Lost my digital camera

I arrived to Los Alamitos late Thursday night. Illie’s family had events planned on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Christmas).

I decided to cycle out there. It’s normally a one-hour drive (from North OC out to San Bernardino County), and last time I rode my bike I think it took about five to six hours.

Honestly it was kind of a stupid thing to do. The bike hasn’t been maintained for three years, and I can’t even remember how old the air tubes are. The tires were flat, and I got up at 5am and walked to the nearest gas station and put air into them, and then took off.

About exactly halfway there, at around 7:30am, the back tire went flat up a steep hill. I sat at an intersection for almost an hour, waiting for my mom to pick me up. I accidentally left my digital camera there, so now I don’t have one. Pretty disappointed about that, the canon was a pretty good camera.

frustrating last week, a fun bike ride, and a trip to La Porte…

last week was a long week.

I’ve been working on custom reporting software for the Department of Education, which happens to be very complex. The implementation consultant who wrote the specification has very little experience in writing specs in the way it’s done in our group. Her lack of experience complicated things, but it was mostly bad because she’s located in Alexandria. It was an ordeal to clear up the ambiguity in the spec, work with the implementation consultant in details of pseudocoding, and develop the reporting software with absolutely no useful data to test on.

Usually when I develop to a spec of this magnitude, completing the job to a reasonable extent would take me about a week. This time it took me about one and a half weeks to finish a fraction of the work, and it’s completely untested because there’s no data. I don’t take it well when I work so inefficiently. Maybe I’m too impatient.

My coworkers and Illie witnessed my horrible mood because of this. They were very understanding about it.

On Friday, while I was still in a bad mood, the CEO of the company came by and we went out to a bar for lunch. It happened to be the day of the White Sox World Series championship parade. It was about three blocks away from the parade route. The fans that couldn’t see the parade came into the bar and watched it on TV Kids got the day off from school because of it. Adults in Sox t-shirts and uniforms were guzzling beer and cheering loudly. It was funny to watch so many happy people. I was probably the only unhappy person there. The CEO talked business later on, and I nearly fell asleep. Maybe I should be more interested in the business details, but for now all I’m preoccupied with is doing my job right.

Anyway I left work and finally remembered to join the Chicago Critical Mass. It was such a fun experience, cycling around Chicago with like-minded people who eschew vehicular transportation for something a lot cheaper and healthier. It was especially surprising to me that the motorists that were honking and supporting us outnumbered the motorists that were genuinely pissed off. I saw some collisions, but I think there were some cyclists that were just trying to cause trouble.

The group was very diverse. It was very festive. There were lots of cyclists wearing halloween costumes, other cyclists on tandem bikes where the people in the back were playing instruments, and a couple of cyclists with speakers mounted on their bikes with music playing. I saw some serious bike riders, a parent with their kid in the back, and even serious-looking cyclists decked out in racing uniforms. We were all going at a leisurely pace, of course. And my guess is that there over a thousand people at this event. Illie’s now very interested in trying this out next month.

I came home happy and excited.

Saturday morning we drove to La Porte, Indiana to visit Illie’s cousins. Their daughter Esther was celebrating her third birthday on Saturday. Peak fall. Beautiful trees, especially maple. I miss seeing trees here in downtown. We spent the morning with Scott walking around a lake and downtown bucolic La Porte. I can see myself living there in the future.

Esther really likes me a lot. Every time I see them I spend a lot of time playing with her. It takes a lot of energy though.

After the party ended, aunt Grace and uncle Frank arrived from Indianapolis. They’re one of my favorite in-laws. I enjoy their company a lot.

Kristina and Scott (the cousins-in-law) treated us to a bed-and-breakfast at Arbor Hill Inn. It was beautiful. Reminded me a lot of the berkshires in New England, especially with the peak fall colors. The actual room we stayed in was probably the nicest place we’ve stayed in. They had a jacuzzi, a raised bed, and great decor. And the breakfast this morning was some of the best that Illie’s ever had. She was thinking about it for the whole day.

Anyway, we got back before noon. I hadn’t exercised since Wednesday so I ran for four miles and swam for about a thousand yards in the gym. What a satisfying weekend – one of the best I’ve had in a long time.

a delayed post

I haven’t really felt like writing anything here recently. No good reason.

So what’s new … not much really. I IM with friends all the time, I’m always being asked “what’s new?” My standard answer – “same old same old”. I guess that’s a good thing, right? stability? No drama …

Illie and I went to Urbana-Champaign again to visit Willie and Grace. They did the usual slave-in-the-kitchen-for-3-hours to cook us some great food. This time it was Chinese food. sorry, no pictures. I didn’t bring the camera.

It was nice to see trees on the way down there though. I barely see any trees on any day, living in a downtown that’s completely paved over.

So Illie and I watched 10 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy during the weekend. I found out that Illie’s actually really knowledgeable about medicine, since she was able to explain (and diagnose, even!) a lot of the things that were going on in the show.

and then on the work-related front, I’ve finally finished a complete suite of MSOffice reporting infrastructure code for work. Now our custom reporting suite can handle the complex MSWord/MSExcel/plain html output that the Dept. of Education requires …

Suhas’ wedding, meeting up with some old HS friends

Saturday was a blast — all day long. I enjoyed every minute of it. Definitely worth flying back for. I think that when good friends live so far away and that I only see them once, twice a year, I really value the time I have with them when we actually do meet. And their company is some of the best time I have every year.

After attending Chuck Hammond’s portrait art workshop, Randy picked me up and I had lunch at a pizza place near the new Target. It’s really sad to see a lot of the old shops disappearing from Rossmoor center, only to be replaced by the McMalls/national chains. But Randy and I contributed to the disappearing of the old-town feel by going to the new pizza place and the hallmark across from Los Al Blvd.

Afterwards Randy and I played a bit of tennis. That was fun. I haven’t played tennis since I last played with Randy when he visited.

William biked from Pomona to Corona, picked up a new NG van that he bought, and then drove it to Los Alamitos. We met up at his house and then met Amy and her boyfriend Dik in Seal Beach. It was almost like a reunion. I can’t remember when the last time was when the four of us were together. I don’t think any of us have changed physically — I bet we could all still pass for high school students.

Unfortunately the four of us could only spend an hour together. We had to get ready for Suhas’ reception.

We were fashionably (ie: 40 minutes) late for the start of the reception. William and Randy are both perceiving types in the Myer’s Briggs, which means that they’re not as anally preoccupied with arriving to things on time the way judging people like me are. I used to get so incredibly wound up over their habitual lateness to everything. They’ve really trained me well in taking it in stride. 🙂

Anyway when we got there we were right in time for the grand entrance of the couple. We stole a picture of the couple before we were rushed into the reception area.

We saw Peter Jeong, Robert Jetty, Jack Opkins, and Mike Moore there. I last saw Jack and Robert back in high school. Peter and Mike are now successfully employed and married, it seems that Robert and Jack are engaged and also doing really well. They’ve all settled in southern California near where we grew up. It’s amazing how people change and yet they still stay the same.

I didn’t expect to be sitting front row. I think we were sitting there because Mike was one of Suhas’ groomsman, and it was fitting that we sit with him since we’re all Suhas’ high school groupies. The reception started with about an hour of performances; most of them ethnic Indian dances and songs. It’s my first ethnic-Indian wedding.