Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/ChrisWKwan/NewYork010209Fb?feat=directlink

  • Ted left at 5 or 6am
  • Checked out of Murray Hill at 12:30pm
  • Ate lunch at Whole Foods cafe (had an assortment of all natural vegetarian foods – pastas and fake meats and leftover bak choi and dou mew from Simon’s family dinner)
  • Checked into Jazz on the Town hostel, lugging luggage to the 4th floor is not fun – place seems nice though – 3 Austrialian guys are also in the room
  • Washington Square Park, saw Washington Arch
  • Times Square: Planet Hollywood, Simon got new NY Pass, tried to get Spamalot tickets but only balcony available
  • Penn Station/Madison Square Garden
  • Train to Newark to see NJ Devils hockey game vs. Montreal Canadiens
  • Dinner at Newark Penn Station (Italian hero sub from Zaro’s?)
  • Got free Devils ski caps on way in
  • Seats in very top row, moved way closer, almost ice level during 3rd period
  • Devils won 4-1
  • Train back to Penn station NY
  • Bought 6 mini cinnabons at station to split
  • Back at hostel now

Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/ChrisWKwan/NewYork010109Fb?feat=directlink

  • Rockefeller Center to try and get tickets, sold out so we got for Saturday
  • Took pics of big tree and skating pond
  • Nintendo World was closed 😦
  • Magnolia Bakery to mac on some cupcakes! (Red velvet + New Years special)
  • MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) for half an hour – huge wall display of video of naked woman rolling around and nature stuff
  • Battery Park / Castle Clinton for Liberty/Ellis Island Cruise
  • Walked up 156 stairs of the Statue of Liberty monument
  • No more cruises to Ellis Island, took boat back to NY, realize that Simon left his backpack in the locker on Liberty Island!
  • Simon takes ferry back and ends up going to Ellis Island instead
  • Nate goes back to hotel for a nap
  • Ted and Chris take bus to seaport area to have crepes (Chris got nasty caviar crepe) and see Bodies exhibit
  • Like Body Worlds but more focused on info, no angel wings, human drawers, or 3 headed camel
  • Dinner with Simon’s many relatives in restaurant in Chinatown
  • Go back home to settle Ted’s bill in the lobby with wifi
  • Chris and Simon plan next day and write meeting reports

Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/ChrisWKwan/NewYork123108Fb?feat=directlink

  • 9am M45? bus to Pier 83? to buy Circle line cruise tickets
  • 10am Circle Line 2hr cruise around the city (Metropolis of Superman and Gotham City of Batman were both filmed in different areas of New York)
  • Breakfast on the ship (had a part of Ted’s danish)
  • Bus to Times Square
  • Lunch at Nanking (Hakka style noodles with chicken and pinapple fried rice)
  • Subway to pick up subs for Times Square (since we would be standing around for 6+ hours without food)
  • Avenue Q – picked up tickets and watched the show – fantastic!  Very funny songs! Realized that a bunch of those popular YouTube videos used Avenue Q songs.
  • Group uses Avenue Q bathroom, they converted the men’s bathroom to unisex to ease the women’s line
  • Met up with Simon’s friend SiSi
  • Walked down streets trying to get into Times Square but it kept getting blocked off, police told people to walk down to 59th? (but that’s Central Park!) to get in
  • Nate talked to a policeman about how to get in.  The policeman said Happy New Year and actually let us through! (so we didn’t have to walk all the way to Central Park)!
  • 7+ hours standing in cold at Times Square! 4:30pm to 12:30am!!
  • It was a mega dance party!
  • Freezing cold – put plastic bags over my socks and into my shoes, Sisi put hats on as shoes, so did Nate, Simon and I used a trash bag as a blanket for our legs
  • Sat on pizza boxes and hats
  • Got 2009 and Kanye style shutter shades earlier
  • Free Nivea New Years hats
  • Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers on screen
  • Saw Bill and Hillary Clinton walk by!
  • On 47th? st good view of the ball (a bunch of LEDs and crystals)
  • Countdowns every hour to ex: “5 hours remaining” :-p
  • 5 4 3 2 1 Happy New Year!
  • Walked back to SiSi’s apartment to “defrost and wait for trains to settle down”
  • Sisi made instant hot and sour soup
  • Watched Jay Leno there
  • Picked up Siciliano panini (prociutto, mozarella, arugula) at deli, ate half for “dinner”
  • Subway back to hotel
  • Journaling now :-p
  • 8:30am Bolt bus from Boston to New York
  • Arrived at 2pm instead of 12:45pm because they closed down 2 lanes on the highway + traffic
  • Lunch with Simon, Ted, and Nate at Tick Tock Diner (I got Tick Tock Kobe Beef Burger on Rye + Steak Fries) 
  • Checked into Murray Hill Hostel – roomed with Ted
  • Museum of Natural History – cool dinosaurs + other prehistoric animals, giant whale model
  • New York Pass – awesome! (it was about $170 for 7 days of free admission to 40+ attractions, we probably would have spent $300+ without it)
  • Tried to get Blue Man Tickets but no luck
  • Tried TKTS booth – no luck (rude dude closed the window on me)
  • Tried off-broadway “The Perfect Crime” but that too was sold out!
  • Dinner at Planet Hollywood – we get $10 free to spend there with New York Pass everyday (Carbonera, Zuchini fries, slider, “Pretty in Pink” drink – very girly drink with pinapple, coconut flavors)
  • Explored Grand Central Station
  • Back to Hotel to plan tomorrow
  • Booked Avenue Q tickets

I’m going to New York tomorrow to meet up with some Microsoft friends from over the summer.  I’m not bringing a computer but I’ll be taking photos and trying to keep a little paper notebook of the stuff we do so I’ll try to blag about it when I come back.  For now, here are some pictures from the Wikipedia entry for New York City to try out this photoblog WordPress theme some more.

 

New York Midtown Skyline

New York Midtown Skyline

NYC old timey

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Steven (and of course Alison), I have been spending my break so far performing amateur surgery and defending a village of ninjas

In other news, WordPress has so pretty snazzy built-in themes.  I’ll probably be trying a bunch of them out.  Let me know if there are ones you particularly love or hate.

With winter break beginning now and studying abroad in Shanghai coming up, I’m going to try and keep this blog updated more regularly.  Stay tuned!

Saturday 6/7/08

  • Still fighting with rents from the night before
  • Decided to spend the extra $25 to check both of my bags
  • Right before the security check, I had to part ways with my dad, mom, and sister. We all made up and mom was crying when she hugged me goodbye. I found myself trying really hard to hold back tears and then actually crying too
  • My bulky backpack actually fit under the Northwest seats
  • Flight from Boston to St. Paul, MN: I was in the aisle seat, a woman was in the window seat, nobody in the middle seat; a lot of elderly people on the flight going on some big group trip
  • Flight from St. Paul to Seattle: Only had a few minutes to get on the flight coming from the other; window seat, got some reading done
  • Got both of my luggages from Carousel 8 almost immediately when I got to it
  • Went to AVIS to pick up my rental; a Jeep Compass was the smallest car they had left
  • Jeep is a reasonably big car that only holds 5 people; silver
  • Drove on a Seattle highway, whoo! Found my way to the apartment complex where I had to pick up my keys without getting too lost thanks to my GPS and the printed directions.
  • Met a fellow MS intern who pointed me towards the key pickup.
  • Key pickup was actually just a closet with a locked door that required a code. I suppose I could have stolen everybody else’s keys.
  • Drove to my actual apartment complex; like driving around in a maze, buildings go from A to ZZ.
  • Finally found my apartment and went inside; it is nice!
  • 3 bedrooms (1 being a master suite with a king-size mattress, walk-in closet, and private bathroom, which I promptly took being the first one here; other two bedrooms each have a closet built into the wall and two twin beds each (weird)); laundry room/closet with washer, dryer, and shelves; kitchen area with stove, dishwasher, fridge, pantry closet, oven, sink, coffee machine, and cupboards with pots, pans, and various utensils; dining table underneath a fan with lights; on top of table was a green gift box from ABODA (the company in charge of this apartment) which we found contained some snacks, water, teas, and a couple of maps of Seattle; a living room area connected to the kitchen which has a brown suede love seat, a brown comfy chair, fire place, lamps, tv, dvd player, and wireless router; a small outdoor patio area with a storage room
  • Bummed around for a little bit looking at google maps to find some nearby restaurants or stores; found a Trader Joe’s nearby
  • Walked across the street to Microsoft (its really close!) to find that it was where the loading docks were; walked a bit around – nice looking campus
  • Took a drive around some nearby streets – found a bunch of stores of all types, like Circuit City, drug stores, super markets, a movie theater, and a bunch of teriyaki places
  • Got to Trader Joes a little before 9, when they close; bought everything (like the bagel) flavored pretzel crisps, snap pea crisps, an instant lo mein noodle box (no water required), a frozen chicken with Gorgonzola cheese dinner, a box of 6 lemon and marrionberry muffins, and a bottle of half ice tea half lemonade.
  • Went back home and ate everything except for the chicken for dinner.
  • Watched tv and bummed around for a bit before going to sleep at around 12.

Sunday 6/8/08

  • Woke up at around 8.
  • Got a call from the family soon after – nice to hear from them.
  • Bummed around on the computer, worked on paper a bit.
  • Had a muffin and crisps for lunch.
  • Showered and back to computer.
  • First roommate: Ted from U Toronto, 20, rising senior, arrived at 3ish
  • Left note for third roommate on floor
  • Drove to Timberlawn Apartment complex to check key pickup closet to see if the other roommate was arriving today – we did not see anybody with our address
  • Went driving around to the streets I saw yesterday.
  • Drove into Microsoft Campus – there is a section that borders the Honeywell Company and they have a sign that says “No Microsoft vehicles allowed”.
  • Drove around and found my Building – campus is pretty huge.
  • Came back home, went on computer, and watched Superhero Sunday marathon on tv, X-Men and X-Men 2 were playing
  • Ordered Hawaiian Pizza with Buffalo Chicken kickers and Cinna sticks from Dominos for dinner
  • Passing out during X-Men 2, went to sleep at around 11

Monday 6/9/08

  • Woke up around 8
  • Bummed around on computer and had cinnasticks, which we did not eat last night, for breakfast
  • Walked across the street and then some to Microsoft campus to find the building we would be going to tomorrow – took about 15-20 mins
  • Contemplating not getting a rental car since work is so close and there seem to be a lot of bus stops around town
  • Looked at maps to find nearby Safeway (supermarket) and AT&T store (Ted needed a US sim card)
  • Made grocery list of edibles and non-edibles
  • Drove to AT&T store and then Safeway
  • Spent almost $200 on groceries (196 something at first but went down to 165ish after we joined the Safeway club)
  • Found a nearby RiteAid and bought some Tupperware and dishcloths
  • Drove home and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch
  • Went on computers, I worked on my essay some more, talked to Jill on the phone about China stuff
  • Ted made Alfredo pasta from packets for dinner; we also had some baby carrots and lemonade
  • Right now typing this all up on the computer
  • 3rd roommate has not showed up yet at this point
  • Oh yeah and it was raining like all day, geez Seattle
  • It does stay light here pretty late though – at 8pm it was like the morning, only now as it is nearing 9pm has the sky darkened.

As I finished watching Episode 35 of Death Note (which is an amazing anime btw – highly recommended!) the preview for Episode 36 came on and revealed that the episode title would be “1.28” in reference to that particular date. In real time (EST), today is 1/27, meaning tomorrow will be 1/28! Whoa! This is the second crazy time-coincidence that I’ve had while watching Death Note. The first was during an earlier episode that had a time display in one scene. As I watched the scene, I glanced quickly at my computer taskbar to check the real time and aaaah both times were 4:37 (or some other time, but they were the same!) Crazy.

deathnote_1-28preview.png

I really should be working on my project, but here is a quick tangent on some application launchers I tried out.

Find And Run Robot – (launches with Ctrl + Space by default)

  • Pros: Simple, easy to use interface with small icons; low resource usage; free
  • Cons: Searches can take a long time for programs/files not accessed recently; no keywords/other operations besides finding and running.

Dash Command – (launches with Ctrl + Dash by default)

  • Pros: Pretty interface, smooth animation; customizable commands
  • Cons: Not free

Launchy – (launches with Alt + Space by default)

  • Pros: Beautiful yet simple interface (sort of like Dash Command) with pictured icons; speedy search; very customizable; other features like web searching and calculations, free
  • Cons: Heavy resource consumption, upwards of 90% CPU usage, my fan almost immediately quiets down significantly when I end the Launchy process.

Keybreeze – (launches with ; by default) – what I am using right now

  • Pros: free, simple no-frills interface without icons, very fast, very customizable with a plethora of keyboards (very easy to add your own to the presets), many additional features including website launching, web searches, calculations, and sticky-notes; very low resource consumption.
  • Cons: default hot-key is a bit convenient for someone who programs :-], but this is easy to change (I changed it to Ctrl + ; ); the indexing that Keybreeze does does not seem to be as comprehensive as that of the other programs, but keywords can be easily added.