Saturday, December 31, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's!

Living life is about perspective. No two people can sense exactly the same realities around them. If you limit yourself to your own perspective, you will miss the beauty of the world. Just a thought...

For Christmas I went to Cincinnati first and then Rachel and I drove up to her Grandma's house in the northwestern most county in Ohio. It's cold and flat and there's nothing there. But there is Rachel's family. Rachel's parents and brother and sister came also, from Maryland, and we had a good time together. Rachel's Grandma is a sweet and quiet woman who is generous and thankful. I think Rachel will be somewhat like her when she gets older(that's a good thing). :-)

I saw a good movie called Tampopo which means "Dandelion" in English. It's a wonderful movie about food and noodles. It's about a widowed woman who garners the help of skilled noodle chefs and others to make herself a truly great noodle chef and be able to have a successful business. It's a work of art about food. The tagline is "The first Japanese noodle western!"

Another good movie that I just saw last night for the third time is What's Up Doc? It stars Barbara Streisand, and while I do not care for her music, she is quite an excellent actress. It also stars Ryan O'Neil. And for you ladies out there, I think back in 1972 he was something of a Ewan McGregor ;-)

"Knowledge is just opinion that you trust enough to act upon." -Miro, Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

Monday, December 19, 2005

End of Semester

On Saturday at 6AM I finished my paper, thus finishing out my semester. I at least did alright in my classes. Can't say I did as well as I like, but then I have high standards for myself.

There's a nice service called that is a social networking site for sharing web links. They have buttons I can put right in my Opera web browser and post links to things that interest me. I can send the links to Rachel, or anyone else who uses the service. I can categorize the links by keyword or "tag" so other people can find them by searching for links labelled with a particular tag, or by subscribing to receive links with a certain tag. It's very interesting.

I'm also trying a new beta version of Gaim(2.0.0beta1), to see if I like it at all. AIM's ads have been getting on my nerves, screwing up my windows interface with those pop-up ads. They seem to have the effect that when I close the AIM buddy list window, I can't open it up again, and closing AIM from that point crashes the program.

The Bush administration needs to avoid the hilarious headlines it's been getting lately, like: Bush Vows More Eavesdropping.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I let Peggy Loo put my hair in pig tails. Looks pretty good I must say, although Chris my roommate strongly objects. So right after she braided my hair I did some one-armed pushups to reinforce the concept of my manliness despite my hair being in an apparently unacceptable state. Chris said it didn't matter. Oh well, I like it :-P

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Drew's Vinegarette

I just made this very nice dressing for salad. You may want to try it:

  • lots of vinegar
    a bit less olive oil than vinegar
    lots of garlic powder
    lots of pepper
    a good amount of italian seasoning
    a good amount of salt
    a little bit of tabasco sauce
    a little bit of honey

  • Sorry, I don't formulate exact amounts.
    Anyway, it's great. So are those bagged salads in the grocery store :-)

    I Got Towed

    I went over the girls' apartment to study, and I come out and my car's not there. Turns out I misread the sign. Most of the signs there are white with red text that reads "No parking here to corner" but this one said "No parking this side". Christine drove me to the police station to get the release form, but I didn't get my car back yet. I just have to go to the tow company tomorrow, pay the $80 towing fee, and pay a $15 ticket. ::sigh:: Not a big deal, just a pain in the butt.

    I need to be more detail oriented...

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Problems with Sony

    This Wired article is about Sony and their invasive copy protection software that is on 20 of their new CD releases. Being aware of information rights is important, and putting your trust in anything a technology company gives you is not a good idea(even if it is Sony). Another important point this should make one aware of is to always know everything that is installed on your computer.

    I first saw this issue discussed on Slashdot, and of course most people were disgusted at Sony's actions, which pretty much amount to installing the worst kind of spyware on a person's computer. It will comprimise your computer's security in a way hackers could take advantage of, besides it being an invasion of privacy. As the article suggests, I would also recommend not buying Sony music until they change their stance on this issue and remedy the damage already done.

    I think Sony makes excellent ultra-lightweight notebook computers. Feel free to buy those. They are probably not the people involved in the music end of the company, except at the very highest levels.

    What the heck, Sony? Get your act together and stop being evil!

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Grad School, and the holy pursuit of scientific truth

    The reason you go to grad school is because you care about what you're studying in an academic sense. That is, you want to gain knowledge of your field for knowledge's sake.

    My interests are in the study of pragmatics, semantics, and computational linguistics. Actually, my pragmatics class gets me excited sometimes. In pragmatics you study how the outside world affects language in terms of context and assumptions and things like that.

    I've also started learning Japanese. I have a very good teacher, but I get a little tired(like literally tired) from it because we have it 5 days per week.

    I went to a lecture on Monday at Newman Hall(the Catholic Center here). It concerned the harmony between faith and reason. Basically, he was showing a perspective on interpreting scripture that has been forgotten by many people these days.

    These days you get many fundamentalists who read scripture first, and then interpret the world through the lens of scripture.

    On the other extreme you get scientists who see people doing this and use science to claim that religion/faith is ignorant/non-thinking/obsolete, take your pick.

    Before about 300 years ago, interpretation of scripture happened much differently. It was reasoned that scripture is never mistaken, but interpretation of scripture is. Additionally, Christians(particularly, the Catholic Church) took the laws proven by science to be one and the same as God's truth. Thus the pursuit of science in order to discover truth was considered a holy venture.

    Given this, interpretation of scripture should be done through the lens of laws founded in science. Scripture should be made to fit science, not the other way around. If a new discovery in science is made that conflicts with a previous theory or a current interpretation of scripture, "proof" must be given for it to be taken seriously. Then interpretation of relevant scripture is changed to fit the best "vision" of the universe that we have.

    I hope this explanation has inspired you in some way, because it did for me :-)

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Gichin Funakoshi

    A short biography about the founder of my style of martial arts, Gichin Funakoshi.

    From the article:

    'Whenever the name of Gichin Funakoshi is mentioned, it brings to mind the parable of "A Man of Tao (Do) and a Little Man". As it is told, a student once asked, "What is the difference between a man of Tao and a little man?" The sensei replies, "It is simple. When the little man receives his first dan (degree or rank), he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone that he has obtained his first dan. Upon receiving his second dan, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon receiving his third dan, he will jump in his automobile and parade through town blowing the horn, telling one and all about his third dan".

    The sensei continues, "When the man of Tao receives his first dan, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon receiving his second dan, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon receiving his third dan, he will bow at the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him".

    Funakoshi was a man of Tao. He placed no emphasis whatsoever on competitions, record breaking or championships. He placed emphasis on individual self-perfection. He believed in the common decency and respect that one human being owes another. He was the master of masters.'

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Rachel and PuzzleCrack!

    This past weekend Rachel my girl visited for the weekend and we had a great time spending time together. She got to spend some time with my roommates. We went to a couple parks and watched Wings of Desire, a German film about guardian angels. Quite good.

    This past week(Monday through Friday), my roommate JT and I participated in a puzzle competition based at the University of Illinois campus.

    It was quite fun but very tiring and I get burned out at the end after I finished solving a very hard cryptographic cipher.

    We finished the last puzzle 4th, which got us some free pizza, but really that was just because the organizers had extra pizza they wouldn't be able to finish. Yes, we met the people who made the puzzles, and got to talk with them a bit. You see, the last puzzle required us to go to the computer science building and find them, in order to get the final clue from them.

    But we spent a very long time on those puzzles all week, and now we must get back to work :-)

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    Other interesting things I've done

    Let's see...

    Saturdays have been interesting. The Saturday before last I was a scorer for a mud volleyball tournament for an all-girls' dorm. An RA I know in Navs invited JT and I to volunteer, and we were much obliged ;-) There was even a good amount of mud wrestling :-P

    This past Saturday I went with some Navs to do "hawking" at the football game. This consists of selling concessions in the stands like at any major sporting event, except that this is non-profit(except for tips ^_^). A portion of the proceeds of whatever we sell go to the Navigators, so it's good work, free admission to the game(UofI lost 61-7) and we make some money for our group. Navs also sponsored free dinner for everyone who went hawking. Twas funness.


    Indianapolis Zoo

    The Indianapolis Zoo is cool. Rachel visited Indianapolis with Kathy and Greg last weekend and I decided to make the 2 hour drive to meet them, on very short notice. I even blew off a meeting for a class to go see her :-) Anyway, it wasn't an important meeting, and there was no reason for me specifically to be there.

    There was a Polar Bear that did backflips all day cuz it was bored. We ate at the spaghetti factory. All was fun, and this coming weekend Rachel will visit me here in IL :-)

    JT(mostly) and I just beat Zork: Grand Inquisitor today. It's an older game that I've kept because it's very entertaining and I could never beat it! But JT used a walkthrough when he got significantly stuck and we got through it in good time :-) Very nice ending and I'm glad I've finally seen it all.

    Went to Stratford Park Bible Church this Sunday. The communion service at 9 was quite cool. No pastor or anything, just a lady at the organ and anyone can stand up and tell something God's spoken to them or they can suggest a song that everyone should sing. We also went to the Christian Education class afterwards, which had good interaction and so was interesting.

    Good day ^_^ God will save the day, as always!

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    A Cheese Festival!

    For our fun activity on Labor Day, JT and I went to the Arthur, IL Cheese Festival. It was a good time spent with a good friend.

    Arthur, IL is home to what seems like about half amish people, and is thus self-titled the home of the Amish. In order to get to downtown Arthur, you have to drive through miles and miles of corn and soybean fields. This made me a bit uncomfortable because I'm so not used to driving through such an expanse of farmland. There are plenty of farms in Maryland, but you couldn't find an area like there is in Central Illinois.

    The cheese festival was comprised of a bunch of small tents lining the downtown area of Arthur, and the main source of the cheese was two bakery-type places, specializing in fresh cheese and bread and dessert pastries. They looked verrry good. We walked by all the tents, looking at the mostly-not-cheese vendors. In fact, we should've brought along a couple of girls because they would better appreciate a lot of the decorative arts and crafts/jewelry being sold by most of the people. There were also the standard expensive food vendors. However, there was a "cheese tent" in which a few people were handing out two large slices of excellent cheddar cheese on a sesame seed flatbread.

    We chose to eat at a quaint restaurant called The Dutch Oven. I got a fried cod fish sandwich which fried mushrooms, and JT got a tenderloin sandwich with fries. The food was alright, although not overly impressive, just like the restaurant. But the people were friendly, and the prices were right, so it was nice.

    We ended up buying some smoked gouda and some muenster(my favorite) after sampling a variety of cheeses available for sale. So we had a novel experience today and we have some good cheese to eat(while it lasts).

    >>>I hope I can get all my work done :-P

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Grad School, Year 2

    So starts another year of school at University of Illinois. Here are my classes this semester:

    Computational Linguistics
    Elementary Japanese 1

    Now, I don't know about you, but this is exactly what I want in a grad school semester. The first is a programming class with a linguistics bent(morphology learning is this semester's topic). The second is a philosophical/theoretical linguistics course. The third is a language course. And guess what, they all count toward my major! Amazing. Really. This is what I came to grad school for :-)

    Rachel will be heading to Cincinnati on Sept 1st. She is very excited about where she'll be living and starting at a new school, but she is very sad about leaving all of her friends in Maryland.

    I'm enjoying living with JT and Chris, my new roommates and good friends from the past year at U of I. We have pretty similar interests, so it's very cool to live with them.

    There is a new guy who joined Navs this year(a freshman) who has a blackbelt in Ryu-Kyu Kempo, which is a style I'm interested in studying. It's what the founder of Shotokan studied before he created Shotokan, supposedly. Ryu-Kyu Kempo has a big emphasis on using ki(chi) to win battles and natural range of motion techniques. We will have our first session together tomorrow.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    World Renown For Romance

    My favorite album, which has yet been out of print as long as I've known about it, has just been re-released by the indie label it was originally released under :-)

    It's called World Renown For Romance by Denison Marrs.

    Needless to say, I've bought the album already. You should too. I'll be friends with you. All your worries will disappear. Really. ^_^

    An interesting happening at my undergrad school UMD recently. It's safe to say this would never happen at U of Illinois :-P UMD is right outside of Washington, DC, in one of the highest crime counties(Prince George's Count) in the country(especially in terms of car thefts, more than the entire state of Virginia, supposedly).

    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    Cirque du Soleil

    Tonight Rachel and I went to see Cirque du Soleil's Varekai show. This was in celebration of our one year anniversary of being together ^_^ I have always wanted to see a Cirque du Soleil show and now we've seen one together! The show was magnificent and fascinating. It was a mix of acrobats, musicians, and comedic performers, all dressed in the finest costumes of their fantasial world. There were many animal-creatures wandering around, odd people making mischief and being part of the story, and a romance. It is a unique circus, with no animals, but with such human athletic and artistic genius. There is live music accompaniment(watched a bagpipe player clown walk past us). If you have appreciation of surreal fantasy art in the form of acrobatics, dance, and theatrics, you must go see this show.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005


    Tonight Matt and I went to Fatburger which is a burger joint from CA. I had been craving a Fatburger for a long time ever since I had one at ASU with Toschi last year. So Matt and I took a drive 25 miles northwest to the town of Rockaway. It was a pretty good town with somewhat historic-looking houses but a generally good atmosphere(as much as you could feel one at 10PM.

    So why is Fatburger different from other fast food places? Well, the burgers take longer to cook, so I guess it's not quite as fast as fast can be. Secondly they serve your food to you and the servers are always looking to do things for you, like get you more ketchup for your skinny fries. Yes, skinny fries, as opposed to fat fries, which they also have. Matt and I both got a double Fatburger with cheese and pickle, along with skinny fries and a medium(32 oz.) drink. At less than $20 for the whole thing, it's more expensive than a fast food restaurant, but less so than a more conventional restaurant. Fatburger also claims to use really lean beef which is different, and I appreciate that. Supposedly the 'fat' in their name refers to the size of the burger itself and not how you'll look after eating one of their tasty burgers. They also have many signs all around the restaurant making jokes deriding two main groups: conventional fast food restaurants and vegetarians.

    Anyway, it's a fun place and I recommend it to anyone who likes burgers but wants better quality :-)

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    New York Trip

    Went to NYC with Rachel and Matt and Si(Matt's friend) today. Unfortunately we didn't get to see a Shakespeare play, but oh well. We went to the Natural History Museum. Saw the dinosaurs :-) We went through Central Park and enjoyed that.

    We spent a lot of time in the Metropolitan Art Museum as it's one quite excellent museum to visit, and Rachel had never been there before. We saw a movie showing in an auditorium at the museum called Mrs. Brown, which is about Queen Victoria and her personal and trusted servant John Brown who was highly disliked by most of the gentry. But he was an example of a good friend to the queen. Rachel and I loved most the modern art section where we saw some Matisse and Pollack and Close, among many others.

    Afterwards we made our way down to Chinatown where my two faithful Chinese companions found us a good Chinese restaurant where we ate sweet and sour vegetable soup, jellyfish, orange chicken, fried rice, asparagus, and sesame chicken to go. Then we came home, filled with hurting feet and good memories.

    I was dismayed that I actually know where I'm going now in NYC, as I don't think I should have such familiarity with that city for some reason...probably it's because I realize that if I hadn't gone on the thorough(and over-tiring!) walking self-tour of NYC with my Korean roommate a few months ago, I wouldn't have ever taken such a trip myself, and therefore wouldn't be so thoroughly versed in walking city blocks and knowing how to traverse uptown and how to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty without paying anything. Oh well, no regrets ^_^

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    This Weekend Rachel's Coming!

    I'm excited to have Rachel visit me in New Jersey this weekend for the first time :-) She's going to have lunch with me at work, and then we'll see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory after I get off of work.

    On Saturday we're gonna go to NYC and see a Shakespeare play (don't know which one yet). We also plan on going to Central Park and the Metropolitan Art Museum :-) I'm very excited to show Rachel those places. She's a super awesome girl and I love her very much. I know how to show a girl a good time and she's the lucky girl this weekend!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Work at AT&T

    My time at AT&T so far has been enjoyable. I have a program that has been running continuously for a few days, collecting data from news websites like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and ABC News. What it does basically is downloads a list of RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feeds from these news sources, and stores them in a database. The program then downloads the articles linked from each RSS feed.

    An RSS feed is a technology that allows you to receive an updated listing of recent posts to some data source, be it CNN or your favorite blog that provides RSS support.

    I'm working on building various training models over the data collected by my script. The training is for capitalization of words. When the researchers at AT&T receive text that is created by an ASR(Automatic Speech Recognition) program, the text has no capitalization or punctuation. And with Closed Captioned text, capitalization and punctuation are often done sloppily. So the object of this is to automatically make the text look nice and normal. :-)

    Friday, June 10, 2005

    My mind is weird

    I've concluded that I have poor ability at empathy. In particular, some people cannot handle how I act when I have to depend on them. I treat someone the way I would expect to be treated in a similar situation, and many times not how they want to be treated. And this is not good for many people. How I act when I have to depend on someone is to politely use their resources and attention, basically leaning very heavily on that person. Also, my borrow/lend policy is that one shouldn't expect to get something back. Now, if I borrow something, I of course always give it back. But I'm very loose in general with things. In fact, most things I lend out don't get back to me. And you know what? I forget about them, unless they're very important. But with things like books, CDs, etc., I forget I lent them, and if I remember that I lent it I tend not to care that I don't have it. I just buy another if I really want it. I've gone through at least 4 copies of Ender's Game :-P. Likewise, if someone needs me in some other way, as in transportation or lodging or whatnot, they're going to get everything I've got, and I won't expect much in return except friendship and politeness, etc... Financially, if I buy something for a friend, then I assume that in the end, everything will come out even, and I don't keep track of how much people owe me except that they do owe me something and a rough estimate of the amount. I tend to like people who have a similar policy and I don't care if I pay someone back more than they lent me.

    Living with Matt is cool because he's this way. We switch off with paying for things, and we don't scrutinize the amounts at all. If either of us needs a favor of the other, we gladly do it with very little complaining :-P

    I have needed to rely on people more than others have had to rely on me in recent years, given my various situations, and sometimes people have gotten angry with me because of how I depend on people. I wish people could depend on me more in the future, with me having to depend on people less. I pray to God for this, and I think in the future I will try to not rely on certain types of people as much, if I can help it.

    Monday, June 06, 2005

    The Roadtrip

    So the road trip ended, my roommate went back to Champaign, and I'm in New Jersey sitting in my AT&T office with nothing to do :-)

    I think the highlights of the trip were going to Cheers in Boston, going to the Public Garden in Boston, going to the Botanic Gardens in DC, and going to the Orioles baseball game.

    The trip was very good, and Wookkyun got to see many of our country's finest places, and was repeatedly awed at the landscapes, skyscrapers, museums, etc...
    It was extremely stressful for me though. We had to walk for many hours to get to all the sites he wanted to visit, so the end of the trip was a relief for me and I got to slack off at my uncle's house, and hang out with my friends, family, and especially my lovely Rachel :-)

    I've rented a place with Matt in Newark, NJ. The neighborhood is not good, and the apartment isn't very good either, but it's cheap, the landlords are very nice and generous, and I get to be with my friend, which I haven't been able to do a lot the last few years since we've been in different states.

    The AT&T complex here is beautiful and so is the surrounding area, full of trees and nice houses and shopping centers. It's the sort of place I like to be, in general. It makes me feel comfortable. I grew up in a place like this, and definitely not in a place like downtown Newark. I went out to lunch with the people I'll be working with, and 2/3 are left-handed! Four of us sitting around the table at K.O.B.E. Japanese restaurant and I notice 3/4 of us are using our left hands. Weird.

    I also got a nice tour of the facility, which is primarily devoted to research. The security is very tight here and this place is definitely the real thing in terms of research. Top of the line systems running massive computations. Server rooms kept at cold temperatures, all combination locked. You have to have an ID to be in the building, and I'll be getting my badge in a few days supposedly. There's a gym, shops, a bank, and a nice courtyard for when I won't feel like an ant under a magnifying glass when I'm outside.

    I'll be working on something dealing with automatic text capitalization here, for their closed captioning system. I don't know much else though. The people I work with research real-time analysis and feedback from broadcasts, in video imaging and speech recognition.

    Rachel and I can visit each other more now, too :-) And since she's going to be starting grad school at University of Cincinnati, we can see each other more during the school year too! Still 3 1/2 hours' drive away, but that's not too bad, compared to 12 hours.

    Well, doesn't my life sound interesting right now?

    Friday, May 20, 2005


    So, the semester is over, and I wrote 3 papers @ 10 pages each in about 10 days, research included. But immediately after I finished my last paper on Monday, I headed out with my roommate Wookkyun on a roadtrip.

    The roadtrip started in Champaign, IL and will end in Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC. We have visited Niagara Falls; Boston, MA; Manchester, NH(thanks Jamie and Nathan!), and we're now in NYC. I'll make a separate post for each place and hopefully link to some pics.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Psalm 148, Denison Marrs style!

    From the heavens,
    and the heights above,
    all the angels
    show your love.
    The sun and moon,
    and the shining stars,
    deepest waters,
    skies so far...
    We can love forever,
    never pass away.

    All the lightning,
    clouds and wind,
    moving mountains,
    and trees that bend,
    the wild creatures
    and the mighty birds
    show your love
    all across the Earth...
    We can love forever,
    never pass away.

    We can love forever,
    through the night and the day.
    We can love forever,
    and never pass,
    never pass away.

    And an authentic NIV translation for you too :-)

    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    Celibacy and Homosexuality

    Being a Catholic Christian, I believe that marriage is only valid between a man and a woman, and that only married couples should have sex.

    Having said that, I don't think that having the homosexual tendency in your thoughts and feelings is any worse than heterosexual thoughts and feelings. Indeed, having lustful thoughts toward anyone who is not your spouse is sinful.

    There is no discriminatory standard against homosexuality in the Church, or there shouldn't be. We are all human, and we all have lustful feelings towards both sexes at one time or another. There is the same standard for all humans.

    I consider homosexuals having sex outside of marriage the same as heterosexuals having sex outside of marriage. I am tolerant and loving toward people who do it, although I don't personally think it's the best thing.

    Homosexuals have to face something very difficult, as we all do in our own way. We all have our own issues that make it hard to be human. Homosexuality is just another part of being human, and it's clear that it occurs naturally. As long as it's not acted on, I don't see this particular tendency as being bad.

    Some people are not called to marry, and Paul even discourages people from getting married(if it can be avoided) quite emphatically, as in 1 Corinthians 7. So it is quite an expectable(although difficult for most) thing according to Paul for people to just go through life celibate.

    The problem comes in where everyone wants to have sex, no matter what orientation. And so people act to get what they want without doing it properly(i.e. without marriage). It's the same problem with everyone.

    A close analogy is if a friend wants something in your house that belongs to your parents, but you don't feel like waiting to ask your parents, so you decide to give it and hope everything works out ok.

    I believe God owns our bodies, and we should get permission from Him through marriage in the appropriate way before we can give our bodies to someone else. All this, of course, precludes some belief in traditional Christianity.

    Power and Corruption

    Everyone likes having power(aka getting what we want when we want it), and we all also like it if there is an easy way to get what we want, and this includes power.

    Women in society see that men(almost half the population) have a strong weakness for lustful thoughts and actions.

    Men in society see that they are stronger than more than half the population (i.e. women).

    These are possible routes of least resistance to gaining power; a third is being just slimy, which can apply to either gender, and will usually be accompanied with sex & violence.

    However, we know that the more power you have, the more you tend to be corrupted. Consider the example in the Hitchhiker series, where the ruler of the universe was made to not know he was the ruler, so he could be totally pure in his decisions.

    In the same way, I would say the only way to gain power without corrupting yourself is to gain power without trying to gain power, and not trying to keep it once you know you have it. In other words, don't pursue actions with intent to increase or maintain your power.

    When you do, you end up corrupted(letting yourself be treated as a sex object, or being a violent person, or being a compulsive liar or cheat).

    Thursday, March 31, 2005

    The Schiavo Case

    If you are interested in the recently fallen Terri Schiavo and the controversy over the case, I highly recommend these two articles:

    Whose Life Is Worth Living?, by Orson Scott Card

    Terri Schiavo: Judicial Murder, by Nat Hentoff

    They are very well informed and very powerful.

    Monday, March 28, 2005

    Spring Break

    Spring Break is over and classes have started again.

    Over Spring Break, I went to Glasgow, KY to visit my Dad. He owns a 20 acre property that has a creek running through it, and it's verrrry nice there. I spent a night in Lexington, KY where my Dad's family is from, at my Uncle Gerry's house. I had a good time just being with my Dad, and I appreciate that I can spend time with him that's fairly uninterrupted. I was there from Monday until Friday.

    Also, on my way down to KY, I stopped in Bloomington, IN to have lunch with a friend named Russel. He's helped me a lot with programming in the past year and it was nice to sit down with him for a while. We went to Django Cafe, which is an interesting jazz cafe with an Asian/Indian/Vegan menu. I got a veggie pita and a strawberry smoothie.

    On Easter I went to breakfast at church, then went to the Easter service there, and then I made some fried sweet potatos (yum!) for a potluck lunch over at Natalie's house. It was a great time :-)

    By the way, Rachel is my darling girl and I love her very much ^_^ She is so good to me and does everything she can for me. I am blessed and lucky and everything.

    Saturday, March 19, 2005

    Locked Out!

    Today, the morning did not go so well...

    I woke up at 8:30, decided to sleep 15 minutes more, so I set my alarm for 8:45. I get up and my clock says 8:45 so I take a shower. When I come back to look at my clock, it says 9:51!!! Still time to catch the bus if I hurry really really quick. So I rush out of the house and...I don't have my keys! So after a while of thinking, I find a paper clip in my backpack and attempt to pick the lock for a half hour(unsuccessfully) while I wait for the next bus to come.

    This was the perfect day to be locked out. It just so happens the both of my roommates were out of state just today. One roommate went to Colorado today and the other is in Salt Lake City and will come back tonight(Saturday). At least it was sunny and really warm though, so I didn't get depressed. I missed phonology class and went to my research assistant meeting. Then I called my roommate who owns the place and leave a message to see if anyone has a spare key, then I call a Linguistics grad friend, but no answer there either.

    Then I went to the Student Union, ate some snack mix I had, and slept. My friend called me eventually and picked me up and took me to his house. We played NHL 2001 quite a bit and had fun checking everyone into oblivion. His parents came into town today as well, so I got to meet and talk with them. At around 9PM I got a call from Rick, and he told me that his girlfriend has a key to the house. So I called his girlfriend and agreed to come pick up the key. Charles and I went first to Applebees to get a bite to eat and then picked up the key.

    Quite a silly day I'd say :-P I would prefer if it didn't happen again, but I think God was teaching me a lesson about something. Maybe it had something to do with taking my time or getting up the first time my alarm goes off. Maybe it had something to do with enjoying the nice day or not having my computer with me 24/7. Maybe I was supposed to hang out with Charles and meet his parents for some reason. Whatever. I did all that today, then got home and played some Warcraft 3 :-)


    Tuesday, March 15, 2005


    I love to move my body. If you observe me in person, I'm always thinking of interesting ways to move my body and a lot of times I do them right in front of people and I don't care. :-) I get this from inspiration from my martial arts training. The body, when it's fine-tuned and strong in certain ways, can do amazing things.

    I have a philosophy that the way to exercize your body should be to train motions, not muscles. I think that many people go to the gym and lift weights, but they don't really know what their purpose for it is, and it doesn't necessarily help them in their life practically(except making them have larger muscles).

    The better way to train is to think of some action you want to be strong at, and find some exercize that approximates that action. And the less you have to use weights, the better, in my opinion. Muscles like the biceps almost require weights to train, but most muscles can be trained very well without them. Weights are convenient, but they aren't as practical. Why does this matter? Besides your large muscles associated with an action, small muscles are developed by everything you do. So, the exercize you do should closely resemble the practical motion you want to improve.

    Think of your body as a multi-functional tool and having a high potentiality for adaptation. If you do certain tasks, actions, and performances in your life, your body would be best served and would look most beautiful if it was extremely efficient at doing the things you do in your life. Especially as we get older, it becomes harder and harder to reshape ourselves for other activities.

    Most people don't realize how intricately we can shape the muscles and bones and everything in our body toward a certain goal, fine tuning in such detailed ways that we're not even conscious of. Being conscious of and in control of that fine tuning process will help us to improve our body for what we do in our lives and not just because everyone says it's a healthy thing to do.

    My exercizes that I do most everyday I think serve me very well. I mostly want to improve my martial arts skills, so I have three exercizes that I do once per day. One set of each until my muscles max out:

    I do push-ups on my knuckles(on carpet). Push-ups are an excellent exercize for improving punches, and I have done this exercize for about 8 years straight almost everyday. To do knuckles push-ups, make fists and put only the knuckles of your index and middle fingers on the ground. Make sure no other fingers touch the ground.

    I do leg-lifts/hip thrusts. Laying on your back with your hands palms down under your butt and your legs straight out, knees locked, hold your legs 6 inches from the ground and proceed to lift your legs without bending your knees until your legs make a 90 degree angle with your torso. Then using your abs and lower back(but not your hands or arms), push your hips up toward the ceiling. Then let your hips touch the ground again(controlled). Then lower your legs back down to 6 inches off the ground(don't bend your knees and be in control of the descent). Repeat.

    I do uppercuts with a weight. Holding one or two weights, you stand for this exercize. Start with the weight(s) at your side. Then, leading with your fist raise the weight to eye height in an uppercut punching motion. Control the rest of your body so it doesn't move, and control the desent of the weight(s) so that the motion is the same as the one going up. Repeat.

    Push-ups generally work the triceps, the wrist, the whole back, the chest, abdominals, thighs, shoulders, and gluts. If you do them on your knuckles you can make your hands and wrists even stronger.

    The leg lifts/hip thrust exercize works the lower back, the abdominals, and the thighs. It is a very good exercize to improve the kicking motion, especially the front kick.

    The uppercut exercize is good for improving the uppercut punch motion. It works the biceps, hands, wrists, forearms, and shoulders.

    Notice that even though some similar muscle groups are worked for these exercizes, the strengths developed will be different. Form is also very important. My philosophy is that if you can't do a repitition of an exercize perfectly, you should not continue doing the exercize until your muscles recover or you can learn how to do it from someone who is trained in doing that exercize. If your muscles are not strong enough to do a certain exercize now, you should find an easier alternative until you gain enough strength to start doing the more difficult exercize.

    Well, I hope this provides some insight for some people. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Shopping Intuition

    So I went to Meijer and for the second week in a row I resolved to spend under $25 for my food for two weeks. I don't use a calculator, I just sort of estimate as I go, accounting for tax and such. And amazingly, both time I've gotten within 20 cents of $25!!! The first time I spent $24.83, and this time it was $24.94! :-D It makes me happy when I succeed in something like that.

    I learned to play Euchre tonight. It's pretty cool, but hearts is still my game. Challenge me any time :-P

    Sunday, February 27, 2005

    A Smart Human Being

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

    Specialization is for insects.

    Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

    Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Doctor's Appointment

    Well, I just got back from another good karate workout :-) got practice on my kicks and punches and breathing and moving. The teacher today didn't even wear a uniform, which I thought was interesting.

    I went to see a specialist this morning for my chronic back problems. I had to wait more than a half hour before he could see me. He did an exam on my body for reflex and flexibility and such, but he said in the end that I have one of those hard cases that isn't serious but is really hard to diagnose.

    So he told me about a few treatments such as taking ibuprofin every day, or going to physical therapy, or having anesthetics and steroids injected into the "trigger points" where my problems are centered. I dunno if I'll want to do any of those. If I had money I'd start going to a chiropractor again, but alas, I am poor. But at least I have health insurance to take care of me for a lot of things :-)

    "Meow? Meow-meow? PUUUURRRRR!!!!! PUURRRR!!!!!"

    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    A Good Park

    I've finally found it! It is exactly the kind of park that I want. It's Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, and it's really close to where I live :-) It has multiple paths, with a long nearly two mile circuit on the border.

    It's a prairie restoration park, so the whole thing is covered in tall grasses and sprinkled with nice deciduous trees. One of the paths is a sculpture path, and there's also a wildflower walk. I think when it's a little warmer I will start running there. Since Rachel and I have always enjoyed walking together, I'm definitely going to take her here :-)

    I woke up too late for the advanced karate class this morning, oh well. I played some Warcraft 3 instead.

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Job Opening at UIUC Linguistics

    So, yesterday I went to a really good talk given by Chung-chieh Shan from Harvard University Computer Science. He's a good guy and according to one professor gave one of the best Linguistics talks she'd ever seen.

    Whoever fills this position for a Computational Semantics professor will probably end up being my advisor, so it's in my interest to see the candidates.

    If you wanna see the project I'm currently working on, go here. I only work 10 hours a week, but it's fairly interesting work on automatically identifying and classifying proper nouns in text of various languages.

    Monday, January 31, 2005

    A nifty saying...

    Thanks to Mack's away message!

    An optimist goes to the window every morning and says "Good Morning, God". A pessimist goes to the window and says "Good God! Morning".

    Sunday, January 23, 2005

    @ 35,000 feet

    at thirty five
    thousand feet, I
    would like to step out,
    and glide
    into the middle
    of a cloud

    it'll catch us, you know
    and right after that
    pull some atmosphere
    over our shoulders
    and settle in for the night

    -Denison Marrs

    Monday, January 03, 2005

    Tsunami Disaster and Support

    The death toll for the Indian Ocean tsunami is over 150,000 now. Everyone should consider how much you have, how blessed you are, and give from your heart to help the people over there. I recommend these three organizations:

    Catholic Relief Services
    World Vision
    The American Red Cross

    I can't even imagine what it must be like over there, and many people I know have expressed the same disbelief. It's simply too big for us to know.