winter 2012

Just got my grades for my two classes this quarter. I got an A- in 231A and a B+ in 250A. I kind of expected the opposite, but that’s okay! Still not disappointed in this quarter, since I was feeling really overwhelmed in the middle of the quarter and wasn’t sure about it for awhile. This winter quarter was so much more difficult that fall… maybe like a big wake up call to graduate school. So now I’m much better prepared for the next two quarters. I’m still planning on graduating in December, but my future plans are still TOTALLY UP IN THE AIR

This weekend I went to Norcal for Heather’s birthday :) Stan took me to the airport during/after his lunch break, and I arrived at SJC on Friday afternoon. We picked up tickets for Hunger Games for Saturday, got our tea on, and went to Whole Foods and Target before dinner at Fatima with Sophie. I remembered how easy Cupertino was to get around, and how everything is so close. Maybe it’s because it’s where I grew up, and the only places I know and need are close by. After dinner we went to Sophie’s house and played Dance Central on her Kinect. It was awesome and fun and now my arms are sore. Fun! Too bad I won’t have space in my home for that type of thing for many years.

On Saturday, we woke up around 10, ate breakfast and went to visit Kitchen-sensei at Lynbrook. He was in class, and we didn’t have much time to chat, but it was good to catch up. We sat behind these two juniors, who asked us if we were in college. I was like, “Um, yeah, I mean no… graduate school.” And then we realized they were class of 2013 – that’s next year! So crazy, how time passes. We left to line up for Hunger Games, but there was no line at all. The movie was okay, wouldn’t really recommend it. After the movie, we picked up Stephanie in Sunnyvale and went to (downtown?) Mountain View (Castro St) for happy hour at Xanh Restaurant. I got a virgin mojito which was so delicious and I loved it – I think my next plant will be mint. :) Their popcorn chicken was also tasty.

Rose got off at work at 6, so around then we decided to go to Shabuway for dinner; Japanese hotpot. Note to self: mild spicy is too spicy for hot pot. But I was totally okay with the plain seaweed broth/water. We ate the deliciousness and used Yelp to find a bar to go to. We went to Mervyn’s Lounge down the street and it was basically the best place we could’ve gone. It was a super chill, tiny dive bar which served cheap, good drinks. I LOVED IT and plan on acquiring regular status on my Yelp account pronto.

After the bar, we headed back to Heather’s house for ice cream (which we forgot to eat) and watch VAMPIRE DIARIES! The original plan was for me to continue where I left off in December, but I didn’t have any more downloaded episodes so we just started from the beginning. We watched just three and then decided it was bed time.

A really fun weekend, I’m glad to get to catch up with some of my favorite people :)

1. No more yoga until next quarter. So I’m going to start a no Cheetos/Munchies/other bagged junk food purchases/consumption until I have regular exercise in my life again.

2. Just spent two hours trying to debug my COMSOL model, but the Nussult number I’m getting is not anywhere close to what it’s supposed to be. For my final project in 231A, due Wednesday.

3. One more week of classes and then finals. Already? Yeah. And then hopefully I will find some time to recharge.

hours

Kevin asked me how many hours I spend on research. I said I try to do at least ten hours a week, which he said seemed like a lot, which made me curious:

Per week (five days):
8 hours lecture, two classes
12 hours research
5 hours of TA, lab, OH, meeting

Leaving myself 10×5 = 50 hours to get ready for bed and sleep (good average estimate maybe probably kind of) this gives 45 hours of everything else. This 45 hours probably includes:

5 hours transportation
1.5 hour misc medical errands
7 hours food acquisition/consumption
3 hours grooming (showers, face making, poop taking, clothes deciding)
3 hours yoga

This leaves about 25 hours of free time per week. Per day, that’s about 5 hours. Which can probably be broken down to (per day now) 2.5 hours doing nothing productive (Hulu, Facebook, tumblr) and 2.5 hours being productive (email, homework, studying, job hunting).

I spend the bulk of my weekends doing the bigger fun things (painting, more sleeping) and actually doing my homework and studying for real. I also volunteer once every couple weeks with CHAMPs as well.

(On the other hand, I’m definitely falling behind this quarter and so I need to STOP Huluing and START studying more :/)

winter 2012 so far

I can’t believe it’s already week 5! I’m only taking two classes, but I’m also a TA and doing research so things are a lot busier than I expected them to be.

The two classes I’m taking are 231C (Convective Heat & Mass Transfer) and 250A (Foundations of Fluid Mechanics). So far they’re really related in terms of concepts, but very different in approach. I’ve learned a lot of useful math tools in 250A, like indicial notation and other vector things that I’m surprised never came up in undergrad. It’s cool! My convection class is really complicated so far though. It seems like we’re going through the material really slowly, and it seems to be mostly review, but at the end of the day, I look back at my notes and I have no idea what’s going on :/ Hopefully I get the hang of it soon though, since I have a midterm next week…

I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t been to yoga in two weeks. Sad me… losing my mojo.

On the bright side, I’ve been successfully keeping up with my 366! I’ll post about it in a few weeks when i hit a nice number :)

First time laundering since Nov 9th. Today is Dec 13th aka 34 days later. While folding my clean clothes, I counted 17 pairs of underwear. Which means I average two days per shower.

My PI told me yesterday that he’s been subscribed to JEB (Journal of Evolutionary Biology) since 1958. That’s the year my dad was born…

Passed my MS extra question exam for 250C which means I need to pass just two more to get my degree. Oh, and six more classes. Next quarter: 250A (Fluids) and 231A (Convection).

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.

today

This is a post in which I will Capitalize Things. It’s been a thought-heavy action-heavy day, so just bear with me. Or don’t.

This morning I woke up to find that my deadbolt lock was broken. What? Yes, broken. I was stuck in my apartment. The only way in and out was through my window… which didn’t really seem too convenient. So I accepted the situation as my First Test as a Mechanical Engineer. I unscrewed the lock, poked around and voila, opened the door! (“I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door!”) Sure enough, the mechanism (four bar!) had a broken piece. And so, having yoga soonish, I called my manager and had her send the handyman over to fix/install a new deadbolt. He came over and got to work, I left for yoga.

Today there were four people in class, way down from like 20 at the beginning of the quarter. I’m the only one who has been to every class so far, ie I have not seen someone every time that I’ve been there, which is every scheduled class so far. Is it weird to go to every class? I mean, I paid for the class so I’m going to it. Although I guess a similar thing can be said about academic classes, and those I have been known to skip in the past… But like, yoga is an extracurricular. You go out of your way to sign up for it, while classes are mandatory since we are Students. I don’t know. Whatever. But I think because I am a consistent class attender, My Instructor likes me.

I’m starting to really dislike my 182C class (Numerical Methods for Engineering Applications). It’s not that I don’t like the Methods, but the teaching style is rather dry. If I were to guess, about 80% of my cell phone’s battery life on Tuesdays and Thursdays is lost to playing Words With Friends and compulsively checking Facebook, Twitter, Reader, G+, Tumblr… on my phone. The other 20% is calling Stanley before bed.

After class, I dropped by research to see if my polymask.mat file was compatible with MATPIV running on MATLAB2011 (Yes! Mostly… kind of…) to find that I need to fix my coordinate system for it to work. One step forward, two steps back. But I didn’t have time to dwell because after half an hour I headed to my RA check up appointment.

Summary of the appointment is that yes, I am doing better! I mostly base my wellness as a linear function of N, where N is the Number of Times I Complain to Stanley About My Knees QWK. (“Q” or “q” on a prescription is shorthand for the Latin term “quaque” which means “every.”) Things are looking good, except if I don’t get better from this cold, or if I get a fever 100+ deg F, then I should skip my next dose of Enbrel. This is to avoid infections. But for now, I am doing a-ok! I got blood drawn (routine and research) and when the phlebotomist poked me, she messed up and said that the scar tissue near my vein/artery something something something. I think it was the first time I’ve ever heard the phrase “scar tissue” in reference to something other than the Red Hot Chili Peppers song. Anyway, she was nice, and she wished me a happy belated birthday when I confirmed my DOB. Except turns out she lost my research blood. So I need to get it drawn again… conveniently, I have an appointment with GI (Gastroenterology) tomorrow morning. No problem!

After my appointment, I went to Starbucks to get my Free Birthday Drink. I procrastinated it to the date of expiration (today) which also happened to be the day that Starbucks was having a BOGO Holiday Drink promotion. Which means that there were a ton of people! Like, probably a fire hazard number of people. But I got my first holiday Starbucks drink of the season: peppermint + gingerbread white mocha. (Honestly, I should have just let the coupon expire and not subject myself to consuming 500 delicious calories of sugar.) While waiting for my drink, I observed People and I think I need to get out more. I was overwhelmed by the number of Females in my vicinity. Something that doesn’t happen much in my day to day life. I was looking at shoes, clothes, bags, hairstyles … it was like window shopping. I decided never to buy TOMS shoes, and never ever to wear leggings as pants.

And then! I headed home, and came back to a nice looking new deadbolt in my door. I came in only to notice that It Didn’t Work. From the outside, it locked but the key could not be removed. From the inside, it was stuck. So once again, First Test as a Mechanical Engineer Part 2. Took it apart, figured out how it SHOULD be installed, and fixed it. A+! For me, and not for the handyman. I don’t really understand how he could have installed it and not checked to see if it worked. Or not follow the instructions that probably came with the lock closely enough to ensure that it worked. I’m annoyed that I had to fix it myself, because this is an apartment complex and not my own house. But at least now I get how it works…?

Anyway, basically this is a really long recount of My Day. The End.

Oh my god I’m so pissed off. My professor called time at the end of our midterm and I caught a dumbass moment of doubt and erased/crossed out all the extra a_inf*t terms in the linear acoustic wave problem and IT WAS WRONG. I blame the fact that I was working the entire two hours and barely finished the test when there were mere minutes left. I’m so rarely if ever in a situation where I’m pressed for time at the end of a test so the whole thing must have thrown me off and ARGHHHH all I can do is hope the grader sees my crossed out terms and pities me. I’m angry that I even crossed them out in the work leading up to the final answer so they’re ALL wrong. SO ANGRY AT MYSELF.

If there’s one tiny positive thing that has come from this it is that now I know that I should always trust my instincts on a test, and not ever go back and change answers. Except that I already knew this from SATs and stuff so… damn. IT’S IN THE PAST TIME TO MOVE ON.

Edit Nov 9: Got my midterm back and thankfully only lost two points with my mistake. And it was only one of two mistakes that I made. WHEW.

I’m using a Redlake high speed camera for research, and was looking around for a software download for my research laptop. I came across their main site, on which they posted a few videos showcasing their cameras’ capabilities. It’s pretty sick. My favorite is the 90 second video of hummingbird flight; I never knew they keep their heads so still while airborne. Watch them here.

noon

Starting class at 12PM on MW is kind of crappy. I wake up around 9, eat breakfast and check emails, and I still have nothing to do for another hour. Oh the woes of being a student…