About Me

(edit: 1/19/2007) – I’ve been using the same "About Me" page for over a decade now. It’s probably been obsolete for more than half of that time now, and my objective now is to write something timeless.

Background

I was born in 1977, in Long Beach, California. My parents are both from Taiwan. I lived the first 18 years of my life in Los Alamitos, CA.

I met Illie in college. She was the very first, and the only girlfriend I’ve ever had. After dating for four years, we got married on June 10th, 2004.

Academic

I attended Hopkinson Elementary School grades kindergarten through 5th, then McAuliffe Middle School grades 6 to 8, and Los Alamitos High School grades 9 through 12.

During my senior year of high school, I took advanced math at Long Beach State.

After high school, I chose Williams College for undergrad, majoring in Computer Science. Afterwards, I finished a Masters in Computer Science at Brown University, and did my thesis work in streaming databases.

Interests

Languages

Since around college, I became somewhat interested in linguistics. After leaving to a somewhat foreign environment (rural New England), I realized that my identity has been greatly defined by my background and the way I was raised. Partially because of the isolation and my interest in self-discovery, I gained an interest in Chinese/Taiwanese culture and language.

My first language was Taiwanese, and I didn’t get out of ESL until second grade. I learned Spanish from ages 13 to 17, and I took two years of Chinese Mandarin in college. I’m conversationally competent in Taiwanese and Mandarin, and would love to achieve more fluency in Spanish. I can probably understand about 50% of an average newspaper article written in Chinese, depending on the subject. To my regret, I’ve stopped studying Chinese after graduate school, and my Spanish has greatly deteriorated.

Athletics

I love almost every sport. Tennis, badminton, baseball, basketball, football, you name it.

Since high school, I became interested in endurance sports. While I don’t excel by any means, at least my height and stature is not a competitive disadvantage in running and cycling as in other sports.

After cycling from Rossmoor to San Diego with a friend in 1996, I became very interested in cycling. During college breaks, I’d cycle about 50 miles a day several times a week, from Rossmoor to Irvine (and back).

Later on, I became interested in running. Marathons have included the 2004 LA Marathon, 2006 Chicago Marathon, 2008 LA Marathon, and 2009 St George Marathon. My best marathon time was 3:13, at St George 2009, and my best half marathon time was a 1:32:06 at Carlsbad 2009.

Artistic

I started doing portait art at about age 15, exclusively using color pastels. Portrait art is especially challenging because the brain has specialized receptors in order to recognize faces. As a result, small inaccuracies in proportion, size, and position translate to huge differences in the way the face is perceived. I especially enjoy the challenge of minimizing these accuracies and getting the right colors.

I’ve won a couple art shows at my age group, I’ve done work for the Mayor of Los Alamitos. I’ve also sold one drawing. Though, I don’t really keep it up. My plan is to restart this hobby when I retire.

A gallery of my work, mostly from around 2003-2004.

Diet

I’ve followed a strict vegan diet since late 2001. In the fall of 2001, Illie introduced me Food Revolution, and later on Diet for a New America. After reading those books and several discussions with Illie, I no longer desired meat, dairy, eggs, or using leather.

Programming

I became interested in computers since my family inherited an IBM PC 8088 from my uncle back in around 1988.

Starting in 1992, I ran bulletin board system, running at 2400 baud. By the time I closed it after graduating from high school, it was a two-line, networked system running on a multi-tasking software on top of DOS, with over 1000 users. Some of the first programming I ever did was modding the software in C.

Since college internships at Microsoft and GTE Research Labs, I’ve focused on server-side and client-side web-development. I’ve been in software development ever since.

Useless, Quirky Stuff

Ambidextrous – I learned how to write with my left hand, back in 1997.
Pencil-twirling – probably about three or four tricks. I can twirl with both hands.
Memorizing PI – peaked at about 500 digits in high school, but right now 200 reside in long-term memory.
Memorizing morse code – in preparation for the end of the world.
MUDding – heroed in Copper, nearly heroed in Sojourn, and then heroed in Lunar Eclipse.

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