Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Holidays

Hey guys, blogging from NYC :)
Just wanted to throw in a quick note
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! For those travelling, be safe.
I will post more photos when I get back to good ol COMO. So far my at my trip I've managed to:

  • Ate Czech, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Greek food
  • Attended Greek Xmas party
  • Watched movie "Night at the Museum"; blaaah....wait for the DVD
  • Shopped till I drop; Diesel jeans ON SALE! H&M underwear frenzy
  • Dropped passport off to be renewed. Terribly inefficient!

More to come soon!!! Oh no my vacation's half over, I don't it to end...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Projects I'm currently working on...


Books I'm currently reading

Not sure how or why but I got into reading two different Biographies right now. I'm almost done with The Confession by James McGreevey and just started listening to My Life audiobook by Bill Clinton. I wanted to read about Governer McGreevey because so far he's the highest government official to be outed and I wanted to read about President Clinton because he is definitely the best Commander-In-Chief since I've lived in this country. There are many parallels in these two books, both men were incredibly driven and motivated. They knew exactly what they wanted and exactly how to achieve their goals. I also understand that they are both politicians, so I take most of the "politics" in these books with a grain of salt. It's just a great read to motivate oneself to wanting to achieve bigger and greater things.

The book I just completed before I started with the two biographies above was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I learned about this book through Dave who read it because of Wes. It's an interesting book, quite philosophical and symbolic. There's a surprise ending to the end of the book. After the author is done telling you the story, he lists a bunch of questions (to be asked at a book club, I presume) but the questions are very interesting. It's a pretty light read, I would suggest it to anyone who just wants to curl up in a couch, drinking a cup of hot cocoa, and read during these winter months. I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

I have not been so good at documenting all the books I've read. I hope to mention, even if briefly, the books I've read on my blog to somehow remind me of the material I've come across. There have been countless books that I've read that I have very little recollection of. One example would be The Green Mile which I hope to re-read because from what I can remember, it was a great book.

***NEW MATERIAL ADDED 12/11/06***

So this is another book I read earlier this year, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is another really good book that I definitely recommend. Here's the excerpt from the book's cover:

"By the time she turned thirty, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern, educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want - a husband, a house in the country, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love and the complete eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be." "To recover from all of this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, left her loved ones behind and undertook a year-long journey around the world, all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the chronicle of that year. Gilbert's aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature, set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Italy, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, where, with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise Texan, she embarked on four months of austere spiritual exploration. Finally, in Indonesia, she sought her ultimate goal: balance - namely, how to somehow build a life of equilibrium between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. Looking for these answers on the island of Bali, she became the pupil of an elderly, ninth-generation medicine man and also fell in love in the very best way - unexpectedly." "A memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment. It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society's ideals. This is a story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change."--BOOK JACKET

I think it was very appropriate that I read this book at this point of my life as I am too almost turning the frightful age of thirty and share very similar discontent for life in general with the Author. Sounds harsh when I say discontent, I guess the better word is I feel like there's more I can achieve but have yet to do so. Anyway this book in a way has motivated me to want to learn new skills (languages, musical instrument etc) and much, much more. I give it 4/5 stars. Go read it and let me know what you think.



I also checked out a bunch of beginner music books from the library. I think that for me to be more "complete" as a person, I need to be able to read music. I would really like to be able to read some music and be able to play basic piano which I've also checked books out for. I'm thinking about investing in a little eletronic keyboard but we'll just have to see how long my current interest will last me. Deep down inside, I've always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument. It's one of those things that I keep putting away and say I'll do it someday. Well hopefully I am serious enough to follow through with it this time as it definitely will not be easy and takes a very long commitment. Would love to hear of any advise you have for me in comment section...


I have also always wanted to be able to communicate in more languages. The two that I've been trying to learn, half-heartedly, are Spanish and Mandarin. Today I found a very interesting site that provides lessons in these and many others. This website belongs to the Foreign Service Institute, FSI. I've tried out Unit 1 of Spanish and it looks promising so if time permits, I think I'll continue with the lessons. They are quite effective and best of all, this site is completely FREE!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Snowed In

Woke up as usual on Friday morning and noticed I received a text from Justin.
"Are you going to work?"
I replied
"I dunno but I'm going to try"
He calls a second later and tells me to go look out my window. I crawled out of bed and looked out my window and I went "OH MY GOD!!!" There's no way anybody is going to work. I turned on the TV and looks like Columbia's been buried in 18" of snow!


Called my boss to confirm and work is indeed called off! Wooohoooo!!! I NEVER get snow days but I guess the snow was just too severe. Both I-70 (that's right Interstate 70!) and HWY 63 were shut down. Later heard that the Governor of Missouri declared state of emergency. This is the most snow Columbia has seen since 1995!

L: The front of my house completely buried R: My backyard again buried in 18", with the Sun just about to rise.

Spent most of the morning just watching the news and catching up on the TV shows I've missed. I was also amused to see my opposite neighbour, apparently very determined to go somewhere, try for almost an hour to move their little Camry. They pushed, they shoved, they accelerated back and forth and after an hour, they were still stuck on the same spot. At that moment, I realized I'm not going anywhere for the day.

L: Piled all the snow to one side measuring almost 3' R: I'm very proud of my shovelled driveway :)

After lunch, I went across the street and borrowed a shovel from my neighbour. Hooked up my MP3 player, made a hot cup of tea and spent the next 2 hours shovelling snow from my driveway. It was kind of fun but tiring as hell heck and my back was a little sore the next day. True enough I stayed home the entire day, I guess taking the advise of just about every newsperson on TV and radio who was going "If you do not absolutely need to be outside, do not go out!". Later that evening, Joe who was back from Michigan (he must have brought the weather with him) came over and we got to hang out.

L: Car handled pretty well in the snow & ice R: Walked around downtown and MU after lunch.

The next day, we attempted braving the roads. This is the first time I'm driving in the snow in my BMW, seems to handle the roads very well with the 4 wheel drive. Some of the roads were plowed but the city still seemed to be in disaster mode. We had lunch at Chinese Wok, very surprised businesses were open but the owner told me they were open on Friday too! Such dedication. After lunch we just walked around downtown and MU campus, it was very pretty to see everything covered in pure white snow. After the walk, we went to Walmart and there were so many people, one would think it's the last day of Walmart's operation of worst still, war time. Each of the check out counters had a line so long it stretched all the way back to the clothing department. I guess snow days=good business :)

Reminder: Notice my little chat tool to the right, do leave a short note ;)

P/S: What do you think of the pictures taken with my cell phone W810? Seem to produce pretty good pictures.