calteach week 5

I brought my new postal scale to Calteach today on a whim, which was good because Lynn (NSF GK12) was having trouble setting up her demonstration and so Kevin Paulsen (the teacher) had me give an impromptu presentation to stall the kids. After class, he and Lynn tod me that I did a really good job. Kevin said that it takes three things to be a good teacher: knowledge (“which you have, UCLA grad”), a connection to the kids (“which you demonstrate from your interactions with them”) and presence. He told be that I have a huge presence (even though I’m small) such that the kids know to listen when I talk, and pay attention, etc. He said that if I went into teaching, that would be my strongest trait because nobody would ever want/tell me to leave. Paulsen said to really consider teaching because I could go far with it.

Also when Lynn was having issues with her experiment (reaction times vs concentrations) I suggested diluting the concentration she knew worked (0.1 M) into the two lesser concentrations that were giving us trouble (0.05 and 0.02 M) so then the demonstration would be sure to make sense and not trip out. Originally the three concentrations of the same solution came from three different sources, and weren’t in agreement. She didn’t seen to understand at first but when I explained it more clearly she was so surprised and seemed to think it was genius.

best macarons

My favorite macarons in LA are the coffee ones from La Provence Patisserie. And my favorite macarons in Seattle are the orange ganache ones from Le Panier.

Yesterday Stanley and I decided to impromptu-ly go to Cheesecake Factory and get some cheesecake. But we also wanted to watch a movie. So we went to the restaurant in Brentwood and took two slices (Hershey’s and Kahlua) to go and brought them home. When I was parking behind the restaurant, I realized we were in the plaza where La Provence was, so I dropped by the cafe to get my macaron fix. I haven’t had them from there in a long, long time… they’re on the pricier side ($1.90) but also a little bit bigger than average. On our way upstairs to the place, I excitedly repeated to Stanley like six times how they were my favorites in LA and that they were sooooo good… and then after I bought them and he took a bite, he looked at me and said, “Wow, they are really good!” TOTALLY YES. Training my man, one bite of dessert at a time.

And then we got the cheesecake and came home and watched Gedo Senki. It looked familiar but I couldn’t remember the plot… turns out I watched it a long, long time ago. And the reason why I couldn’t remember the plot was because it barely has one. I think I said this before but Miyazaki-the-younger is not as cool as Miyazaki-the-older. And I decided that Cheesecake Factory cheesecake is totally not worth it. $8/slice, and not mouthwateringly delicious is a no-no.

I GOT As IN MY GRAD CLASSES! But ironically am still waiting for my undergrad math class, which I was the most worried about to begin with. But unless I failed way worse that I could’ve expected, I still have an above 3.0 GPA which means no academic probation for me! Yay!

Also I’m really excited to start my 365 project in January.


Looking back on my senior year of high school, I know exactly who I would choose to be my first boyfriend. Instead of the scrawny Korean boy I amazed with my blunt honesty, I would have preferred to share my first kiss with someone else, I think. Not that the relationship was terrible nor useless, but I would have gained more and felt more with somebody else. And I’ve finally decided who.

This one was as honest as one can get. Maybe it was naivete, but is that so bad? He was sweet without thinking about it, because it was in his nature to care for those who helped him. He accepted me and gladly took what I offered. He always said what was on his mind, even if he wasn’t sure what it meant. It may have seemed feminine to others, but he analyzed his own thoughts until they were clarified. He was the most enthusiastic person I had ever met, and it was contagious. Now that I look back, I feel like I was blind to not have seen the entire possibility. I feel sad to remember that the night before I left the country, we had made a connection. I remember almost telling him that I wished we had more time to talk, but I didn’t say anything because it was too late anyway.

I read in an article today that when we sleep, our brain takes away the things that it decides are useless. These include dull activities that aren’t mentally or emotionally stimulating. The mind deletes the things that cannot help make one’s future decisions. It doesn’t necessarily keep things real, but rather molds them into what seems the most practical.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s possible and likely that my memories are biased and actually, this guy was an idiot who didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. He may have been an annoying klutz that never said anything appropriate. But what I now retain in my memory, and what has now been transcribed to this blog, is the new truth as defined by my brain, four years in the making.

Reference and reference, thanks to Stacy.

on my way

Big update on my life aka Making decisions about the Future:

A couple weeks ago, I decided that I would apply for graduate school this fall. Maybe for some it seems like an obvious decision, but I’ve always had problems deciding what I really want to do, and whether or not it’ll really make me happy. It’s important that I do something I enjoy, you see, because I don’t want to end up wasting years of my life on something that doesn’t satisfy me.

Okay well it’s not that big of a decision to apply, but the big deal is that I’m going to apply to primarily Industrial/Product design programs. I’m not leaving out engineering just yet, as I’ve looked into a couple of fun-sounding Masters programs (Sustainable Energy Technology @ Delft U, the Netherlands) and still want to give it a chance. I’m not considering any PhD programs, because I don’t think I can handle more than three more years of school. But I am definitely considering out-of-country schools (I’ve been wanting to study abroad since forever).

I started with this list of top design and business schools. I cut out the business schools (because my plan is to become a starving successful artist) and have been doing research on the rest of the schools. Things like, when applications are due, what kind of portfolio is required, how many recs are needed, if I need to be fluent in Portuguese… Right now, my list is 22 universities long. After combing through it one more time, I’ll post the considerations and keep thinking.

I think I’ll be riding on the excitement of actually doing what I want to do for the next couple months. It feels great, and I love it. :)


So for the last two months, the fridge in our apartment has been broken. Sick. Dying. Symptoms were as follows:
– icicles in the refrigerator
– melting ice in the refrigerator (What??)
– half frozen ice cream (gelato consistency)
– smelled like shit and febreeze (the latter was my own faulty solution)
– bad vegetables in three days
– dried out everything
– it was a POS

At least the freezer froze meat. But for the most part, we used the freezer as a fridge and the fridge as a compost.

It got to the point where the refrigerator wasn’t even cold when we opened the door. I borrowed ice packs from Stanley and put them in my fridge, ice box style. They melted in half a day, so I put them back in the freezer to re-freeze. They took four days to freeze. What the crap.

It was ruining our lives. So we decided to do something about it. Here is where things get exciting! After surfing/responding to ads on Craigslist, we decided it’d be too difficult and inconvenient to buy one off someone and have to take care of transportation. So we went to Home Depot and found the cheapest one, $399. But it was out of stock, so the guy told us to get this other Energy Star one, that was $449 with 10% off (for being Energy Star), so we were like, sure. And so we were following through with payment, and accepting Home Depot’s free delivery…the guy mentions that California is doing this cool Cash for Appliances thing, where anybody who buys a new Energy Star fridge and recycles their old one gets $200! So we’re like, WOW AWESOME. That’s like buying a new fridge for $200, which was the average price for used ones on Craigslist! So then we say HELL YES and continue on with our transaction. And the guy who’s ringing us up says, “Hey, btw, if you’re with LADWP, they’re also doing a rebate right now for customers who buy new energy saving refrigerators and recycle their old ones. Not sure how much you get, though, so look it up online.” So we look it up online and it’s a $100 rebate! Which means our fridge will only cost us $100! And w’re like, sweeeet. And then we check our receipt and the fridge we thought was $449 was actually $399! So assuming all our rebates go through…

$399 – 10% + tax – $200 – $100 = $95!

If we sell our fridge after a year for anything more than $100, it’s like WE’RE getting PAID to use the refrigerator! Which is fantastic. Which I love. It’s amazing. I’m really excited to eat ice cream and vegetables again. It’s been way too long.

Also, I got a tumblr, which I’m still trying to figure out (like, do I want to update both twitter and tumblr? Or just one?) but for the most part, I’m using it as a phone blog. Miniature snapshots of my really interesting life. Yeah. Okay. NEW REFRIGERATOR MAKES ME SO HAPPY


Let’s start with some history: Last July, I decided I would learn how to type in Dvorak. I knew it would be hard, because of my being forced to type in QWERTY on school computers, etc., but I persevered, and a year later (which is now), I type at a consistent 95 WPM. My speed with QWERTY previously had been about 105 WPM for a long, long time. So 95 is really not too shabby for just one year of practice.

If I had read the full wiki page on Dvorak last year, I may have reconsidered my attempt to be nerdy/unique. You see, I registered for the GRE last week. The GRE is a computer-based test. There are two essay questions on the GRE. The GRE does not allow test takers to type in Dvorak.

Unfortunately, it was too difficult for me to keep up my QWERTY while learning Dvorak. This morning, I attempted a typing test with QWERTY, and averaged 25 WPM with 85% accuracy. Immediately afterwards, I performed the same test in Dvorak, with a result of 95 WPM and 95% accuracy. Now, it’s time to somehow eliminate my muscle memory, at least temporarily, until I take the GRE in mid-September. I’ll only be typing in QWERTY from now until then.

I hope my Dvorak speed/skill doesn’t just disappear after a month. Because that would totally suck.

(Good-ish news: I’ve been in QWERTY all day, and just took the test again and got 50 WPM with 90% accuracy. This blog was also typed in QWERTY, and I only blanked out on words/letters a few times.)

mech e

I wasn’t going to blog so soon after that last one, but today was an awesome lecture day, despite my first prof being annoyed that none of us were participating and my second prof being flustered about having her notes mixed up. It was awesome because the material that I’m learning in the two classes I had today (150A – Intermediate Fluid Dynamics and 105D – Transport Phenomena) matched up almost perfectly. In fact, I really turned to Yuko during 105D and said, “Mechanical engineering is awesome!” during class. So just to share my (almost sudden) amazing appreciation for the concentration, here are pages from my notes from today!

This is from 105D! We just started a new topic today, convection, and it’s really crazily similar to fluid dynamics. Because the way that convection (conduction + advection) works is through bulk motion, which is generally caused by the flow of some fluid or other mass.

This is from 150A! Actually these are my notes from last week, but today we just went into deriving formulas so there weren’t any cool diagrams. Look at the velocity profile in the middle! It’s exactly (almost) the same as the one from 105D! Also, check out that airfoil. It’s SO REAL.

In 150A today we basically derived the definition of viscosity (via the viscous stress tensor) and in 105D we’re doing other things like temperature/concentration gradients and stuff, but they’re both talking about the same thing. They’re both just solving the boundary layer conditions between the surface of an object and a free stream. I love how applicable these things are. It’s fantastic.

Okay, that’s all. I’m done nerding it up, now it’s time for my third nap of the day. (I am sick and I have a midterm on Wednesday. I’m cutting three classes tomorrow to sleep and study, woot.) Oh yeah and sorry that the photo quality sucks, but I was really excited to blog today, haha.


My mom bought of of those six-pack things of chicken thighs from Costco. But don’t be decieved – each pack had 4 thighs in it. Intense, right? As a result, I got a few quick tips on cooking chicken. I love this fast-paced photographed spur of cooking lessons from my mom, they’re really funny. But I digress!

When you wash it, be sure to get rid of the yellow junk stuck on the skin and (if you want) the big chunks of fat. Cutting them off with a pair of meat-designated scissors works best. Sometimes there are bits of the feather stems stuck on the skin as well, they come off easily. Pat dry before doing anything to it.

That day, we were preparing the chicken for a BBQ, so we marinated it in a mixture of pepper, garlic powder, and soy sauce for as long as you want. (The stronger/longer you marinate it for, the more flavorful it’ll be, duh.) Those are the three easiest ingredients to marinate with (for Asian-style foods). For cooking chicken atop a stove, they can also be cooked plain, relying on the natural taste/flavor of the chicken. In a pan, put them skin-side-down to use the chicken meat’s natural oil instead of using “EVOO” (haha). In an oven, place the chicken skin-side-up, so that the heat from the top of the oven doesn’t dry out the chicken as much. In an oven, cook time is about 30-45 minutes, while stovetop deliciousness can be ready in 20-30 minutes (chicken cooks relatively quickly).

I also got directions from my mom on how to cook hong shao ji (紅燒雞), which is definitely one of my favorite things to eat at home. First, just put the (clean) raw chicken skin side down in a pan/pot. Wait for it to brown slightly, then flip. (Leave it not completely cooked so that it doesn’t get overcooked during part two.) Add soy sauce and water (to looks) to cover the chicken half way in the pan/pot. Keep it at medium heat for at least 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to what looks normal. (Haha, normal to me, at least.) Serve, and save the sauce because it is super delicious mixed with rice 😀

For chicken soup, the Chinese way… first let a pot of water come to a boil, then add the chicken. Put a slice of (skinless) ginger. Make sure there’s enough water to cover the chicken (so flipping is unneeded). Optionally, add (rinsed dried) shiitake mushrooms and a bit of rice wine. Keep it at medium-low heat, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Nomnomnom! For noodles, use super thin Asian noodles and cook them separately, before mixing with the chicken soup individually.

Here’s my barbeque-ing skills at their best! Haha, I’m using a shovel to add/mix more coals to the BBQ, and a pair of tongs to guard the chicken. They were sooo tasty. (I forgot to mention the sauce I always make for when my dad and I BBQ things. It’s gotta be applied every ten minutes after flipping until finished, which is usually about three or four times. I use an ad-lib mixture of honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, and whatever else I feel like at the moment.)


Now that summer has started, I’ve been checking my Google Reader much more often and compulsively. I’ve been surfing design blogs and came across Public School, a group based in Austin, Texas. From what I gather, they’re really into print-based media (posters!) and have a really cute logo that I was tempted to buy, just because I have public school pride. (Yeah, so what if I went to a private high school for two years?) I added them to my RSS feed a few days ago, via which I chanced upon this really beautiful illustration by Álvaro Domínguez Gámez. Unfortunately, I can’t read his blog (it’s in Spanish), so I can’t tell you more. Just that his style is full of puns and simplicity – I especially love the facial profiles and universal imagery :]

From what I can gather (read: my very limited vocabulary skillset), it’s called Flood (Inundacion). The spot coloring and textures make me want to frame it and put it somewhere where I can look at it all the time. Alas, the best I can do is make it my desktop background…