Archive for January, 2009

Finals Overload

Oh boy, oh boy.

With finals coming up, I am quite overloaded.

For English, we have a 40 minute presentation for our final. Which my group has not rehearsed yet.

For biology, we have a lab as our final, with the possibility of having to arrive an hour before school for more time, since my biolgy teacher and my lab group are notoriously inefficient.

For spanish, I have a big fat test that I luckily do not have to worry too much about.

For pre-calc, I have to study about 700 pages worth of formulas, theorems, and whatnot.

For orchestra, I have to play in a quartet, and we still haven’t got the entire piece down, not to mention the finer things like dynamics and the bliddy ornamental notes that keep messing me up.

For physical education, we have to play football.

But before the actual finals arrive, I have to study four chapters of AP Biology for the last test tomorrow, which will probably make or break my grade. With a chapter taking up to 30 minutes to read and my teacher having the uncanny ability to place whatever I happened to miss in my studying on my test, it’s just cutting it too close.

Tomorrow night, I have to meet up for that stupid English Shakespeare project.

Tonight, I have to go celebrate Chinese New Year’s with my grandpa.

In the long term, I have to memorize eight pages for the Orchestra Benefit Dinner, and learn another inch of music. “You have a lot on our plate,” said the less pleasant of our two orchestra directors. Well guess what, it’s your fault that we have “a lot on our plate.” You’re the one who decided to add another event to our calendar which threw everything into chaos. Plus, you don’t even have to memorize anything.

OK. I think I just got that all out of my system. Sort of.



January 26, 2009 at 6:34 PM 2 comments

Obama’s Inauguration

So today was Inauguration Day, the day that we’ve been waiting three months for ever since we elected him last year in November.

Of course, as my orchestra director reminded us, it is important to remember that all inaugurations are historical, not just Obama’s because it’s the first time that we’ve ever had an African American as President.

Now I’m not going to nitpick over Obama’s speech, like everyone else it was doing. Nothing less was expected. After all, he is a politician, and part of the job requirement is being a savvy talker.

What I am going to nitpick over is the rest of the inauguration events.

I know that African Americans are stereotyped as soulful, deeply religious people with a talent for singing soul music. However, I find that turning the ceremony into a ginormous, televised preaching seems unnecessary, and even ridiculous. That preacher towards the end of the ceremony, prior to the anthem, put me to sleep, to be frank. And I don’t quite understand what “yeller be meller” is supposed to mean. It’s also quite interesting considering how Obama has refrained from pulling the race card, only to emphasize it now, after he has taken the oath.

Furthermore, about the singer who sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” – is it really necessary to butcher up a song like that? I mean, variation is nice, but I can’t even understand what she was singing.

Then we have the poet. I hate poets. They should all be part of the Dead Poets society. Someday, her poem (which makes no sense) could be put to used to torture innocent English students who will have to analyze it. The only reason why I can’t say it was the preacher was because I was already sleeping, and the preacher made me sleepier.

The highlight of the day (besides the Address) was the tribute by Yo Yo Ma and the other musicians.

Anyhow, none of those things really mattered. Obama’s our President now and we’ve got to support him, because it’s up to him to pull our country out of the bugger we’re currently in.

January 20, 2009 at 9:58 PM 2 comments

Old House Nostalgia

When we bought our new house, here in wherever I’m at, we sold our old house to my mom’s sister. After living in it for a little while, she moved to somewhere in Northern California, and rented her house.

Rented her house for fifteen hundred dollars a month. You could buy a twelve pretty laptops every year! And to think my dad didn’t want to rent it because it was “too much work.” I’d go through “work” for that.

Anyways, so we were visiting our old house as the “agent” to some prospective renters for our aunt, who was a couple hundred miles away. My brother and I went through it, pointing every which way and saying, “Remember that…” and “We used to do this…” and good old nostalgia. Mom pointed out a rose bush near the driveway. “You crashed into that while learning to ride your bike. I was surprised you still kept learning.” Of course, I’m not a quitter.

Meanwhile, my mom and dad were picking tangerines and kumquats from the trees that our grandfather had planeted for us while we still lived there. Then our neighbor, a very nice old man and lady, came out. My dad’s like, “Forgot about us?” And she’s like, “No. Save some tangerines for us.”

Finally, we went around to the front. There was a whole bunch of mail left for the previous tenants, who were evicted after being suspected for committing some shady actions.

Among the piles and piles of mail, we found this rather large box.

It was from a company called Kyäni. Maybe we shouldn’t have opened it, but open it we did. Inside was a bottle of omega-3 pills labeled Kyäni Sunset, some thing called NitroFX, and this 32 oz. bottle of stuff called Kyäni Sunrise.

Remember the “shady actions” of the previous tenant? Well, suddenly we had this weird suspicion that these products could possibly some front for some, er, illegitimate substances.

According to the labels of the bottles, these products were some kind of health products. The nutrition facts of the Sunrise bottle:

Kyäni Overdose

3333% of Vitamin B12 seems a bit excessive. Looking at the other extremely high nutrients, my mom got this idea that whoever ordered it was impotent and that this bottle was liquid Viagra.

Whatever it is, I’m not drinking it, even though wolfberries and bee pollen sound better than whatever was in my Chinese herbal medicine.

January 19, 2009 at 2:48 PM 1 comment

CPK is Overrated

This Saturday, my mom invited one of her college friends over. We were going to go to eat at California’s Pizza Kitchen. I always used to think the place was one of the better places to get pizza, but now I know I’m mistaken.

First off, the wait. Unbelievably long. It’s only pizza (and pasta). Pizza is supposed to be practically fast food. Which means premade dough and everything. And it has unusually good business for being not so great.

Then, the pizza. California Pizza Kitchen does not make crappy pizzas, I will say that. It even has quite a large variety of toppings. Unfortunately, most of this variety seems to consist of different kinds of chicken. Original BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Mango Tandoori Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Chipotle Chicken, Greek Pizza (chicken), Thai Chicken, Roasted Garlic Chicken, and Santa Fe Chicken.

Chicken is great, don’t get me wrong, but where is the steak? The only one happens to be the Carne Asada. My brother ordered it, and it came with this eensy weensy bit of decent beef on each slice, which totaled about ten, teaching a lesson to never trust the pictures (see below). Luckily, I went on a hunch and ordered the Works, which had more meat, albeit in non-Kosher pork products like sausage and pepperoni.

Carne Asada Pizza. Photo from CPK.

Finally, there is the size/cost ratio. Size does matter. Smaller does not equal better, especially when you’re charging twelve dollars per plate of pizza. At Costco’s, I can get a Supreme Pizza big enough to feed a family. There may not be any exotic toppings, nor beef, but then I still have a dollar or two left to spend on some beef jerky.

So while CPK might make good food, its pizzas are priced and sized like gourmet foods, which they are not (who ever heard of a gourmet pizza?). On a side note, its pastas are like its pizzas. I once bought a dish of Four Cheese Ravioli. No matter how fine the cheese or how perfect the pasta, the four or five meager raviolis that arrived were not worth the ten bucks I paid for it.

4 Cheese Ravioli. Photo from CPK.

Fine, maybe there were even seven, like in the picture. Still not worth it.

P.S.: Whoever buys the veggie pizzas deserves to be ripped off.

January 14, 2009 at 6:04 PM 3 comments

School Resolves to Sweep

It is Chinese tradition to avoid sweeping during the New Year’s for fear of sweeping away the good luck.

However, the school administration, with no such superstitious fears, has implemented a new plan that seems to be aimed at reducing student tardies this 2009.

At eight o’clock sharp, when the bell beeps, all teachers are to lock their doors, locking late students out to picked up by deans with “smug looks” in tardy sweeps, as they are called. These collected students are then recorded before being released to their classrooms – quite a while later, depending on the number of students “swept.”

Quite a counterproductive measure, if you ask me, or any number of other students who have the same opinion. Instead of missing a minute or two of class, these tardy sweeps force the student to miss upwards of valuable class time, and then waste a lunch serving detention, with is simply having to “sit quietly, and do whatever on the benches [in the gym] … but no talking”, as a sophomore, serving no other purpose than to turn into impatient vegetables.

Other students also noted that these tardy sweeps may in fact raise the number of absences, as students will leave campus and miss the period altogether rather than getting caught.

During an Inter-Club Council meeting today, some students felt that the staff conducting the sweeps would be better used for campus beautification, and one master of the obvious said, “I’m very unsatisfied” and that there should be no harsh consequences whatsoever, such as death by boredom.

But until the administration reconsiders, if it does, then the only solution will be include being on time in your New Year’s resolutions list.

January 5, 2009 at 10:54 PM 1 comment

Spoonful of Sugar

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine, unless you know what happens to be in your medicine.

I’ve had a cough for the past two weeks – all of Winter Break, and my mom decided to ask some doctor she’s been seeing for a Chinese herbal medicine recipe that might help me.

I believe it will be best described visually:

Herbal Blend

Herbal Blend - Bugs

Yes, that’s right. Bugs – or at least the shells. It’s not as bad as newt’s eye or toad’s wart, I suppose.

Oh, and it even needs a special pot to brew it in.

Herbal Blend - the Pot

It takes about six hours and eight cups of water to boil down to one drinkable cup, probably full of fortified vitamins from the bug shells.

The end result:

Herbal Medicine - the Result

If you stare back at the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back at you. The black stuff had an extremely bitter pretaste, taste, and aftertaste. It was slightly sweet, like a spoonful of sugar, but it wasn’t enough to make it go down with any ease.

It’s funny, though. The first bowl was the easiest to drink, and they got progressively harder, until I discovered that chewing up an orange-flavored vitamin C tablet beforehand was the spoonful of sugar needed to make the medicine go down.

After this, I should go on Fear Factor.

By the way, happy New Year 2009.

January 1, 2009 at 9:22 PM 3 comments


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