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Blog Archive: January 2004
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January 30, 2004 - new attitude
-11:51 pm: having not gone skiing with the rest of the TBP officers last weekend, and regretting it, i made a midweek decision to slightly screw my tendency to be tight with money. instead of staying put in the apartment like i normally do, i'm going to take every opportunity to have fun i can and screw worrying about money. after all, it is my last semester here at berkeley, my last semester with the many people i've met while being here. Once i (hopefully) enter the workforce, i can earn it all back.

-after history today, took up Daniel's offer to go bowling. unfortunately, the alley was closed (apparently totally rented out by a private party). sigh... so Adam and Daniel did a little shopping at Costco and i got orange juice out of it... After that, ate at some random thai place on shattuck which was quite pricey. then we played 12 rounds of cutthroat billiards at a bar, amazingly finishing all tied at 4 games a piece. finally got some good oreo shake from Jack-in the box...
-tomorrow i go in search of something i can wear to the EJC ski trip next week and also something to bring to Germaine's pink flamingo party... oh and also supposedly i will catch up with that 200 pages of reading i mentioned yesterday (yeah right).
"ready steady can't hold me back, ready steady give me good luck,  ready steady never look back, let's get started ready steady go!" the english part of "Ready Steady Go," the j-rock song that's been stuck in my head....

January 29, 2004 - laziness
-10:33 pm: suffering dearly from a laziness bug at the moment. I haven't done much work for this semester, except for a fairly easy ME106 hwk assignment. I think i'm behind about 200 pages worth of various reading, mostly MCB reading, which tends to be the hardest for me to do. I find reading engineering texts to be not so useful, since lecture is usually enough to be able to understand how to use equations and junk. Humanities reading i actually enjoy even though it's usually long because it's nothing too technical. MCB reading is quite dense as the try to explain with words something that is probably better to explain with diagrams. a quote from immunology book "antibodies are the antigen-binding proteins present on the B-cell membrane and secreted by plasma cells. Membrane-bound antibody confers antigenic specificity on B cells; antigen-specific proliferation of B-cell clones is elicited by the interaction of membrane antibody with antigen." OI so many words.
-today in ME117 discussion we talked about my favorite topic from CE130, Mohr's circles! BUT they apparently use them differently, and the GSI gave a far inferior explanation of how to draw one than professor Armero. oh well. before discussion, i attended a rather boring OSL (office of student life) orientation for TBP's sake of existing as an approved organization.  weeee
-take note of the weird combination of music i'm listening to at the moment. Linkin Park = American rock, L'Arc~en~Ciel = Japanese rock. Freaking their new single ("Ready Steady Go") was stuck in my head all day (thank you FMA.....)

January 28, 2004 - career fair, a moment in time
-8:21 pm: 3 companies took a resume from me today, leaving me with 7 pieces of paper and a somewhat subdued and somber demeanor. job search is looking terrible right now, and i'm getting second thoughts about not applying to graduate school again. But i think of the many well thought out reasons why i did not and i conclude again that go to work first is more logical. For all those curious, let's revisit those reasons why i'm not going to graduate school, at least not yet.
1) primary reason: my research background is extremely weak. In a world where 3.95 GPAs impress no one, letters and prior research count all that much more. I don't think a measly 4 months worth of research in the WRONG field makes me a good candidate for graduate school. I gather this from my experience with research here. I've applied for positions all over the place, from plant biology to chemical engineering. Of those 30 plus applications i've submitted since freshmen year, i got ZERO offers, no call backs, no interviews, nothing, nada, zilch, the limit DNE etc. If i can't even get those, i surely have no chance of being selected by graduate school professors.  For people who wonder why i think my GPA sucks, this is exactly why.
2) i'm sick of school. The prospects of having to spend another 6-7 years in school are very unappealing.
3) it's time to grow up. i've had a free ride through college. I think it's about time that i start earning my own damn money and become a taxpayer.
4) i'm not really sure if bioe is really for me. What would be the point of getting a PhD in bioe, only to find out afterward that you really don't like it. A monumental waste of time and more importantly money.
5) money. Graduate school is more expensive than undergraduate and i would be going completely independent, as parents will not help. They say that you actually get paid when you go to grad school, so why then are there so many people with school loans left? Fellowships?  i can't even get normal undergraduate scholarships.
6) the unsaid reasons... the above 5 are the most important, but there are more that i do not wish to share
-now i think back to a specific critical moment in my life. So much of an effect it has on my life, that it is really easy to remember the exact date and time. November 29, 1999, 4:45 pm, the day before UC applications were due. I was finishing up my UCLA application online, then i asked my mom, "Should i apply to Berkeley? It'll be 40 more bucks?" My mom said sure whatever. So it was like check the box and choose a major. What to choose? i see bioengineering, and think "ooh that sounds cool" and besides i was applying to Berkeley quite literally for the hell of it. Little would i know at the time where that decision, the seemingly innocuous and irrelevant decision at the time, would leave me today.
-Fast forward to March 2000, i think around the 3rd week. I had already gotten an acceptance packet from UCLA for aerospace engineering, a waitlist at Harvey Mudd for aerospace engineering, and an acceptance from Cal Poly for environmental engineering. Then two things come in the mail on some Thursday. A big envelope from UC Berkeley and a small one from Caltech.
-i think i cried, in private, for like a week for being rejected from Caltech. My parents consoled me by saying it wasn't meant to be. My friends said Caltech was the real loser. Blah blah, it was time to move on. In early April, my parents asked me if i wanted to take a look at Berkeley, and so we made a trip to Berkeley, a week before Cal Day. I instantly fell in love with the place. The campus isn't exactly beautiful i must admit, but there was just something about it that made me like it. Perhaps it was something in the steam that was coming out of the mysterious vents, but i think once i got out of the car that day, my mind was set. We made a visit to Cal Poly on the same trip in San Luis Obispo, but i think i was already decided.
-Looking back on that instant, considering where bioe has left me, would i change it? It's best to live without regrets and all considered, I don't think i would change it. Selecting bioe as a major was perhaps my ticket into Berkeley. It had a 40% acceptance rate that year, the department being but a year old. If i choose another major, i probably do not get in and i do not meet all the wonderful people i've met while here. And the one thing i've concluded while here is that the people you meet and the relationships you develop are far more important and valuable than anything else. So while i struggle with trying to find employment, it is all of you that i've met here that is keeping me sane.
-as a final note, go watch American Idol.... i can at least say i'm in better shape than some of those people.
-song of the moment: In the End by Linkin Park

January 25, 2004 - TBP retreat
-4:19 pm: back from the semesterly TBP retreat! um technically three hours ago but whatever. Timeline, summary and photos to follow!
Friday: Leave Berk with Ta-Ming, Karen and James driving. due to traffic, takes 2 hrs to get to west Sacramento, where we eat at some random panda express off of the I80... surprises me that we eat there, considering it's super-americanized stuff that isn't that good with three people of Chinese/Taiwanese origin in the car. Anyway they sorta ditch me after we were done eating, but i spot car in the parking lot across the driveway. James did 100 mph + on mountain portion of I80 without me noticing, mostly cause  it was dark, but also because i was falling in and out of sleep. Arrive at Brian's place unscathed around 9 ish. Bunch of people already there, and Heena busts out some Taboo. Hilarious game, especially with nerdy engineers who come up with things such as "advanced typewriter" for computer and the definite highlight by Ta-Ming of "Ctrl+V" for paste. The taboo card was "paste" and he calmly blurted out "Control V." That was followed by a simultaneous shout of every guy in the room of "PASTE!" followed by a HUGE 2 minute outburst of belly-laughing. We played the game so much, we went through half of the cards with the girls beating the guys by some 23 pts....
-oh my, it's Taboo! (left to right: Phil C, Karen, Sanjay)
-everyone had arrived by 11 pm and  people made sandwiches, lunch for Saturday, a process which somehow took 90 minutes to accomplish. I think we got to bed near 2 am, with everyone planning to get up at 7 to make it to Alpine Meadows. I did not sleep well at all during that night, perhaps because of fear that i was sleeping next to Nathan, but probably cuz i don't sleep well in unfamiliar territory.
Arthur's ski suit
-Arthur tries on his ski suit with Trent looking on
-Saturday: everyone actually gets up when they say and are all out the door by 7:30. i decide to stay behind, partly out of fear of injury but mostly because i am currently VERY low on money... Stayed behind with Robert, Angela, Anna, Diana and Yu-Han and we do nothing much other than play Napoleon and talk about how we were going to extinguish the hot water. I got distracted by the Cal-UCLA game on TV and played some (many) moronic moves, including leading with the secretary card. I think we played for 7 hours or so until people started getting back around 4.
non skiiers
-the non-skiiers excluding me (bottom left around clockwise: Angela, Diana, Yu-Han, Robert, Anna)
-dinner got cooked, eaten etc (not as simple as it sounds and should have been) and we began the first official officer meeting at about 6:30. I like zoom through my part, MUCH MUCH faster than i had intended in anticipation of long discussion regarding the candidate semester. I think we got some good discussion going on several points, but others became way over done (in particular resumes). In all the meeting lasted until about 9 pm, after which everyone pretty much relaxed, ate, told stories, watched movies, more cards blah blah blah until 1:30 am.
too much camera
-we all went a bit camera crazy... (left to right: Heena, Sarah, Arthur)
-ZZZZZZZZZZZZ (James and Karen)

-we all got up about 8 am as we promised ourselves, to eat breakfast and clean up. Goes pretty fast as it probably should with 32 people cleaning. There were some issues getting the cars out of frozen ice, but everyone got out ok and i think we all manage to leave before 10, exceeding the goal we had set the night before. In all the retreat was pretty fun, and probably would have been much funner if i had gone skiing with almost everyone else.
-end highlight of the trip: In N Out for lunch in Pinole

January 22, 2004 - BOO (boo)
-9:54 pm: taken last sunday...
-Cal - USC game was quite exciting, especially toward the end. fucking refs sucked though Cal had 10 team fouls with 11 minutes left in the game while USC had 1... ONE. how freaking much was USC paying them sheesh. I'm kinda disappointed to be missing the UCLA game on saturday, but at the same time not really. I fully expect a loss for several reasons: 1) falls into their lose win lose win pattern, 2) UCLA is playing much better now, 3) UCLA was just whooped at stanfurd, 4) our bball team isn't that great.
-School was really really boring today, but what can you expect from the first week of class. The worst was BioE/ME C117 with that review of anatomy and cell biology. I'm sure it flies over the heads of the MEs in the class, and bioes should know it all already.... What i really want the prof to do is to lecture with scary beam equations like  (EIv'')''=dq/dt (which really isn't scary...) to scare off all the people in the class who didn't take CE130 :p
-going to Truckee (Tahoe) tomorrow with TBP... i have to prepare my scary handouts.....

January 21, 2004 - first days of instruction, random ramblings
-5:00 pm: with nothing much to do, i might as well formally record just how boring the first two days of classes were. My gosh, they seemed a lot more boring than any other first lectures and the one class that i think will kill me didn't even manage to scare. Last semester, i was all scared by me104 and ce130 on the first day, but i stuck with them (and with good result i might add). This semester though, none of that scariness. I anticipate however, another fairly difficult semester although perhaps not approaching the difficulty of last semester. I definitely forsee classes, TBP and job hunting getting in each other's way to the degree that they did last semester, where each was not done as well as i' wanted. The classes: MCB150: Molecular Immunology - Prof Shastri seems pretty nice and interesting, but has somewhat of a soft voice, doesn't speak all that loudly and has a very slight Indian accent. Class material will probably be difficult, and class competition the same (premeds....). ME106: Fluid Mechanics - Prof Savas (of the the Warsaw Pact according to Brian...) spoke with an even harder to hear voice than prof Shastri. Seems ok, but also demanding. I'm quite scared that the class will involve a bit a programming, which is not my strength in the least bit... I anticipate this class being the hardest. BioE/ME C117: Structural Aspects of Biomaterials - Prof Pruitt was definitely the most interesting of the first day professors, unfortunately what we covered was largely a repeat of BioE118 so it was boring. I've been looking forward to this class a long time and it was the reason i took CE130.. I anticipate it will be the most fun class. History181B: The History of Modern Physics - taking to finish humanities requirements, Prof Carson gave what she called a sermon on how useful history is to science. It was slightly interesting, but i could tell a majority of the class was bored. I'm not sure how to judge what the workload will be like...
-notables: *first time having two women professors, one of which is an engineering prof.
*first time since Fall 2001 not taking a class numbered 130. Took IDS130, Chem130A, ES130, MCB130, CE130
*excited to be taking 3rd ME class
*finished all my TBP project reports needed up til now...
*going to Tahoe with TBP this weekend

January 18, 2004 - back in Berkeley, 10 years later
-6:25 pm: i meant to write this yesterday, but i didn't. anyway back in good old berkeley after almost 5 weeks away, and it certainly feels a bit strange to be back. Probably because of the laziness of being home doing a lot of nothing. Break was very relaxing and boring, which is exactly what i wanted after the super busy fall semester i had. One day left before the work starts up again
-Yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, the costliest earthquake disaster in US history at $40 billion + damage and 67 deaths. I still remember the day the earthquake struck. It was MLK Jr Day back in '94 and we (the family) had just gotten back from a minivacation to Monterey the day before. The earthquake struck pretty early in the morning, i think around 4:30 am. I woke up a few minutes before it started, something which freaks me out to this day. I was on the top bunk of a bunk bed, which perhaps made the earthquake more scary than for the rest of the family. Matthew slept through the entire earthquake, but i couldn't fall back asleep. Around 9 am the power comes back on, and we turn on the TV. WOW... large portions of the 10 freeway collapsed as well as the 5 and 14 interchange. For most, the most memorable image of that quake is that of the collapse Northridge Meadows apt building.
-10 years later and the memories still remain quite vivid. The scariest thing is that a big earthquake is quite likely to happen sometime soon... and we have no idea when.

January 16, 2004 - train, horse and drum set
-9:19 pm: from Griffith Park
sister in front of train
-sister in front of mini-train
on the pony
-sister on a pony
bro's new drumset
-Matthew's new drumset (at last)
-final (full) day in LA area today.... returning to Berkeley tomorrow

January 11, 2004 - Legoland California Pictures
-7:45 pm: 7 pictures from Legoland, Carlsbad, CA (near San Diego)
-entrance to park
New York
-various New York buildings made from Legos
San Francisco
-San Francisco modeled in legos
-lego pandas
White House
-"Mr. Bush's house"
US Capitol
-lego US Capitol
sister in lion
-sister in a giant lego lion
-legoland may have been fun if i were perhaps 14 years younger... It was quite too kiddy for me and Matthew, only Catherine had any fun. The only cool part was the mini models made of Legos, some of which are pictured above. Otherwise it wasn't really worth the $41.95 price of admission

January 8, 2004 - first entry of the year
-2:18 pm: haven't written anything for a long time, mainly because there hasn't been much to write about. Between writing TBP stuff, job hunting, and watching the sister, it's been all the same the past couple of weeks.  So i've been writing a whole bunch of stuff for TBP officers to read... i hope they do, otherwise this break will be completely unproductive, in terms of TBP. as for job hunting, it's been going ok i suppose. i've been getting a few calls from several companies; however, they've all been looking for immediately employable people. at least they've been telling me to call back in may. Watching sister is the same everyday. she watches her annoying kids shows and movies while simultaneously making a mess of the place. the room i'm in right now is quite the disaster...
-yesterday i got some variety in my schedule... on call for jury duty in stinky downtown LA. it was quite the boring experience with 115 other people who really didn't want to be there. i got called up with the first jury panel to a courtroom with about 80 jurors, which was some supposedly unprecedented number. the case at hand involved an accident with a 1989 mustang convertible. The drunken driver of the mustang with 2 passengers, hit the center divider on the 101 freeway sometime in september 2000. no one in the car sustained injury, however along came a 2000 civic which hit the mustang, causing the bumper to puncture the fuel tank of the mustang leading to a fuel fed fire. The mustang passengers suffered from burns, and one person died from subsequent infections. The family of the dead passenger are suing Ford for faulty vehicle design. it was quite clear why they needed so many jurors - it would be quite hard for them to find 12 ppl who could spare 6 weeks and who could judge the case impartially. i was excused from the case because school is coming, but i probably couldn't judge that case fairly anyway.  by the time the judge finished reading the description of the case, i had already decided that this was a case where they were trying to deflect blame from the person who was clearly responsible, the drunk driver, to extract money from a large wealthy company such as Ford. also, as an engineer, albeit a bioengineer, i would have a better chance of understanding the technical crap that would come up than the average LA county dumbass. the defense would have had me dismissed anyway.
-after being excused from that case, i spent the next 4 hours sitting in the room waiting for another panel to be called or for the day to end. no panel was called and i escaped jury duty for the next 12 months...

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