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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

Fatburger

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. :-)