What are Phobos and Deimos?

Man, my sleeping cycle is seriously f**ked up. For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been going to bed really late like around 3 or 4 am but still managed to get up by 10 am to go to work at 11 am. Till recently, looks like my body (more of my brain) has finally taken its toll so I was feeling tired and went to bed early at 11 pm—–believe it or not, my body thinks it’s early. I was hoping I could sleep till 7 am to get my full 8 hours but nope, my body began to stir, slowly getting out of REM stage and woke up at 3 am. Three o’clock!!? Now, I can’t go back to sleep and I dunno if I can go back…. I want to play golf before work. Maybe I’ll stay awake and overload on the coffee or mountain dew till I finish my shift. Oh well.

Enough of my sleep ramblings, I wanted to share that I finished reading a book called “Brainac” by Ken Jennings. If you’re not familiar with the name, he flat out broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games, seventy-five, and earned three million dollars in winnings. This so happened because Jeopardy! decided not to limit five days winning anymore. A champion can stay on as long as s/he keeps winning. I remember reading about him in the newspapers and started to watch him on Jeopardy! I wish I had a tivo so I could watch all his appearances, maybe there’s a dvd? When I watched him on the show for the first time, I could immediately tell he was different from any contestant and his knowledge of trivia was brilliant and freakingly astounding. He was like a machine, going through questions like he’s Dave Crockett shooting these tin cans as they fall one by one quickly. He knows even the smallest details that no one would bother to know but he knows. He said he enjoys knowing “weird stuffs”, which apparently is extremely useful in trivia.

My first experience with trivia probably was the Gallaudet Academic bowl competition. I believe it first started in 1997 ‘cuz my good friend, Kent, was on the team along with his classmates, Beth and Carolyn. They were a bunch of smart seniors. Well, Kent was definitely a slacker but he knows a lot. They went to Kansas to compete in the Midwest Regional, which they won handily over Texas and earned a trip to the deaf national tournament at Gallaudet Univ. in Washington, DC. They didn’t win as California School for the Deaf Riverside (CSDR), became the first school to win the tournament. Kent, Beth and Carolyn graduated that year and who’s the next crop? It was Nick Beck, Jill Birchall, Kevin Symons and myself.

I truly feel that we couldn’t have a better team, with Nick being our “anchor”, it was his first chance to be in the spotlight than constantly being teased in school or getting stuffed in some lockers. I think we also got to see how smart he really was, despite his eccentric personality. He reads a ton of books, possesses a sponge-like memory, is excellent at remembering people names like the Supreme Court judges or U.S. presidents, and current world events as he likes to read newspapers daily.

Jill, the only girl on the team, knew what most girls like to know–celebrities, literature, art—and she even surprised us with some music knowledge like she knew who was on the Grateful Dead band, despite we’re all deaf and knows NOTHING about music culture. Boy, we would sink without her. She’d spend summers catching up on People magazines and YM/Seventeen’s, although she probably has graduated to reading Cosmopolitan now. Like Nick, she remembers names very well.

Our third player, Kevin, he’s the one who got married recently is a different kind of nerd than Nick is. He wasn’t necessarily eccentric, just a bit of loner who would wander in his own world but he came alive in geography and he knows all U.S. capitals. He’s also good at math—quickly solving problems and guess what? he is now a project manager of a small firm that drafts blueprints for wealthy people who want to build a million dollar home. Those blueprints cost more than four figures.

Now, the fourth player, me. Ha, I don’t have much to say except I know a bit about sports, some random facts (maybe weird) and history. That’s about it. I wonder how did I get on the team. I think I was good at keeping the team together and being upbeat, like Jill and Nick didn’t get along so well, ha. So, that’s the four of us and one coach/teacher, Marybeth Lauderdale. I can see why she was so excited for us and really thought we had a team that was good enough to win the national. Except on one question: Name the two moons around Mars.

It was the last game in the Midwest Regional tournament, having blown away every other teams except maybe for one team, Indiana. Our final opponent was Missouri; we had beaten them in the first round but they fought their way back into the final round. Their team was led by one girl—I don’t remember her name—but she wasn’t pretty and looked like a snotty pig to me. One thing I still remember about that girl was that one MSD student told me that she wasn’t even a full-time MSD student; she only took one class, a PE, at the deaf school while the rest of her classes was at a public school. She had just transferred there so she can be eligible to participate in the academic bowl competition. On the contrary, Jill was born deaf and entered 0 to 3 infant program at ISD and remained there till she graduated. You think such a “scandal” would only occur on the NCAA level? Think again!

In the first three rounds, our brains were hitting on full cylinders, pulling ahead hard and was ten points away from having an insurmountable lead that they couldn’t beat us on the final “jeopardy” question. I think the score was 125 to 55. But on the final question, “Where will be the next Deaf Winter Olympics held in?” That pig-faced girl buzzed in before I could and she answered correctly, Denmark. That gave her team 10 points, from 55 to 65, thus not out of the game because they could bet all of their points to double their score and we’d have to be wise with our wager. I remember I was soo pissed as they still had a chance. And what a big chance that was.

In our final team conference, we knew they would bet it all so we bet only 10 points. The final question’s about to start and it was to “name the two moons around Mars.” We looked at each other, expecting to see who knows the answer. None of us knew. We looked over the other side. We saw the pig-faced girl made a gasp, looked down and wrote the answer. She knew! that pig-faced girl. We tried to re-focus and discuss, frantically trying to get an answer but it was all hopeless. We had lost. They doubled their score to 130 and we went 10 points down to 115. The whole thing was over and they’re going to Washington, DC, not us. It was the worst feeling, like getting kicked in the stomach. I felt like throwing up. Really was sick. I remember being shocked, then got really mad at myself for not stealing the last question—the next Deaf Olympics. I knew that one. Like Ken Jennings, he got jeopardized for not knowing the answer to “most of this firm’s seven thousand seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.”

That was eight years ago and I still remember like it happened last week. At least I had good memories, it was a blast with my team and we really learned a lot of stuffs like how facts are connected to each other and being more in touch with the world like I want to travel Europe someday. I enjoy doing crossword puzzles and like to watch Jeopardy! shows. Of course, I had my high school crush on Jill, so maybe that’s why I got on the team. ;-)

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Enjoying our Friday!

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Ipod battery replacement part two

The battery replacement for my mini ipod arrived today, so I was excited to open up the ipod and swap that motherf**ker battery that has been ruining/spoiling my entertainment. Each time it dies or the ipod stops playing, I’d be like what the fuck, I just charged it full a few mins ago! I knew it was a faulty battery yet I was like come on, you still have some juice left in you, don’t die on me, baby. Well, today’s the day you’ll have to go!

The instructions from www.ifixit.com was pretty straightforward. I encountered a little problem because I dropped the ipod and the metal corner was bent so I had to bend it back before the mobo could come out. Other than that, everything went smoothly and plugged in the power adapter and it went charging. Sweet. Life is good now. :)

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My office desk

Mmm…

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Calvin and Hobbes comic book!

On sale, going to be my bathroom companion and bedtime stories. :)

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Mini Ipod battery replacement DIY

While I was browsing for good informative sites for my new macbook, I happened to stumble onto this website, www.ifixit.com, it sells replacement parts for all ipods and powerbooks. My mini ipod’s battery is dearly fucked up; it craps out even after being charged fully. I found out that it’s actually my fault because you aren’t supposed to leave the ipod charging all the time (I left it on the car charger) as it will wear out the battery. Just unplug it when it is fully charged, not leave it on.

So, I ordered the battery replacement, with some extra juice at 600 maH, 50% more than the original battery, so I hope it will work out better. Can’t wait. And save myself some moola from purchasing another ipod, although I’m tempted to buy the new sidekick 3 which can play mp3 songs off the miniSD card. It’s your fault, Kyung!

Battery replacement DIY instructions

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IHOP breakfast

Ain’t nothing like Ihop breakfast!

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Apple releases new ipod nanos

Ooo, nice, I like aluminum enclosures, same with mini ipods but their battery is no good. Too bad I probably won’t buy it. Why? cuz I think I’m gonna buy the sk3 with mp3 capability and plug in the 4 gb miniSD memory card. Gotta save pockets. :-D

“Do you have a private pilot license?”

This story is one of my favorite stories about my dad so I want to put it in a written form.

As mentioned in my previous post that my dad works for USPS (United States Post Service), he has been working there for almost 30 years. I think he has about two years left before he reaches the magical number and is second on the seniority list, which means he gets to choose almost any day he wants to get off. Before I go with this story, my dad is an avid private pilot and it’s been his dream to own a Cessna himself. My dad told me if he wasn’t deaf, he would have gone to army and fly a fighter jet somewhere deep in Vietnam. He even had tears during when Tom Cruise lost his buddy partner in the ‘Top Gun’ movie.

My dad has been working on a graveyard shift as long as I can remember. About a few years ago, he wanted to move to a daytime shift so he could spend more time with mom during the weekday nights and weekends but the management kept closing any position that had weekend days off (something to do with productivity or whatever). My dad gets off on Friday and Saturday, which isn’t that bad as he starts work on a Sunday night. So he stayed at where he is now and will most likely retire that way.

My mom told me that when they decided they want to adopt a child (which eventually would be me), my dad was working as a printer for some company but they weren’t paying him well enough, so he told my mom that he’d have to change jobs and apply at USPS. He got hired but had shitty days off—they were on Wed and Thurs but that’s usually what you get when you are at the bottom of a ladder. Eventually, he passed the trial and became permanent. Soon thereafter, he saw that he could be home with my mom on Sat. and Sun. if he signed up for this graveyard shift (11 pm to 7 am). My dad figured it’s a lot better than having to work on Sat. and Sun, even it’s during daytime. Also, it paid a bit more (about $200 more per paycheck, or $2,400 a year). He stayed on this shift ever since.

As my dad worked his way up the ladder, he became a level 5, which means he can work on a forklift. He really loved operating that forklifter and pile up the boxes as neatly as you would play a game of Tetris. Until one day, there were some changes in the management and since my dad was deaf, they felt he shouldn’t be operating on a forklift in case someone gets hurt and would sue them for being irresponsible to let my dad drive a forklift. Of course, my dad got pissed, and he contacted his union leader. They got some black civil rights lawyer from Chicago and they had a meeting together.

After some discussions, my dad got a vibe that it was getting nowhere so he decided it’s time to do something and pull a trick out of his sleeves. He asked one guy from the management. The conversation went something like this.

my dad: you have a car, yeah?
he: why? yes I do.
my dad: well, me too, and to drive our cars, we need our driver’s license, right?
he: uh-huh.

my dad: so if we can drive cars, what made you think I cannot drive a forklift?
he: well it’s not about that, it’s for safety and we have to think about our employees.
my dad: right… so let me show you something *pulling a license out of his wallet* and give it to the guy.

he: what is this.. uh it says private pilot license?
my dad: yes, it is, i’m a licensed private pilot. Do you have one?
he: no I don’t.
my dad: well if the FAA thinks I can fly a plane, what made you think that I cannot drive a forklift?
he: well, you know…., well, I’ll talk abt it with my management group.

The next day, they agreed to let my dad drive a forklift but they said that my dad would be the last such person to have this exception.

Since then, my dad has been forklifting boxes like it’s a game of tetris and how many accidents in his almost 30 years of working at USPS? zero.

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No service for women bathroom

Ha!

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Why is life getting shorter?

You probably heard it often. People tell you, “Life’s short. Make the most out of it.” or something like that.

I never deny that life is really short, as people seem to be saying but I just never GET it. I don’t have that feeling where I go, “Oh shit, I’ve got only 10 mins left to study for my calculus test or to finish a ten pages paper in less than a half hour.” That kind of urgency. So, I don’t get that when people say life’s short.

Till now.

I think I’m finally realizing that life is getting SHORT. What’s more, it actually makes sense to me. As we’re growing up or getting older, we find more things we like and the list grows. There’s a lot of stuffs on the list you’d like or want to be good at. I like to do many different things and I admit I do have a lot of competitive instincts in me and I carry with this mindset—to kick your ass. Whenever it’s on a pool table, darts, basketball, foosball, etc, I will do my best to kick your ass, to beat you. I’ve had many people telling me that it’s just a game, play it for fun. I do try to think that way sometimes but then I lose the excitment in playing a game and effectively become bored. It’s what you make of it. Even if I lose, I will challenge you again and my “luck” is only going to get better.

Anyway, so you have many things you want to do and you’d like to become good at them. That’s when I think becomes short. Because if you want to become good, you have to invest a significant amount of time toward them and I have to accept the fact that you can’t simply become good at everything. I do want to become good or at least skillful at photoshop, programming, fish spearing, fishing, snowboarding, golf, writing, calculus, tuning cars, skateboarding, and the list just goes on. I want to become good at all of them but I know I can’t. I’d have to pick one or a few. And practice them everyday to finally become good.

The bottom line is that the longer your list grows, the shorter your life is going to be. That has to suck. :-(

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My expired coupon from Blockbuster

I was supposed to write about this coupon when I took a pic of it but of course, things had to come up and I lost sight of writing this post. Now, I’m back to this.

While waiting for my flight back to DC, my dad said “Oh, I almost forgot, let me give you this coupon.” and took it out of his thick leather wallet. It was time for me to head back to DC after spending some family time with my parents. Soon enough, my hearing aid amplified my ear, alerting me that the speaker box were making some mumblings and that it probably means it was time to go and strip myself in front of some security officers at the airport. Seeing some people standing up and getting into a line helped confirm this.

For some reason, my dad seems to enjoy holding my mails ever since I left the house for college and I don’t think I have ever spent more than two weeks at parents’ home after having lived there for more than 15 years since I was adopted. I also should add that my dad is a postal office worker and he likes to brag that h knows every zip code around the midwestern states. Anytime I get a box from someone, I can immediately tell if it’s from my dad by the way how the box was packaged, taped and labeled. And it would require a good scissor to pry it open, not just your hands. One of these days, I just ought keep the box unopened and re-send it to the P.O. museum and be placed in a glass to show how crisp the box is and its taping.

Now, back to the coupon, since my dad gave me the coupon right when it was time to go, I didn’t really pay attention to the coupon and I just took it right into my wallet. Heh, from his wallet straight to my wallet. After I was decidedly settled into my airplane seat, I took the coupon out and looked at it. The expiration date said “04-31-06” and today is May 14, 2006. So it was expired but stayed in my dad’s wallet for two months. I suppose by looking at all these zip codes has made my dad a victim of hyperopia. I put the coupon back into my wallet and some tears began to form as the plane began to take off the ground.

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