Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day After Operation Hail Mary Part II: First Movie in US

Exhausted from the 400m dash, Mson was 80% recovered by the time he reached his destination, where he would meet up w/ fellow CS buddy to go mattress hunting and other fun post-Operation Hail Mary activities.

Some of the activities included:
- Randomly walking up and down Main St for 10 minutes in search for a mattress shop that neither of us wrote down the address or name for
- Spending an hour+ lying on every other bed at the mattress shop
- Walking into high class furniture stores and realizing how nice furniture can be...I have to admit, the furniture were REALLY nice, but not quite sure if I would end up using a $3K table if I had bought one (since I wouldn't wanna risk damaging it)
- Finding a kiddie horse swinging thing that may soon become a resident for my home
- Finding a restaurant and discovering the wonders of Happy Hour
... and the piece de resistance: my first movie in the US!

Here's a picture of the cinema 5 minutes before showtime...

In total, there were 7 ppl (including 2 of us) inside the theatre. The movie had only been playing for 3 days, was supposedly a thriller, but turned out to be a comedy-suspense genre movie. Some scenes were horrifically gory, but did not necessarily advance the plot. There were big holes in the storyline here and there, which made the movie almost comedy like... haha. It did have a twist to it (which I had expected), leading to the climax, but the ending was quite weird. Still I thought it was a nice refreshing movie.

So ends the fun post-Operation Hail Mary day...

Day After Operation Hail Mary Part I: 400m Dash

On this beautiful after Operation Hail Mary, the plan was: go grocery shopping, eat, return rental car, then hop on bus at 1:37pm.

Finishing a brunch of champion at 1:30pm, I set out and saw the bus that I want to go on 24 streets (~2.4 km) down the road... and so began my race with the bus!

I passed the bus w/ the rental car, and had a good 12 streets distance between me and the bus. Pulled into the parking lot, dropped the keys off and started a 400m sprint to the nearest bus stop.

Time of the 400m dash: Not fast enough to catch the bus... I think I just missed the bus by 30 seconds or so, because when I got to the bus stop I saw an elderly lady just crossing the street (indicating she must have just gotten off the bus)...

If only the cop car was not staking out and slowing down all the drivers on the road, I might have been able to give myself a 16 street advantage, and be able to catch the bus!

Lessons learned:
1) Need to start exercising more. Feeling tired after 100m is definitely an indication that I am out of shape.
2) If ever racing a bus again, give self more time.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Operation Hail Mary...

With the recently completed mock tests still below the mark, and the time for learning new words having expired, all hope rested on the outcome of Operation Hail Mary. As the name suggests, if the stars aligned, I might have a chance of getting the mark I need on the test.

On the plus side, in the past few days, it seemed that lady luck had been by my side. A couple days ago, I won a Zune; before that, I unexpectedly got a ticket to attend a company gala and got to eat and drink some delicious food and beer...

And today, I ended up getting a great deal on the rental car :). To complement my external fortunes, I added in a brunch of champion and drank the traditional drink of champions (aka coke...not to be confused with brain juice)... all to boost up my morale in preparation for Operation Hail Mary.

But even with all this, it would still be quite a struggle. Walking into the test center early, I didn't sign in to write the test right away, and chose to wait until it was closer to my designated time. Not feeling at all confident, I just sat down and reviewed my notes, while at the same time, tried to muster up all the concentration and confidence that I can gather. It seemed all too much like a lost cause until out of nowhere, the 'sign' appeared! It was not a godly sign, but it was a sign nevertheless! Needless to say, Operation Hail Mary seemed alot more achievable!

So a grueling 3.5 hours later, I come out. Though there were doubts in the middle that Operation Hail Mary failed, luckily, this was not the case. Operation Hail Mary was a SUCCESS!!! Yay!

Now Mson patiently awaits for positive news from the score of the 3rd part of the test, so he can declare that he has won the war!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Infinity Coupon

Seeing the sunrise due to an academic related activity for the first time in 3 years, it was almost nostalgic... that or I might just be too out of it!

Going to sleep when my landlords woke up, I slept a short 3 hours before I had to get up and get to work. With the help of a 15 min power nap I had on the bus on the way to work, I was surprisingly functional. It also helped to find there was a 2 hour all hands meeting right when I got into work. Not having to think after being self-deprived of sleep does wonders!

In like of these circumstances, and with Dday only a short one day away (which I am definitely not ready for), I decided it was time to power up and utilize the last of my Infinity Coupon*. Happily gorging down the dragon and rainbow rolls and drinking tons of coke allowed me to soldier on until night time.... Hopefully the brain food will make me that much smarter for tomorrow...

*Note: Infinity coupon is the self-coined term for my all-you-can-eat at the cafe coupon. The Infinity Coupon sounds alot cooler than the 'all-you-can-eat at the cafe coupon' don't you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Hunt for Pencils

With D-day coming up in a few days, it was time to gather the necessary tools.

After reading through the web site, I found out that I needed to bring HB pencils and erasers. So began my hunt.

At the first place, I was able to buy pencils. But they didn't sell any pencil sharpeners! Isn't that ridiculous? They sell pencils, but no pencil sharpeners, what a funny store! Anyway, in the end, I had to walk to another mall to buy a pencil sharpener.

**Note: I found this adventure quite humorous. But anyway, apparently I didn't need to bring anything except my ID to the test. Everything was provided... guess my reading comprehension skills are quite lacking!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Company Picnic

After passing the driving test, it was time for some fun @ the company picnic!

But before that, perfect as the car was for the driver's test, it would fare alot worse on the real open road. Since the picnic place is a good 20 miles away, I decided that I would see if I could switch my rental car...which I was able to :).

So with the 'perfect' car back at its home where it belongs, I took the new rental and drove to the picnic grounds. I felt it was a very well organized event. It was very interesting, there were lots of games for kids, and for adults as well. Free drinks and free food. Even got a massage for free! On top of that, I learned how to play crabs (with play money). And to top it off, I also got my fortune told (as always, I am a sucker for these things).. twice!

The only slight minus were the long lines. That and I hurt my arm while riding the bull riding simulator. I fell and landed on my arm, and actually went to the urgent care at the hospital the next day since no doctors work on Sunday. Three hours later, no broken bones, no pulled tendons, just normal pain... phewf!.. but ouch!

Driving Test Adventure

So the day before, I picked up the rental in preparation for the driving test today. There seemed to be something wrong with the engine... the tachometer needle would swing wildly at the lowest speeds, the car struggled to go uphill (and actually slid backwards if I was on an incline with it), and the car couldn't go past 70 mph without shaking like a machine gun (not too surprising since I had to floor it to get up to 50 mph). But all this just meant it was the PERFECT car for me! With all these 'features' in place, I am sure not to go over the speed limit :).

With the perfect car under my arsenal, I went ahead and did the driving portion of my driving test. I was pretty sure I failed since I had hit the curb during my test, but miraculously somehow I got 96/100!... Apparently me hitting a curb while simulating backing out of a driveway after having not understood completely what the tester person was asking me to do doesn't constitute as a big X. What luck!

As I glimpsed at the list of people who went before me this day, it seems that I was the best driver by far (everyone else had a lower mark than me), this with me hitting the curb! :)

But since I am unable to prove that I currently do not reside in a box out on the street, I didn't end up getting the actual picture card from the DMV. But in the system, I have passed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mson's 1st Historic Salad Day

After encountering the shiny, oily, greasy food that seem to appear everywhere, I decided that I will pick up a new habit... that of eating salad. Yes, you heard me right...S-A-L-A-D. A word that you would never hear me say at a restaurant. A kind of dish I would always pass off to another if I could...

But today, I will attempt my first ever voluntarily eating and getting salad experience...

Pic of my 'weak' looking salad:

As expected from a salad noobie, the salad I pieced together resembled nothing like the Kraft cook books. And also, it didn't really have that nice aroma that I'd normally get from a slice of pizza or burger. But a new day, a new experience!

Next Month: Salad Day #2... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brain Boost Req'd

Today I utilized my coupon I got from orientation. Here's an excerpt:
Abbreviations: Lunch Lady = LL

Me: So, I have this coupon, what can I get with it.
LL: Hrm, lemme see. (few seconds later)... Um, anything you want.
Me: Anything I want? So how much can I get with it (pointing to the sushi section)
LL: As much as you want!
Me: REALLY? (eyes wide open)
LL: Lemme see your coupon again. (few seconds later)... Yup, you can get 10 ppl's lunches if you wanted to
Me: Are you serious?
LL: Yes

5 minutes later, Mson walks away w/ enough sushi to make him very happy! :)

So hopefully with this brain power boost, I will be able to do better in my studies. Can't say they are going well right now... 17 days left, and I am still VERY far away!...

Perhaps I should invest in a bottle of high quality brain juice... it is half price here after all! Since obviously, the low grade ones I've been having doesn't seem to be having too much of an effect... that or I could start studying harder... hrmm...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

First Bus Experience

So the 1st week of work has officially come to an end. With that, it also means that I have to say good bye to the rental car.

After getting my bus pass, after work I went on my first bus experience here. It was around 5:30pm, and the first bus I tried to get on had 2 people on it. I ended up not going on it --- not because there was no one on it, but because it was the wrong bus! haha. I had 10+ bus route maps in my hand, and I STILL got on the wrong bus... not to mention the wrong direction!

So after asking the bus driver which bus I should take, I crossed over to the other side of the street and got on the first bus that swung by. That one had 10 ppl on it!... But it did get me home :)

Will be on the bus system for another month or so at least I figure, so let's see if this is usual for this city - to have no one take the bus during rush hour!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day Part II: Fireworks

It's not really a nation's birthday without fireworks! So even though watching fireworks is not one of my 'eager-to-do' activities anymore (I wonder when I will enjoy it once again...), figured with only 2 more days with the rental, it beats sitting at home doing nothing!

The choreography was not all that great, but dam there were alot of gunpowder used!!! 15 minutes of non stop fireworks. If I ever remember to I will upload the 1 minute video of the fireworks. All you hear in the background is balabala (sound of fireworks going off continuously)

Here are some pictures I took using the 'human' tripod (aka my hands). To my surprise, some of them turned out pretty cool! But saw the difference between a photo done with a tripod w/ nice camera, and I guess one day I should invest in a tripod and perhaps get a better camera too if I am serious about snapping high quality pics!... Not to mention I need to learn the basic stuff about photography too! :)

Independence Day Part I: Random Drive

After two days of orientation, I got a day off since its Independence Day! What a way to kick off work.. haha..

It was a beautiful day, and the house was hot. So I decided to drive around and see where it takes me. Driving up to Kirkland, I walked around two small beaches and the view is pretty nice.

Can't believe there are houses where every day they can have such a nice view!

Another thing I found interesting was that the crosswalks had flags. Supposedly, if you wanted to cross the street, you pick up one of these flags, then wave it around while you are crossing, then once you cross the street, place the flag back into slots on the pole. What happened to good old fashioned J-walking? lol

Monday, July 02, 2007

First Day of 'Real' Work

I'd say about 100+ people were here at orientation today. Typical orientation like stuff. Did learn quite a lot about the company though. Nothing too special to report other than I ended the day w/ a visit to the visitor's center and the company store.

I spent at least 5 minutes playing around these two stations. I am such a kid!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My First Churchy Experience

So this morning, invited by me landlord the day before, I went with them to their fellowship to check it out (yes, even though it was bright and early at 9am).

It was pretty interesting, very different than I had imagined. Instead of having some priest talk and talk, they were instead all sitting on normal chairs, and everyone yelled out random things every so often, and then everyone would go 'yaya' or something like that.

So the thing began by everyone having to sing hymns together for an hour, then a break, then sang more. After that, the people split into groups and went into little rooms. In there, it felt sort of like high school english class - everyone would sit around in a circle, flip to a page in their book with two lines on it, then try to interpret and decipher it. This goes on for about an hour. Today's perspective was very peculiar.. haha. All this talk about conforming and not taking the lead. A very different viewpoint indeed... interesting nevertheless... even more interesting if people debated I think (but I don't think that was the point of the circle gathering).

Then lunch! A pot-lucked style lunch, with little kids running around and everyone helping each other out. Kinda interesting - reminds me of those big picnics I used to have wayyyy back.

To me, I think I got the most out of the sitting around in a circle part and the break. Not quite sure what the purpose of the singing hymn thing was for... hrmmm....