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Preview: Try Fly Sky : Chapter II

Try Fly Sky : Chapter II



Caution! Lame jokes, excessive use of DOTS(...) and clumsy grammar ahead. Consider yourself warned!



Updated: 2018-03-05T11:40:24.252-05:00

 



Winter Wonderland...

2010-12-27T13:23:17.888-05:00

So, my buddy Tremayne and Chun Hua, spent their Christmas in Worcester, MA. It's all fun. Good food and great company, nothing says Christmas more than that right? Over the long Christmas weekend (Thur - Sunday), we had quite the eating journey. We had dinner Thursday night at Blue Ginger, the restaurant owned by the famous TV chef Ming Tsai (his tv show 'Simply Ming'). Overall, our experience here is OK. Below my expectation to be frank. I'll elaborate more on my review on Yelp! I don't think I'll come here for a 2nd time. It's not that bad, but given the steep price tag, I think it's not worth it.On Christmas eve, for lunch, initially, we wanted to dine at a seafood market - cafe place, Captain Marden's, but the kitchen was closed. So, we went to Legal Seafood in Framingham instead. The meal was good. The lobstas and chowda and the onion string and... were all good.For dinner, we went to Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake as main course and entree as sides. As usual, the cheesecake was great.On Christmas, we roasted turkey, some vegetables, and prepared some stuffing... It was way too much food for the 3 of us and we didn't get to the Boston Creme torte cake. And, for unknown reasons, I got an irritating headache (again) after having turkey and wine. Called it an early night.On Boxing Day, because of the forthcoming storm, we decided to go into Boston earlier, with the intention of have dimsum as brunch and then Tremayne and Chun Hua catching an earlier bus to NYC. When we got to the bus station, it was like a war zone. Fortunately, they have online ticket and was able to get on the 12 noon bus. Their original bus at 3pm was canceled. Anyway, because of this time change, we weren't able to grab a dimsum brunch, and they left for NYC soon. Anyway, I think NYC + weather hates me. It seems like whenever I made plans to travel to or through NYC during winter months, a winter storm/blizzard coincides. Because of this blizzard, I had to cancel my initial plan of spending Boxing day and the day after (today) in NYC.So, the heavy snow and strong wind knocked out the power for about an hour yesterday night. With heavy snow outside and nothing much going on the tv, after a few brewskis, I called it an early night.This morning, I woke up to more than a foot of snow. At this time, even though most of the snow has stopped, the wind gust is still really strong, 40+mph, tossing loose snow around. To put into perspective how much snow, pictures are much better than words.I was trying to get out of the house through the side door, but I can't get it to open. Snow must be blocking it. (Yes, my door opens outward.)When I open my garage door, voila:No wonder I couldn't open my side door:It's a whiteout...A serious whiteout:The pile of snow I shoveled from the front of my door and the front of my garage:After some hard shoveling work (and yes, it was still snowing...)A different view:My neighbor and I contracted a guy to plow the main driveway -I was wishing that I'll get some snow for a White Christmas, guess I wished too hard, and too late...Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year![...]



xkcd...

2010-12-11T14:43:40.476-05:00



Came across this comic... It's hilarious and ingenious...

Checkout www.xkcd.com...

All credits to xkcd.

(image) Might be a little 'adult'... but the best part of the comic is, if you mouse over the picture on the original link http://xkcd.com/492/

It reads - A veteran Scrabble player will spot the 'OSTRICH' option...

*Speechless...*



Off the ground...!!!

2010-11-26T20:43:23.129-05:00

Finally, I got a desk for my desktop... This means that my computer is off the ground and I don't need to sit on the floor while using the computer... This translates into not as painful for me to spend time in front of my computer at home. So, it's only logical to spend more time updating my blog.

I got the desk from Walmart.com, taking full advantage of their new free shipping to home for certain items. It's surprising to me that it only took them 3 business days to ship the desk and chair, instead of their first estimated 1-2 weeks.

Anyway, the putting together of the desk took me a good 1.5 hours, with a minor snafu, I got the sliders for the drawer upside down, but other than that, it was rather smooth. The chair, though it's height is more suitable for my kitchen island, by having it at the lowest position, I was able to sit comfortably in front of the desk.

So, 2 more items added to the house. What's next? I still need to get a few nightstands and dresser for my bedrooms. Maybe a bigger tv for the living room so that I can shift the current tv to my bedroom. But, the tv will only come next year.

For Black Friday, the only purchase I made was a new cellphone. After 6 years, I decided to switch away from T-Mobile to Virgin Mobile. This is because the plan is more suitable for my use. Instead of paying $40 bucks for 300 mins and 1000 texts, I've decided to switch to Virgin Mobile for $25/month for 300 mins and unlimited data. Though I have to pay more for the Samsung Intercept phone, ($250), by saving on the plan monthly, over time, it gives me a bigger bang for my bucks. I'm still waiting for the line to be ported and my phone to be activated. Once that's done, I'll be able to check my email and access the web and do all the good stuff with my phone. Android... Able to sync my phone to my Google account is HUGE. Guess I finally caught up with the smartphone phenomenon.

What else? My satellite tv's been acting since last week, often times, it loses signal. So, for the last week, I've been relying more on the internet to get my tv shows and sports fix. I also got more done last weekend (house work and reading). So, if ESPN and all were to offer more online live sport streaming, I might be able survive without cable/satellite tv subscription.



0 Comments

2010-11-14T22:21:20.415-05:00

Sorry guys, it's been a very long while since I last updated my blog. Guess my laziness, work and studying for CAS 9 exam had the better of me.

So, what's new since my last updated?

It's been 6 long months since I moved into my new place and I'm still loving it. Things are still being added to the house piece by piece... Finally, 2 weeks ago after my exam, I was able to find time and energy to put together the shelf I got from Ikea back in August, and also, to put up the sliding shade I got in June.

Things at work seem to be going well. I find myself maturing, in terms of setting expectations for myself and working with others. And finally, I'll be rotating to a new position tomorrow, after a long wait. I'm really excited about this change. It was getting to a point where I'm feeling that I'm carrying too much weight for my own good and for the good of the team.

Also, last week, I went back to University of Michigan on a recruiting trip. It was a short but fun-filled trip. I met up with few of my professors and friends. It was good to step back and drive around the campus again. It's fun to reminisce on those fond memories in my college days. That, and also, taking a break from work, and to watch a historic Michigan football game is just plain fun.

What else is new? I started playing table tennis again. It's kinda funny how I decided to pick up my paddle again after such a long break from the sport which I consider to be my first love. Well, it started with my Course on Professionalism trip to Chicago, where one of my ex-coworker challenged me to play him. So, we took a cab to outskirt of Chicago and played there, where I found myself to be enjoying the game a lot. So, after I came back from the trip, I decided to look for a club 'nearby' and started playing there every Thursday, and even Monday now after the exam. It's really fun to play with different levels of players. I'm thinking about going serious with table tennis - getting a table and a ball-robot to help me improve my game.

What's next... I'm also planning to organize more after-work get together with colleagues as we seem to lose a lot of those fun nights because of work and exam. Since it's after exam now, I should kick-start those activities (movie night, bar night...) again.

Things/dates to look forward to next... Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year.



2 Comments

2010-07-25T13:26:22.754-05:00

At Sichuan Gourmet - chinese zodiac on the table reads:
Ox- Bright and patient, you are a good listener but disdainful or failure. You are attracted to the snake, rooster and rat, and should avoid the ram.

Lol. A failure...



Uphill battle...

2010-07-25T09:41:34.130-05:00

As Tremayne noted, I missed June as well....

Well well well... It's getting harder and harder to update my blog even at a monthly basis... Guess I'm just getting lazier, and having to update my blog Japanese style is definitely not helping either (my computer is still set up on the floor in my living room, hence, having to use the computer sitting on the floor). Well, at least it's nice hardwood floor.

So, I missed June and now, it's almost the end of July.

I'll do a quick recap of what happened in late May, June and July...

Late May...
After coming back from the long short trip home, long in the sense of the journey, short in the sense of it being less than a week, I got busy with the whole house thing - signing the closing contract on the house, the 30-year loan, and planning the move, and actually packing and moving. It was a lot of work over the 2 weekends - the packing and the moving, a trip to Ikea, a couple of trips to Home Depot & Lowes, the unpacking, the cleaning of my old apartment before returning the keys.

June...
Long days at work. Long nights spent watching tv. Started rock climbing again. Also, there's a movie theater near my new house, about a mile away. So, every Tuesday ($6 a movie), a bunch of us from work will catch a movie after work. I think that June 2010 was the month which I've watched the most movies. Also, started running a little after a long hiatus... Also, I am finally able to work on the grill. At the end of the month, I found out what I was sorta expecting, failing exam 7. It was no doubt humbling, and I only have myself to blame - time management...

July...
Work's still busy. Started studying for exam 9. It's been 2 months since moving into the house and I'm loving it -minus the cleaning, and the flies problem I was experiencing, and the larger utility bills. Went on a trip, walking around Boston, and a day trip to Newport, Rhode Island over the long 4th of July weekend when May Ying and Mel came visit. The following weekend, met up with Hui Ying in Boston for a dimsum brunch, and then, last weekend, had an official housewarming party at my house. Last Thursday, did a 5-miler race and finished at a time of 43:40 min, ~8.45 min pace... Given the lack of actual running lately, I'm happy with the time. If only the weather was cooler, I coulda shave 15 secs per min off my pace... Maybe I'll get more serious into running again and aim for a half marathon in the Fall...



0 Comments

2010-07-25T08:51:32.635-05:00

Cool... Now i can annoy the hell out of my blog followers with tweet-like updates... 140 characters... Lol... :-)



0 Comments

2010-07-25T08:49:48.277-05:00

Testing... Blogging via texting...



Wow, I totally missed April?

2010-05-13T20:12:05.303-05:00

Looking at the when the last post was dated, I realized that I totally missed posting in the month of April!

Well, all of that because of work and studying. Now, the exam is over and work is getting better, life's getting better. All this got me thinking, what the hell am I doing with my life? For the last 2 months leading up to the exam, I woke up early, heading into the office to study from 5-6am til 8/9/10am, and work til 5-6pm, sometimes later, and then, head back to my apartment and dinner and some tv, sometimes, some more studying, and then, REPEAT.
What's willing me on was the thought of getting to the end of the road of actuarial exams and not having to study the same darn material again if I were to fail (which is very likely, as based on the past exams, misled about the type of questions and the level of understanding and the speed that I need crank through those problems).

But, I guess my approach towards the exam, this exam I should say, was wrong. Instead of trying to read the actual paper, I spent time reading the summary of the papers and trying to memorize the lists of lists (well, this exam is all about Accounting, Regulations & Laws, and Government Programs). So, when the questions were posted in a lengthier/indirect/unsuspecting ways, I was schooled. It was a humbling experience and I think all I can do is to suck up all my pride and prepare for the battle again next November (that's 2011) better. In the remote chance that I do pass this exam, (as much as I think I don't deserve so, I will still take it if someone were to give me a pass), the bonus for passing the exempt on the first attempt which I will get will be all used for a party at my new house. (New house - see more below...)

Anyway, I'm getting back to my more desireable lifestyle of reading for leisure, watching garbage on tv and eating out and cooking more. Life's good.

So, I'm typing this half jetlagged, just spent a good 24+ hours in planes and airports and 12 timezones ahead of 36 hours ago. And will be leaving home for my new house (see more below) in less than 96 hours. I'm a sucked when it comes to sleeping on a plane. On my BOS-JFK-HKG-KUL series of flights yesterday, I didn't sleep from BOS - JFK (it was a 1-hour flight), slept at most 4 hours (in 3 naps) on the JFK - HKG 16 hours monster, and another hour for the 3.5 hours HKG - KUL flight. I'm really jealous of people who can just sleep on a plane as is if it's as easy as flipping a switch.

Anyway, the reason I'm home, for less than a week, is to attend my brother's wedding dinner, and all the pre-shows prior to that. So, there's a buffet dinner at home tonight, there's the going to the bride's house tomorrow morning, tea ceremony in the early afternoon, some kinda gathering after, and then the big wedding dinner on Saturday. With all the drinking and merrymaking, will need Sunday to recover, Monday, might be able to meet up with some friends? or just spend time with family... Tuesday morning, KUL-HKG-SFO-BOS... reaching Boston Logan International Airport at around 11.30pm, by the time I get back to my apartment, will be the May 19th...

May 19th, which is the day I'll be closing on my first house! It's been crazy buying a house. The whole searching, walking through houses, deciding, and committing. Now, there's the furnishing and all that. Later, will be the maintaining. Ahhhh! The joy of homeownership. And, damn, 1 thing I learned, it's freaking expensive.

Will get some pictures up here... Hmm, will try to get more pictures this time, from the wedding and the of the house...



Another month...another year...

2010-03-29T20:11:08.927-05:00

I'll try not to express and describe how time passes by. I turned 25 earlier this month. That's when it hits me that, wow, can't believe, I'm 25 already. Been 2 years out of college, working for 2 years, and settling down at a new place, in my job, and what's next?(By the way, thanks for the birthday cards! And gifts! Thank you! Some of them remind me of my past while some remind me of my far future...)The trip home was great. It's true that it's not easy to come back after being home for 2 weeks. Even though I get back to the usual drill quick, but deep down inside, I still feel a hint of 'homesickness'. Guess that's the magic of family and love.Anyway, the trip back wasn't all smooth sailing either. Our flight from JFK to BOS was canceled, again!!! And with the inclement weather forecasted for the next day, we decided to wing it and rented a car and drove up. Because of the heavy snow in NY and part of CT, the drive took us 6 hours, instead of 3.5 hours. By the time I got back to my apartment, it was 5am. Took a shower, unpacked a little and I went straight to work at 6.45am. By 3pm that day, I was more dead than a zombie. Even after 3 coffees and a redbull, my eyelids were barely open.I'm not sure if it's my aging, or because of the drive, but it took me a good week to totally overcome the jet-lag. I'll be heading home again for my brother's wedding in May. This was somewhat brought forward. So, I'll be home for a shorter stint, traveling back on May 12th, reaching May 13th, leaving for the States again on May 18th. 7 days vacation, spending 2 days on the plane.Other news, in preparing for my upcoming exam (CAS 7) on May 4th, I'm now waking up at 4, studying from 5 - 9ish 10am on weekdays, and a few more hours here and there on weekends. So, May will be a big month for me. First, the exam, then, the trip home, and finally, closing on my house and moving! Can't pack anymore into a month than that...Also, something happened few weeks back that surprised myself. It's just interesting that I did what I did. Not to reveal too much, I did what I believe is right. I did something out of the ordinary. I let myself heard. Not sure how that well sit with others, but, I think I've done myself proud. I wasn't even sure why I actually did it. You know that feeling, where you think you're gonna say something, but ended up keeping it to yourself because you're too afraid. Well, I didn't keep it to myself over that. I did it in a professional way, requested, inquired and responded with what I had in mind. If someone is gonna preach about something, I'll make sure that I'll hold them to their preaching. And NO, this has nothing to do with religion. It's about values, more about principals. (Thanks for my 'life' coach, and my email buddies. You know who you are...)So, upon turning 25. I thought, what will I be in 5 years? Other than being 30, will I be a guy with attachment? Will I be in a different city, with a different job? A different country? Do I want to be at a different place? Do I want to give up the bachelor life and turn to a new chapter in life? Do I want to chase my dreams - if I know what they are, or be slightly contented and let opportunities seek me?All the waking up at 4am in the morning and studying for 4-5 hours every morning, sometimes got me thinking, why am I doing this? What's keeping me going? Every now and then, I'll be able to think that I'm doing this because I want to get it over with. I'm close to getting this done. Just 3 more exams, best case scenario, that's 15 months away. I won't be able to deny that's not a tempting reason. Part of it because I do like the stuff I'm learning. Call me a dork, call me a nerd, but hey, some of them are rather interesting. I believe the main reason I'm willing myself on is I think there's much more in life. Hence, by doing my bes[...]



Back at home!

2010-02-17T22:34:20.482-05:00

Happy Chinese New Year. May the year of Tiger bring great health and prosperous to all!So, where shall I began this post?Let me begin with my interesting trip back home! (Yes, I'm writing this from home - Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia!) For the Lunar New Year, I took 12 days of my annual leave. (Gonna be a tough rest of the year, with 6 days left for the entire year.) It was all good until the night before my flight, where the weather forecast for the next day was turning tricky in NYC. I had half of my luggage packed (1 suitcase with all the foodstuff: dried plums aka 'prunes', dried apricots, dried cranberry aka 'craisins', almonds, peanut butter, jelly belly and macadamia nuts, all ~40 pounds worth of food) and some of the essentials clothing in the other semi-packed. Thinking that I had the entire night to pack, I decided to work til ~6.30pm on Tuesday night.Things got interesting for me as while I was on the phone with my realtor, sorting out communications for the next two weeks when I'm back at home, I got another call coming in. I ignored it and got a voicemail. It was my travel agent. Eff! Apparently, my flight from Boston Logan international airport to JFK the next morning was canceled. I tried calling American Airlines (AA) to talk about when will be my next flight if I were to miss this one. Because of the inclement weather, I was waiting on the phone for a good 20 minutes before I got to talk to someone, and another good 20 minutes for the personnel to searching for possible flights and all, before him telling me that it will be a good week (today) before I can get another flight home. TROUBLE!While waiting on the phone, my mind was wandering everywhere, and I was talking to Mel on Gchat, thinking about possible routes, and finally, I decided to check if there will be a train that can take us to NYC that night. Or, as a last resort, there's always the 'dependable' Chinatown bus. So, I gave up on the AA's help, and decided to take the chances of going to JFK by land and hoping that the flight out of JFK will not be canceled. If it were to be canceled, I was thinking that what I could do will be to stay in NYC til Sunday and go back to work (instead of going home) the next week.At that time, it was around 7.30pm. I took a quick shower and rushed to pack the remaining suitcase and cleared the trash and left my apartment at around 5 past 8. It was a total mad dash and I was pretty sure I was going to forget something because I was too lazy to prepare a packing list this time around. Fortunately, I had placed all those important documents into my bag the day before. Knowin that things that I will forget are things that I can live without. So far, things that I found out that I forgot : Some clothes, my sunglasses, my SD card for my camera (so much so for clearing the SD card so that I can take more pictures)...So, I reached my friend's place at 9.05pm. Our cab to Boston South Station was already there. Drove with him to his workplace and back so that I can park at his place. Finally, left his place at around 9.20pm. Thankfully, the cab was willing to wait for us without charge, we gave him a rather generous tip for that. We reached the South Station at around 9.50pm, we missed the 9.45pm train. So, we ended up taking the infamous Chinatown bus (Fung Wah to be precise) at 10pm to NYC.Normally, the bus ride takes about 4 hours, with a short stop after a couple hours for passengers to grab a bite or to take a P... I guess it was because of the weather getting worse (forecasted), they didn't stop and drove straight to NYC. We reached NYC with my empty stomach (didn't have dinner and only had 1 packet of Cheezit and a couiple of clementines for lunch) at 1.30am. From Chinatown, my buddy and I walked to the nearest subway station, took the J train [...]



Making an assumption that...

2010-02-08T20:14:30.972-05:00

you are smart...

http://toughguide.blogspot.com/2010/01/5-mistakes-smart-people-make.html

I was only skimming this, but think that it's good and relevant. Enjoy!



Quote of the Day!

2010-02-05T07:43:02.288-05:00

"Due to the "proration provision" of the 1986 Tax Reform, tax exempt income
is not completely tax exempt for insurers. "



Cold... So cold

2010-01-30T23:27:51.148-05:00

The month of January just went by like that. Everything was like a blur to me now. I wanted to post quite some thoughts, but it's all so blurry, and no longer seems that significant now. So, guess I'm not gonna waste words on them.While work's been getting most of my attention at the moment, studying is definitely getting more and more of my attention apart from work.My daily drill (weekdays): Study 6am - 8am (+1 or 2 hours of study time), work til 5/6pm. Gym for a 3-mile run. Study 9 - 10+pm... Repeat...Also, in other news, I'm looking. Been thinking about doing so for awhile now. You know, it's been 1.5 years out of college, and things are settling down. Given the current situation, I think it's a good time for me to be looking. So, you guys have any good recommendations, please send it my way. Of course, I want one that's close by so that I don't have to deal with the long distance, which can be stressful in the long run. At first, I was only looking online, then my colleagues told me that I should get some outside help. So, I did. Make a phone call, and we met once for a few hours and it was insightful. Oh wait, I wasn't crystal clear in saying what I'm looking. I'm looking to buy my first place. I want it to be somewhere close to work, and I met up with a realtor couple weeks ago after searching online to see what's available in the area. LOL!For some reasons, this month, I did quite a few things that's out of my box. Last week, I went to a concert with a couple of colleagues. It was Skillet, Puddle of Mudd and Shinedown. We went to the House of Blues Boston for the concert after work last Tuesday. It was certainly fun.Then, this morning, I went to ice fish with my colleagues. It was bad timing as today was cold. The temperature, without considering the windchill was at 0 degree Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius). The whole experience was great. We had some grilling, chatted a little while waiting for the fish to take our baits, and played football. We caught five fishes, and released them though all of them were keep-able (more than 12 inches in length). I would definitely go again because it was fun. Hopefully, it's not that cold the next time.Not me...The drill... The ice was about 1-foot thick...Me with a bait...Flag UP --> There's a bite!Here fishy fishy![...]



An update...

2009-12-19T19:56:56.174-05:00

Seems like I'm slacking more and more when it comes to updating my blog. I think it's my fault of setting a really low target of updating it once a month at least. Even that, I think I'm barely meeting the minimum. Oh well, I'll try to make up for the lack of frequency with severity. So, I'll try to write a long one here.

Thanksgiving came and I didn't travel to Richmond, VA like I did last year. I didn't spend much on Black Friday either. I bought a shoe rack, a couple sets of tools and a vacuum cleaner. I'm so proud of myself for not succumbing to all the 'temptations'. What I did over the long weekend was just eating, drinking, watching tv and reading. How relaxing!

Can't believe it's December already! Well... in less than 3 weeks, I'll be done for the year. I'll be heading down to VA to celebrate Christmas and New Year. On the way back from VA, I'll be stopping in NY to attend my cousin's wedding dinner. Maybe even stay a day or two in NYC. :-)
However, that translates into slightly longer work hours, just to make sure I can get my stuff done before I take my vacation for the year.

(Took another week off here...)
Last week, in separate visits to stores and Amazon.com (thanks Trent for hooking me up with Amazon Prime!), my Christmas shopping's done. I still need to wrap them up, most probably will do that while watching football tomorrow.

Anyway, just found out that I PASSED CAS 6!!! So, 6 downs, 3 more to go.

I've been reading more, as some of you might be able to tell with those quotes and all. Currently, I'm reading Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres. Hopefully to be able to get a few more books in before I start studying for CAS 7. Given CAS 7's reputation (most material among all CAS exams), I'm pretty sure I'll be spending much more time preparing for the exam. Also, given it's the exam to ACAS, a lot more is at stake. :-)

So, working on Monday, and I'll be done for the year! I've said 'time flies' too many times now, but really, it certainly does. In less than 2 weeks, we will be entering the year of 2010. That's mind boggling!

Again, it's been an amazing year. Just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me in any way.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy this video by Straight No Chaser - an a capella group with their version of 12 Days of Christmas

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Another quote...

2009-12-13T18:10:34.479-05:00

Hi guys,

I'm writing another post which isn't a quote, but that's going nowhere at the moment.

So, here's another quote, this time, from Superfreakonomics: Global cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and why Suicide Bombers should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner.

"Who among us wants to describe ourselves as "typical"? If, for instance, you added up all the women and men on the planet, you would find that, on average, the typical adult human being has one breast and one testicle - and yet how many people fit that description?



That's why I read...

2009-11-27T08:54:30.651-05:00

Lifted from Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" (Yes, I started this a year ago, was halfway into it and actuarial exams took over... and a few other books to be blamed.)

"A recent study found the average American golfer walks about 900 miles as year. Another study found American golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, American golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon.
Kind of makes you proud.
~From the Internet"



Minesweeper...

2009-11-01T06:56:57.829-05:00

This is hilarious!

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Finally, it's over... It's done...

2009-10-29T21:37:17.415-05:00

So, for those that know actuarial reserving, enjoy!

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Winter's here..

2009-10-18T17:21:51.188-05:00

Hi guys! Sorry for the long hiatus from updating my blog.

Anyway, I've been around. Just that I didn't have the desire to update this blog. I can't even pin point why the lack of desire but many times I wanted to write something, I just ended up watching some tv shows and forgot about what I wanted to write.

So, enough is enough, instead of watching the tv exclusively, I decided to write this post while watching the tv. Problem solved. Currently, I'm watching the New England Pats kicking the Tennessee Titan's ass, badly. Not sure if it's really the weather, but Titan is just playing so badly that it's not even fun to watch.

Anyway, lately, life's been pretty routine. Work is work, exciting and frustrating at the same time. There's the ups and downs as expected. Other than that, there's the studying. I've been going into office at 6, study til 9/10 for the last 2+ months. Sometimes, there's the additional hour or two at night. So, with all that, the gym sessions are getting less.

Few weeks back, I went to DC for an exam seminar. It was a 5-day seminar, Friday through Tuesday. It was rather rough as I flew down to DC on Friday morning, and flew back on Tuesday afternoon. So, woke up at 2.30am of that Friday, get ready and all, drove to the airport and reaching there at around 4am for my 6am flight. Got into DC at about 7.50am and caught the shuttle that took me to Hyatt Reston, where the seminar was. Everything went smoothly. Checked into my room at lunch. First day was not too bad, other than I had 4 coffee throughout the day. Was too lazy and tired to venture out to get dinner, hence, grabbed dinner at Panera and used their wi-fi to check my work email and stuff, and drop dead at 8.30pm. At first, I was planning to wake up early the next day to go to the gym, but I was just too tired. For the next 3.5 days, it was pretty much breakfast, seminar, lunch, seminar, dinner. Repeat.

It was a good 'break' away from work, and to eat out for dinner every night. But, I'm not sure if that's what I can do all the time (which will be very likely if I decide to pursue a job with in the actuarial consulting line.) Part of me want something like that, to be on the run, fast-pace work kinda life, but a part of me also want something more constant, something that I can return to after work. Yeah, that's what keeping me up at night (not really, but that's what on my mind.)

Also, seems like the weather totally skipped Fall, and it's already Winter. It snowed last Thursday night (Oct 15th) and it's snowing heavily outside at the moment (Oct. 18th). Go figure.

I'll be flying back to Ann Arbor this Friday for the Math Career Conference, recruiting effort for my company. It's gonna be fun, to be able to go back to Ann Arbor since leaving close to 1.5 years ago right after graduation in April 2008. So, will be able to see a bunch of my friends and few professors!

Also, I bought tickets to fly home for CNY next year! Will be home for 2 weeks! That's only 3.5 months away. Excited!

That's all for now! Take care guys!



And i'm counting again...

2009-08-23T16:59:13.551-05:00

This time, is how long it's been since stepping into US for the very first time. Exactly5 years!5 years ago, a bunch of us left home for US. Come to think about it, it had been a great journey. While I had some rough idea about what to expect when coming to college in the States, there were so many things that happened exceeded what I asked for and then some.Through the 5 years, I've learned a lot about myself and have made some good and also some questionable decisions that I wished I can reverse. But how one thing leads to another and all really have me thinking that things do happen for a reason.I guess one can't help but to learn to be independent and to grow and mature when you are alone. And, I like it.5 years. That's a long time for someone who's not even 25 yet.Highlight of every year: (I think it's easier for me to look at this in an academic year basis, as compared to calendar year basis).Freshman year - Traveling to NYC and Washington, DC. That was an amazing experience, as not only it was an eye-opener to visit all the tourist spots, it was also a great trip with good company.I was also glad that I made the decision to stay back in the States over the Summer as that was when I actually had the more 'real' US college experience, where I stayed in a house with 5 housemates that I didn't know going in, where I went to several parties and where I started working for real.Sophomore year - Traveling to Florida (Disneyworld and Miami). That was fun too. Started working over the school year. Also, during Spring Break, I volunteered on a farm in TX. It was fun as a group of 10 of us drove down to TX and back. It was a totally different experience as I don't think I've ever work in a farm (milking goat, weeding and planting, and etc).Went home over the Summer and interned with Accenture. It was a good experience as well. It was good to be home after 2 years.Junior year - Went to England and Ireland during Spring break. Interned at Hanover Insurance Company. That was another interesting story as the timing was really tight. After my actuarial exam in late May, I went to Midwest games, and then, the next day coming back from the games, I flew out to Massachusetts for the interview for that internship position. And, at the end of the month, I got the offer. Between then and the starting date (June 12th, 2007), I needed to settle my housing over the Summer in Worcester, MA and also, to purchase a car, so that I can drive out there for the job. It was quite a feeling to be making so many big decisions and boy, my parents were worried. As I didn't have the chance to drive much while I was back home, I wasn't an experienced driver, even for a young driver's standard. So, the whole driver half way across the country alone idea didn't boil well with my parents.Senior year - Well. I took less classes. Accepted the offer from Hanover. Went to Yosemite National Park, drove through Death Valley, then Grand Canyon, last but not least Las Vegas. Taught an exam preparation class. Graduated in April. Dad came for graduation and stayed for a couple of months.First year out of college - Started my job on 2nd of June. It's been more than 14 months, and I still like the challenge from my job. That plus studying for exam really keeps me busy. Ran my first marathon last October. Initially planned to run 2 marathons this year, but injured my calf in June, and had to stop running for close to 2 months. Started running again though my calf still not at 100%, hopefully, I can increase my mileage enough to ru[...]



4th of July Weekend...

2009-07-05T22:08:28.257-05:00

Last year, I celebrated 4th of July weekend with family in Richmond, VA. Can't believe it had been a year.This year, the weekend wasn't plan until last week, when I met up with Teck Hua for dinner and Transformers, where we bounced the idea around of going up North. After asking a few more friends and getting suggestions and recommendations all around, we decided to go to Acadia National Park, ME. And it wasn't until late Wednesday night when we started looking up rooms and booked a motel room at the very last second. So, the plan is: May Ying will take a bus from NYC Friday early morning to Boston, we will pick her up, lunch, then drive to Bar Harbor, ME.I was running a little late on Friday morning (there was a line at the ATM and I needed to get gas). So, I was 20 minutes late picking up Teck Hua, and then May Ying waited at the bus station for a good 20 minutes. I'm sorry!So, we had lunch at Chinatown. The serving was huge. I had salted fish fried rice, May Ying ordered a bowl of noodles, and TH a bowl of porridge. We sorta split the dishes 'family-style'. The food was pretty good. Anyway, we left Boston Chinatown at about 1pm for Bar Harbor, ME.The traffic wasn't bad at all, there was a section where it was slightly congested, for a short period of 20-30 minutes, and that was it. From one of our emails, Mel (the poor thing that got too excited about the trip and had a gastric attack earlier in the week and decided to bail out) mentioned those 'cute little towns' in Maine. So, we decided to punch in 'shortest route' instead of 'fastest route' into our GPS and the it took us through some rather interesting towns and little roads. We stopped by a souvenir shop and also a strawberry stand. We were told that Maine strawberries are really sweet, but, the ones that we ate were rather sour. But it was really flavorful though. I bought a jar of strawberries jam, and we shall find out.So, we continue our journey by the back roads, and it was a good while before I decided that it was the same 'cute little towns' scenery that I grew tired of and decided to go for the fastest route to our destination. We reached The Villager Motel, smacked right in the middle of Bar Harbor, ME at 15 minutes past 6. We checked in, walked to the information center to get some answers and maps, and then it's time for dinner. For dinner, it was planned well before hand that we will be going to my friend, David's family seafood restaurant, Lobster Pot in Ellsworth, ME. The dinner was amazing. (I had a lobster pie dinner, TH got a surf and turf, MY got a lobster dinner), and I was able to catch up with David too. Awesome! Thanks!After dinner, we drove back to Bar Harbor. We drove up to Cadillac Mountain, hoping that we will be able to see night sky with stars, but it was really foggy and the drive up was rather dangerous. It was so foggy that we could barely see the Moon. So, we decided to call it a night and to wake up early the next morning for the sunrise. As it's the Summer right now, waking up for the sunrise means waking up at 4ish. We woke up at 4am and got to Cadillac Mountain again at 4.45am. We were there, and saw about 5-6 other cars up there. It was even foggier than the night before. So, we were shit outta luck. We walked along some easy trails and took some pictures, and left at 6.30am. On the way down, we saw the Sun being way up high, and as it was still foggy, it was still kinda nice and we took some pictures then. Then, we went back to our room, changed and packed and ch[...]



Some updates!

2009-06-30T04:36:33.894-05:00

I'll try to do this in as little words as possible.Last weekend, saw Transformers 2, or Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen. I enjoyed it a lot. Explosions, computer graphics, car-chasing scenes and Megan Fox. Sometimes, it's really enjoyable to just be able to watch a movie without having to think much... Call it low brow, but, I enjoyed myself.I injured my leg running a couple weeks back. It's healing slowly, but it's getting there... So, I can walk fine, but just can't run... my right calf still can't handle much impact yet. On a somewhat related not, a new wall-climbing gym just open for business a month or two ago. It's really close to my workplace and a bunch of us go there weekly. After a couple of climbs, I decided that I like it, like it enough to buy my own gears... so, I have my climbing shoes... and also a complete set of indoor climbing gear... Harness, carabiner, belaying device (ATC), chalk bag....On a totally unrelated note. I was sorta on a spending mood last weekend, and my friend commented that the walls on my apartment need some love, some personal touch... So, i decided to pick up a few frames and hang up some pictures... So, below are some pictures in pictures...I love this picture of me staring into the great Grand Canyon...Some pictures of Michigan... the Union on the right, and the bell tower on the leftthe Union on the left and the bell tower on the right.So, yeah, I'm liking it... it seems more homely now... guess i might pick up a few more frames and do something more about it...And another note. I passed exam 5. :-)[...]



Too much TV...

2009-06-21T16:00:58.509-05:00

So, I've been watching way too much television shows lately. So, most sports ended last week (NBA, NHL), and I don't really watch baseball as there are just way too many games played every season. But, instead of spending less time in front of the screen, I'm just spending the hours watching new shows and movies.

Finally, I'm actually utilizing my netflix subscription to its potential. To give you a sense of how much TV shows I watched, last weekend, I saw 5 movies and countless more hours of HGTV and Food Network shows.

This weekend, I saw 2 more movies and more than 5 hours of HGTV. And on top of that, all 7 episodes of season 13 of South Park. I think I missed the entire season 12 as well. But, that's too much to catch up this weekend. Maybe next weekend.

Also, started watching a new drama series Leverage. Interesting so far.

I partly blame my watching more TV on my injured right leg. I still can't run on it. Walking is fine, but I soon as I put more weight on it, my right calf aches... I'll give it another week, if it doesn't heal completely, I'll have to seek for some treatment. Absolutely not what I want to do.

Other than watching tv, there's also more cooking and baking going on around here. I baked another sheet of brownies again today. This time, instead of marshmallow creme and chocolate frosting, it's butterscotch, peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels as toppings. It got a little messy as I tried to cut it before it's fully cooled down (thinking that it will be hard to cut it once it's cooled and the topping hardened). But I like this week's brownies better as it's even richer with all those morsels.



How much...?

2009-06-14T19:04:04.281-05:00

So, my obsession with numbers/counting continues... So, it's been a slightly more than a year since I moved into this apartment. And, I just renewed my contract to stay in the same place for another year. Guess, I'll try to save up some money and see what's next. Maybe I might decide to move into my own place next year. Maybe I might decide to move to another apartment next year.So, in a year, I used about 1 liter of cooking oil. What else?4 tubes of toothpaste,4 toothbrushes,48 rolls of toilet paper,7 rolls of paper towel,250 sandwich bags,6 boxes of facial tissue,300 bags of teabag,4lbs of brown sugar,...Anyway, I wanted to start studying this weekend, but instead, I decided to procrastinate a little longer. To effectively do so, other than watching movies and sporting events, I came up with something even more creative. That is, to make brownies... (inspired by my manager a month back as a pick me up for us who were studying and a colleague who brought brownies in a couple weeks back,).So, it turned out really well, much better than I expected. The ingredients... Baking spray, marshmallow creme, chocolate fudge frosting, chocolate fudge brownie mix (not in the picture: a pinch of salt (even though it's not mentioned in the instruction, I was told by my mom that you need salt for whatever you cook/bake...), 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of cooking oil (which pretty much finished that liter of cooking oil).Mix the ingredient and spread them onto a baking tray...350 degrees and 29 minutes later... this is the semi-finished product... well, semi-finished because I decided to go fancy than just plain brownie...20 minutes later, when it's cooled down, I spread a thin layer of marshmallow breme on it.Then, I add some chocolate fudge frosting onto it, spreading it with a butter knife in a circular motion to give that swirling effect...To give it some room to be cut into slices, I took away about half an inch from the side so that I can have some sliding room for those cut slices so that they are well separated (also, so that I can eat that half inch that I took away). It came out really much better than what I expected it to be... Must be from all the watching my mom making all the cookies and cakes when I was growing up. Or just because I can follow instructions well... :-)So, will let you know what my colleagues think tomorrow... Who knows, this might sprawl a bake-off...Either way, I successfully procrastinated studying.[...]