Danish government nor the Danish nation as such can be held responsible for drawings published in a Danish newspaper; A Danish government can never apologise on behalf of a free and independent newspaper and This is basically a dispute between some Muslims and a newspaper." You go gurl....fingers snapping...

Today is just one of those days. I have plenty of work to do but I'm just sitting here surfing one website after another, just asking to be fired I guess. These days I just don't have the motivation to work anymore. I guess my theory is I'm just coasting till I finally receive my Greencard then I'll be outta here but till then I'll just have stay under the radar and pretty much just...coast. It's so hard to plan my life when literally every aspect of my life depends on me being a citizen or greencard holder, sometimes I just don't feel that this is very fair but then again nobody forced me into wanting to live & work here. I could've easily gone home and gotten a pretty good job (like my brothers who also came here for school) and be around friends and family but I guess deep down I wanted more. The funny thing is the past 5 years of my life has been so focussed on obtaining a greencard that I'm afraid I might just lose that focus or direction when I actually get that darn piece of plastic but that's of no concernn for another 1-3 years.

Hari Raya celebration at Elleen's with yummy food. Elleen, Joe, Me an H2.

On a separate and more encouraging note, I have started a new workout/diet routine this week. I just got done reading "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscles" by Tom Venuto and I must say, this book has taught me a lot on how the human body works. I am applying some of his advise to my lifestyle, i.e. eating 5 small meals/day, doing cardio everyday for at least 30 mins and doing weights for 3 days (Mon, Wed & Fri). It's too soon to see any results but I hope it won't be counterproductive for I did not follow everything down to every detail. I am incorporating protein (chicken breast, egg whites, tuna, salmon) into every meal just like he advised and drinking lots of water. I'm running for 30-40 minutes everyday and doing weights every other day. But I did not set a clear goal, nor did I calculate my daily calories and body fat. Hopefully these will be too trivial and I'll still be able to see some results.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Can you read this?

Olny srmat ppoeloe can.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The pahonmanel pweor of the hmuan mnid, aodcrcnig to a rscheearch at Cbmarigde Uinesrvtiy, it dseont mtater in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a perbolm. Tihs is busecae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aimzang huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuhot slpeling was itpnoramt! if you can raed tihs psas it on!!

Very interesting....a co worker of mine passed this to me.