I Am Bismark

2009-05

keep hearing rave reviews for mountain dew throwback. gonna have to find some.

fell asleep last night instead of going grocery shopping. pizza and diet coke for breakfast.

tmnt 2 is on. have you ever seen a turtle get down?

awesome 5 mile run along the american river. great way to start off the day.

my air mattress almost completely deflated last night for some reason.. not fun to wake up in with my butt on the floor and a sore back.

sometimes cheap “mexican” food just seems like the thing to eat.

tweets too long for 140 characters #1

i was watching the tv show glee the other night and i realized i used to have a crush on a girl that was just like the lead girl. then i wondered why i had a crush on such an annoying stuck up girl. then i wondered why i was watching glee.

i wish people understood what android, moblin, linux, etc all mean. too many people think they mean the same thing as windows.

is it just me, or have the twitter trends started getting dumber and dumber? i used to look to them for interesting news and tidbits..

another 14 hour day at work. demo machines are now done. i think i will come in for lunch tomorrow.

ok still working on the stupid demo machines. almost done, grabbing some dinner for a break.

moutain dew for breakfast. sigh. i need to get these demo machines working by 5 PM so they can head off to taiwan.

home now. make sure to watch anand chandrasekher’s keynote at next week’s computex. i’m the one who set up and tested the demo machines. :)

10 pm, 2 and a half mountain dew cans empty on my desk, empty pizza box, and i am still waiting for these stupid rpms to download..

honor the fallen and support our troops by renouncing war and proclaiming peace.

I throw up a little bit when I hear that “proud to be an American” song. please let’s stop ruining our memorial mtgs with it.

at a cemetery w/ grandparents. do we really need cheesy synth light rock ballads to honor our country’s soldiers?

leftover cold grilled tritip with horseradish sandwich. excellent late night snack.

star trek was as good as the first time around. makes me want to geek out and watch all the series.

leaving work at 1:30 on the friday of a three day weekend? sure, why not. i was one of three people who actually showed up at all.

the moblin 2 release apparently broke the moblin.org server so we can’t upload new bits for customers. probably some upset ODMs out there…

went to the gym for the first time in… honestly i don’t know. hope I can still move tomorrow.

ok, after seeing the great variety on amazon, wolf shirts are all i am going to wear from now on.

whoa what did i just write? that was day 3 of my road trip.

road trip 2009: day 3

wednesday we left a little later than i had wanted cuz we slept in and had to pack the car for the upcoming week. we left the bay area around 11 am and started heading east into the central valley. lots of orchards and farms. it was actually a pretty nice drive.

12:56 PM Apr 29th:

impressed i get 3g this far into the central valley. about an hour from yosemite.

i really had no idea what to expect from yosemite. i don’t think i had ever even seen a picture (well, probably had, just hadn’t realized it). we paid the entrance fee, and started a downward descent. we were surrounded by forrest then went into a tunnel. as soon as we came out the other end, bam, one of the most amazing views i’ve ever seen.

3:08 PM Apr 29th:

made it to yosemite. pretty awesome.

View of Bridalvale Falls

this is one time that the iphone camera just couldn’t cut it. the view of the opening of the valley and bridalvale falls was breathtaking. on the way down to the valley floor, we stopped at another waterfall and climbed out onto some rocks right next to the drop off. adam has those photos and sadly hasn’t posted them anywhere (HINT!). we walked up the base of bridavale falls and got pretty wet. i also got a strange voicemail from the anti-fraud division of my bank then. apparently they didn’t believe me that i was actually moving to sacramende. weird. we parked down on the valley floor and did some hiking.

4:47 PM Apr 29th:

yosemite falls: tallest waterfall in the US.

Me at Yosemite Falls

i really wanted to hike to the top of the falls, but it’s a six hour roundtrip hike, so it wasn’t possible. someday. honestly i could spend weeks there hiking. someday i want go backpacking in the granite highlands. adding that to my list of goals. we did a small hike around the the edge of the valley and came head to head with a deer. i guess it was pretty used to humans because it just kept walking towards us. it didn’t go off the path until i started walking towards it with my hands spread out in the air to make me look big. we grabbed a late lunch at the grill at the main lodge area. i checked my final byu grades while eating.

6:23 PM Apr 29th:

final byu gpa: 3.85. meh, should have been better. VHDL classes killed me. this is why I’m going over to CS.

after eating, we decided to get back on the road. my dad looked up motel room info for us while we got my car battery jumped (left the lights after going through the tunnel…whoops).

Yosemite Valley

this was our last view of the valley as we drove out. el capitan to the left, bridalvale falls to the right. beautiful. the drive down to fresno and onto the five was pretty uneventful, except for adam feeling a bit sick from me taking the curvy roads too quick.

9:31 PM Apr 29th:

quick restroom and stretch break. about 90 miles north of Bakersfield. stopping there for the night.

let me just say, there were some really really smelly places along that road. i dunno if it was chemical plants or garbage dumps, but there were a few places i was choking. we finally arrived in bakersfield and got a room at motel 6. we were both looking forward to a good nights sleep after a long day of driving.

11:06 PM Apr 29th:

made it to Bakersfield. seedy hotel room, but it’s a place to sleep.

gosh i’ve been doing a lot of @ replies today. slow day at work since i’m gated by everyone else.. it’s a waiting game till tomorrow.

well, Rep. Jason Chaffetz has the right idea about airport scanners. but don’t stop there: end the liquids/shoes/etc rules and the no fly list.

road trip 2009: day 2

so, we actually kind of took a day off on tuesday. we spent the morning at my grandparent’s house relaxing and reorganizing all the stuff we had just quickly thrown into the back of my car. we hopped on BART to go hang out with amy jo for the afternoon.

12:05 PM Apr 28th:

enough lounging around at my grandparents. time for a shower, then hopping on BART to eat lunch w/ @molecularbond in SF.

amy jo had just gotten done with school and we were all hungry, so she suggest vietnamese sandwiches. i had never been, so i agreed. we hopped back on BART to head over to the civic center to go to the sandwich shop!

2:30 PM Apr 28th:

getting some Vietnamese sandwiches for lunch here in San Francisco.

Lee's Sandwiches

my first vietnamese sandwich experience.

2:57 PM Apr 28th:

at lee’s sandwiches. pulled pork was quite tasty and they had melon milk!!

lee’s was actually pretty good, and cheap. i got the bbq pork asian sandwich, which was only $3 and quite filling. the melon milk was a highlight though. i found the exact same stuff in a small convenience store in a northwestern part of tokyo many years ago, and i’ve been searching ever since. it was awesome. adam didn’t quite know what he was getting in to with the raw jalapeños on the sandwich, so he just about died.

we went back to the BART station, and amy jo said goodbye to adam for the last time until he gets home from his mission. we headed back across the bay to the grandparent’s house. that night, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her bf came over for a dinner, so we had a lot of fun sitting around the table telling family stories and then having a rousing game of wii golf. i’ve never played before, but i got a double eagle, so that was pretty cool.

road trip 2009: day 1

so the monday after i graduated, my little brother and i packed up my car and set out on a journey. the next seven days were spent on the road, seeing some of the most amazing places in the southwestern united states.

Setting off

here we are, all ready to set out.

11:05 AM Apr 27th:

pulling out from Provo. goodbye.

leaving provo for the last time felt pretty weird. we topped of the oil, filled up the tires with air, and bought an ipod charger to provide us music on the road. as soon as we hit tooele, adam fell asleep (unsurprisingly). i woke him back up as we started entering the salt flats, and he announced that he needed to use the restroom. well, i told him tough luck. thankfully we made it to the rest stop.

1:17 PM Apr 27th:

just got over the salt flats. Adam told me he had to pee right when we were entering them. thankfully he made it.

Bonneville Salt Flats

here i am at the bonneville salt flats. it was pretty windy and there was actually a lot of standing water. we topped off the gas at wendover and kept moving. we stopped in elko for lunch and ate here.

3:26 PM Apr 27th:

eating lunch in elko. didn’t feel like fast food so trying a mexican place off the strip I found on yelp. we shall see how it goes!

i thought it was decent, i actually liked their salsa w/ cabbage in it. didn’t expect much for the middle of nevada though.

5:21 PM Apr 27th:

oh battle mountain.

7:28 PM Apr 27th:

4 hours till our destination according to google maps.

adam drove us to reno, where we got in-n-out burgers. the more i have them, the more i think they are overrated. i mean, yeah, they are decent for fast food burgers, but they aren’t great.

8:07 PM Apr 27th:

went down about 3 mpg across Nevada because of the strong head winds :(

i took over the driving from there. it was the a long, dark drive over the sierras, across the central valley, and into concord.

10:33 PM Apr 27th:

hi again Sacramento. I’ll be back soon!

we got in around midnight, and i was pretty sick of driving. if i only i knew what was ahead of us.

12:02 AM Apr 28th:

made it to concord. I’m ready for a nice night of sleep.

kfc coupons expire today. let’s see if my local store will take one for a free dinner.

well come may 29th when i get a two and half weeks pay plus my relocation package, i will be rich. until then… really really poor.

just got an email saying “Your BYU Bachelor of Science has been mailed”. w00t!

if a really hot girl is looking at me, is she checking me out or is it because i am checking her out? i need to work on my timing.

using a work assignment as an excuse to learn python. i need to start thinking like a comp scientist: C can’t solve all problems.

i support people’s rights to protest obama over religious beliefs. i protested cheney for the same reason, except for torture not abortion.

“if you could hie to kolob.”

Filed under “hymns that make no sense if you just sing the first verse”

well singles ward filled out a little bit better this week.

i love that there is another guy with my exact name in my small hometown who has a record and now has a collection agency after him/me.

slept in so i missed my run.. sigh, oh well. i’ll run tonight once it cools off a bit… hot day, so i will probably spend it mostly inside.

heading back home after that miserable failure. planning an early morning river run so I need my sleep.

as predicted i know no one and have. quickly retreated to the wall to play on my phone. : /

checking out the dance at the Mormon center. we shall see how it goes.

do I go stag to the ysa dance and hope I find some friends from last year or do I spend the night reading and playing call of duty?

meetings at 4:30 on Fridays should never be allowed.

woke up during the middle of the night because of a spider crawling up my leg. killed him but the adrenaline rush kept me awake for a bit.

i am pleased with the outcome of this year’s hell’s kitchen.

i cant wait for the day when soda w/ sugar becomes the norm and soda w/ hfcs becomes the “throwback”.

always feels good to see they are still using the “best known method” process that i developed a year ago.

crap, I’ve already added two albums to my amazon wishlist after just an hour of listening to this pandora station. this is dangerous.

honestly facebook just isn’t interesting anymore. gone are the days of looking up girls’ names and relationship statuses in deseret towers.

finally getting around to blogging about my road trip. photos are being uploaded to flickr as i type. one big post or split it up by days?

The top 5 words I’ve tweeted: going, time, work, getting, home. i guess i like going home from work time…

listening to craig barrett (intel chairman of the board) talk about the EU fines.

lunch at mr. pickles. hot “t” on sourdough = sandwich heaven.

great run this morning. found a good route through the two nearby parks.

yup got a ten year old thinkpad. good bye productivity.

off to pick up my laptop. please don’t give me one of those ten year old thinkpads like last year.

does anyone know the shortcut to post a tweet on tweetie for mac? cmd-n brings up a new tweet window, but how do i post w/o the mouse?

heading home from work. and oh right im salaried so i still get paid :D.

well they streamlined the process. no laptop yet so i just get to say hi to the team and go home!

new employee orientation. i remember getting nothing out of it last year. wonder if it will be any different this year. hah.

at a family bbq. everyone started bringing up computer issues. its like being the doctor in the family and everyone talking about aches.

ugh, why do sacramento singles wards always start so late in the day!? goodbye sundays.

everyone popped into a tequila bar, the other mormon and i went into the frozen yogurt shop next door.

hitting up 2nd Saturday with a few of my intel buddies.

had a nice day working out in the yard. it’s good to get my hands dirty.

woke up to a nightmare that i was up to run a two mile race and coach expected a top three finish. yeah i just got back from a run.

dear AT&T: zero bars on one side of my room and four bars on the other is not acceptable. why not full bars in a major metro area like this?

arrived in Sacramento. everything is in my room, now to organize. no drawers/shelves makes things interesting.

though the guy who yelled at the end “what about Picard?!” made it worth it.

got our seats, loading up snacks. time to be a star trek nerd (as opposed to the more general nerd I am all the other time).

cousins saved us a spot so we are first line. ahead of some pretty nerdy people. saying star wars over and over to see if anyone gets upset.

off to see the star trek movie. im going with cautious optimism. hoping for a lord of the rings, slightly expecting a phantom menace.

bloons is out for the iPhone! so many hours wasted while working computer support…

kfc says they aren’t taking coupons cuz of too much demand. el pollo loco getting my business now and in the future!

i’m giving up on watching dollhouse. fell asleep through two episodes in a row. why joss? enough of this gorram crap, bring back firefly!

well, i graduated

yup, in case any of you missed that whole thing, i am now a college graduate [instead of “not a college graduate” as i had originally wrote… whoops, that’s kind of ironic]! hurray! actually since i’m headed back to school in just four months it doesn’t really feel all that special. anyway, the whole graduation process was kinda wild and crazy. i went to finish up my last final at byu, only to be greeted by this:

testing center line

yeah having to stand in line for an hour and a half just to get inside the testing center didn’t help. nor did the fact that the air conditioners weren’t working. but even after not trying too hard on the final, i still got a B+ in the class! wednesday evening my parents and my sister’s family were all in town so i went to spend some time with them at a cabin we had rented up in sundance. my grandparents and other sister showed up the next day, so it was a lot of fun having the whole crew there. thursday was the commencement. here are some silly pics:

commencement 1

commencement 2

commencement

commencement 1

as usual the ceremony itself dragged on way too long. the alumni association dude’s speech was total fluff and elder nelson’s speech was nice but superfluous. president uchtdorf’s was pretty good though. they kept telling us to turn off our cellphones, but as you can see, i didn’t listen to that sillyness one bit. after that was done we had a pizza and games night with everyone at the cabin. friday was convocation, which was just as drawn out.

convocation

i got a nice case for my degree. even though i was 99% sure i had passed all of my classes, the fact that i didn’t get an actual degree made me kind of nervous. i feel a bit better now that i see that i passed all of my classes, but still… i want the degree in my hand! the rest of the weekend was spent doing family time, packing up my stuff, and saying goodbye. saturday night i went out with mariam, ariel, michelle, kenji, and laura to the RL for one last go. we had laughs and reminiscing all around. i’m still waiting for the goodbye pics from michelle (HINT).

dinner with the gang

by monday morning most everyone had gone and both adam and i were packed. the parents took us out for breakfast, we loaded up my car, and that was the end of an era. after a few stops to prep for the trip ahead, i drove out of provo for the last time. i think i will save waxing nostalgic for another time. it was a good run though. on to bigger and better things.

view from y mountain

watching way too much ncis and law and order this week.

spring-color plum calendar

this is my zuihitsu responding to tamenaga shunsui’s spring-color plum calendar (shunshoku umegoyomi, 春色梅児誉美). it was written as an assignment for my early-modern japanese literature course at brigham young university.

Like my literature class discussed, the modern, Western equivalent of this story is a chick flick, and honestly while I was reading it, I reacted about the same way. I think the following section just put the entire thing over the top:

“I know a young woman who’s ten times prettier and more irresistible than Yonehachi.” “Oh really? Where is she?” “Hey, she’s right here,” Tanjirō said, putting his arm around Ochō and holding her tightly as they walked.

I was alone in my room at the time, but I audibly said, “Oh please,” when I read this. The more I read, the more I thought to myself, “Gosh, this Tanjirō guy is a total pansy.” I have no idea how many times I rolled my eyes during this story. But like we have been taught to do, I want to look a little deeper at my reaction to this story.

In hindsight, I’ve said pretty much that exact same line to a girl, admittedly on multiple occasions. At the time I didn’t say, “Oh please,” because, well, it worked. Now, I could go off on how easy it is to win over some girls with such cheesy lines, but I think it’s more interesting to look at my willingness and desire to do deliver those lines. I’m certain I would be rolling my eyes if I ever read a book about all the stupid, cheesy things I’ve said to and done for girls. Did I do those things just because it worked or am I sincerely a “sensitive” guy? Tanjirō used these tactics multiple times, with two different women! Yet the narrator continually reassures the reader that “his love for [female character’s name here] is as true as [female character’s name here] is for him.” Obviously since he is just a made up character targeted at a female audience, Tanjirō is completely sincere in the story (though to us modern Western readers, he seems like a “player”). The fact that I thought Tanjirō was cheesy and a wimp despite me having acted in similar ways (albeit with questionable sincerity) brings up the interesting question of why I had such a reaction. Was it because Tanjirō was portrayed as being genuinely sincere in his actions and I, as a realistic Western male, knows that no guy is in reality that way? Don’t all Western males complain to each other about having to figure out what to do after procrastinating buying their significant other something for Valentine’s Days? On the other hand, I wonder if this is just a perception that Western males feel compelled to hold by society. Did I just think Tanjirō was a wimp because that’s what our culture tells me I should do, despite the similarities that I grudgingly admit exist between us?

We talked in class about amae and how modern Japanese and American men show the tendency to be more spoiled and dependent on strong female figures. This dependency and need for care is exactly what made Tanjirō so attractive to the characters and the readers. So is this tendency proof of a weakening of men in society, or is it men again conforming to the desires of women just so they can get the girl(s)? As an American guy, I think there are forces pulling from both directions: girls say they want a tough man who can protect them, but they also want him to buy flowers and write love poems. Strangely (in Western readers minds), the women characters in the story saw Tanjirō as both. Tanjirō was completely dependent on these women, yet when Ochō was in trouble, she went running to his arms for safety. I think this is probably the most confusing part of the story for me as a Western male.

During my occasional bitterness over failed relationships, I’ve jokingly subscribed to the Ladder Theory. Basically it says women separate men into two different categories: friends and romantic interests. The theory claims that the intellectual, intelligent, sensitive men are relegated to the friends category and are consigned to being a shoulder to cry on as their women friends complain about the jerk guys they are dating. Tanjirō blows this theory out of the water, at least in regards to Edo period Japanese women and I think if there had only been one woman in his life, the girls in our class would have liked Tanjirō quite a bit more. So my last question is, as a single guy, feeling a bit concerned as I quickly enter the realm of older single Mormons, do I take cues from Tanjirō? The continued popularity of the sensitive male role in chick flicks today seems to indicate yes. I confess a number of times I’ve wished for the awkward, British charm of Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (I mean, it got him Julia Roberts so it must be good, right?). On the other hand we talk about amae being a bad thing for society and men. My grandpa pokes fun at me for not being “manly” enough to keep a girlfriend. I can only conclude that it’s complicated being a guy. To me, Tanjirō exemplifies the contradictions within the expectations for men in our society.

In the end, I’m glad to know that even in a different time and place, it’s a complicated issue. This story was targeted at women and it probably made Edo period men roll their eyes too. If I’ve learned anything from my studying, despite how different early modern Japanese society is in comparison today, the similarities and parallels are all hiding just barely under the surface.

people have the right to not vaccinate their kids, but society then should have the right to cast them out for destroying herd immunity.

just printed off my four free kfc coupons. hurray for free meals!

sad: my blog feed subscribers went down by 60% after i stopped importing my blog into facebook. so they all were just fake. ouch.

eating at charlie hong kongs in santa cruz. chow mein with spicy beef. yum.

well they stopped now. here is a bunch of them though.

well, i’m all out of clean clothes. i guess i better end my road trip now. up the coast to monterey, santa cruz, then into the bay area.

stopping in morro bay for the night. been a really pretty drive up the 1. on to monterrey and the bay area tomorrow. one week of driving!

some lady is walking in on the boardwalk in a wet suit and heels. it’s entertaing to see all the reactions of people as they pass.

wandering down along pacific beach in san diego. sadly it’s overcast and almost a bit chilly.

eating at a hole in the wall mexican restaurant called camancho’s place in el centro. it was recommended by yelp.

just pulled into the Blythe CA motel 6. gosh I’m tired out.

leaving kingman. a couple more hours left to go till Blythe and sleep.

leaving grand canyon. five hour drive now to Blythe CA. sounds like a terribly exciting place.

gave myself $1 on the quarter slots. all gone in 5 spins. sigh, guess I’m just not cut out to be a high roller.

anyone have a recommendation for a cheap but decent place to eat in vegas?

valley got quite hot esp. at badwater. now on towards vegas.

Prev - Archive - Next