Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Amazing footwork!

I wish I can do tricks like him!

Monday, May 29, 2006

This is my childhood...

This is my entire childhood compressed into the following 3 video AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Picture at SF Apple Store

Me and Tammy have developed a habbit of dropping by the Apple Store near Powell Street everytime we hang out in SF, taking a picture with the built-in camera with one of the iMacs on display and sending back to us with the email function. Here's one we took recently when we're out in SF...

Tammy's 日本料理!

A while ago Tammy pulled off a great Japanese meal and we took some great pictures of her dish. Finally got the chance to post them here...

Sushi with some avocadro love...

This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! Mussels with "dynamite sauce"...

hmm...finished vs unfinished..

Sushi stack-up...


hmm...close-up of shushi stack-up

All together now!

Date out with Tammy

It's been a while since me and Tammy went on a "date". So now that my finals are all done, we decided to head down to "Tastes", this new wine bar/restaurant up in the Shattuck gourmet district, which is just 5 min walk from our apartment!

It's a pity we didn't take a picture of Tam's new dress...she's quite a dish wearing that new yellow dress :p

We were seated in a table outside. It's kinda cold but fortunately they have this "fire place post/stand?" beside our table.

A pic taken from our table...the sun's's almost 9pm.


So I ordered a certain "something something Ahi" looks fancy, the name's fancy...but it sure tastes great!

Tammy also ordered a fish dish...equally yummy!

Street-singing pics

Street-singing at Telegraph/Bancroft junction in Berkeley (my buddy Taksi happened to pass by on ghis way to campus and took this pictures...)

...and the times they are a-changin'...

The one-man band.

Ok...where're my lyrics??

I sang 2 duets (The Boxer and Scarborough Fair) with this dude at the Berkeley BART station. He's got a great voice!

The oaccasional passers-by on wanna show me their "stuff"...

Story in May

In my opinion, this is the best song I've ever written.

Dark Side of the Road

This is a song I wrote many years ago. Still love it thou. The clip was taken during a U-Mich EECS Bash early last year.

I've also decided to setup another blog here that will only have postings regarding my music stuff. Enjoy :)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bay to Breakers (SF 12K run)

"Bay to Breakers" is a major San Francisco event where each year, 40-50 thousands people will gather at one end of the city and run to the other end, covering a total of 12km. It is not your usual running event though, more like a second Halloween in a year; just look at the pics below...

Me posing with a fellow "runner"...I don't think it's a fair game at all...he's got wings man..

The "calm" before the storm???? It was raining tortillas before the start of the race...apparently a tradition of the event...yeah i know, it's a complete and utter waste of food, but hell lot of fun!

A dejected Roman soldier sits alone after being abandoned by his comrades...

Some runners, mostly beyond their 50s (at least those I've seen), chose to be go the all-natural route...evidently, the young and naked crowd were mostly at the back of the pack...hmm, something tells me I shouldn't have run so fast..

This guy REALLY likes balloons!

Now that's what I call teamwork man! Be prepared to suffer from a crushing neck if you run slower than the rest of the team...

...a car...a slow car...

An upslope stretching over about 6 blocks...

The Roman soldier press on...

Shong: I'm

Me: Good to go...

Flash getting interviewed...tell you one thing thou..Flash aint like what his name would suggest...I saw 2 Batman and 1 superwoman cross the finish line before him...

The race ends at the west end of the city...behind me is the roaring pacific ocean...

Another dude getting over-excited over the fact that he is naked...

These guys must have had a hard time running with the Ostrich necks sticking up

Sweet Mac Hack!

From the guy's blog: "Turns out, the laptop has a built-in motion sensor. Nominally, it's there to protect the internal hard drive....also be used in situations not involving lobbing the laptop across the room, fun though that may be."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Toilet Humor

That's what I call teamwork and multi-tasking. hahahhaa

Friday, May 19, 2006

3D display!

One of the better attempts at creating a 3D display that I've seen...

PS: I hate whoever is spaming my comments!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Treat your mother right"

hahahahhaha....saw this last yr...found it on GVOD today again....hilarity ensues..

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My animation project!

"Little Joe & Mr MoJo"

This is the hard work of me, Jeff and Corrine over the past 2 months. I'm not gonna say that this is the most engaging stuff I've posted here, but there are definitely some cool moments (check out the Saxophone breaking apart and the "X-ray" scenes!).

Friday, May 12, 2006

The genius of George Bush

Hmm...Actually I think Bush is a passionate man with many ideals I can relate to. But that doesn't mean he can lead a country. I'm not sure if he can lead at all after watching this...

Yoda dancing.

Saw this a while ago, then saw it again todayh at GVOD. Worth a post.

What is podcasting?

LOL!!!! hhahahaha...this Ninja reminds me abit of Ali G..

Ask a Ninja!

Ninja knows all!!!! Ask a Ninja here.

8 hours of street-singing...

Over 2 days that is. I finally got a breather after submitting my paper on "3D stress simulation on FinFET mobility" (don't know what it means? me neither!) and since the saxophone animation project has more or less wrapped up, I decided it's high time to have some fun. So I ended up street-singing for 5 hours in Berkeley and 3 hours in San Francisco and here's a list of interesting/bizarre things that happened:

1. I've had more "interactions' with police officers over the past 2 days than my entire life thus far. Funny thing is they never ask me to stop singing or leave, instead their "requests" is always something really petty. Some samples:

"Please turn your speaker 10 degrees to the right..."
"You have to be situated at least 10 feet from any property...and yes, it includes this dustbin over here..."
"You can't sing here, you have to sing here.." (while pointing at a place barely 3 feet away from where I was standing)

2. Berkeley is not really a street-singing paradice, so there's little spacial competition among street musicians, thou it's definitely not the case in SF. I was initially singing at the Powell Street Cable Car station, until this tap dancing dude came around and tell me that it is his "spot"...

3. I've earned over $60 these 2 days, of which none of it came from a Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan-wannabes/'s usually old folks, working adults, occasionally students and yes, the homeless too!

4. When you're part of the "street life", you do get a lot more chance to interact with the homeless. I've had a homeless guy who kept requesting and eventually hijacked my PA system to sing a tune (and finally saying that I'm jealous of his talents when I took back my PA system and continued singing), another guy who placed his bucket/cup right next to mine and another homeless dude who's really against all stereotypes of a homeless person (he's chinese, he's around my age, and he's from Hong Kong). All in all, it's been interesting talking to these folks, and I've on accasions given some of my "earnings" to them to get something from the hot dog stand nearby.

5. Surprisingly, the Americans seem to enjoy it when I sing Chinese songs.

6. You get the most random questions from passers-by...such as:

"dude, where can you buy a harmonica?" (I almost wanted to tell him you can only get it from China)
"Hey, are you a Korean?" (I was asked this question 3 times the past 2 days)
"I love that song by the Beatles!" (after I sung "Desperado" by The Eagles)

7. But most of all, the greatest thing about singing on the streets is the connection with the occasional passers-by who seems "touched" by the music; those moments definitely make my day! Some highlights:

- I was singing "Redemption Song/ Song of Freedom" by Bob Marley and this black woman started singing to the top of her voice (actualy more like howling since she wasn't singing in pitch at all) with me. Let me just say that at that moment, I can relate to those prisoners in "Shawshank Redemption" when they heard the uplifting voice of the Italian singers coming thro the PA.
- Fan notes and gifts...including a "Falun Gong" VCD...I have no idea why the girl give it to me, thou she did include $5 too..
- And the one that really made my day, "Young man, you've found your voice"

Conclusion: I'm totally gonna continue doing this when I'm back in good o' Singapore!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Big Sur Marathon

When I first arrived in Berkeley, I wrote down a list of 5 things I wanna accomplish before I head home to Singapore, one of them being "To run a Marathon". Well, I'm proud to say that I've finally done it! Initially, I thought that it'd be a neat way to test my self-discipline, considering that most of the running actually happens before the marathon itself, and of course keep fit at the same time. Having said that, I could not have pulled it off by myself without the company of my running buddies, 6~8 singaporeans who came together for the love of running, or the longing for pain! In any case, it's been a joy train4ing with these folks & boy, crossing the finish line is pure ecstacy!

The route:

Route (with Wayfaring):

The gang walking down the streets of Monterey...this could have been a very Reservoir Dog shot with some cool shades and black suits...

At the convention center where we picked up our goodie bags (with running tags, sensor chips, energy bars etc), Chengsi took a picture of this t-shirt...haha...anyway, there're many stores selling running-related merchandise... i ended up buying a Gore-tax-like "Wind Stopper" that's supposed to block wind without suffocating looks like a decent specialty windbreaker except for the fact that the texture is not exactly very smooth thing came to mind: "NIPPLES ABRASION"!...I guess i'd find out during the run..

The worst Japanese Restaurant in the world can be found in Monterey! It's called "Koto". Firstly it's clearly not authentic (they spelled "Koto" in English while the Japanese name they put there is "Kyoto"). Then they began to serve some of the worst 日本料理 I've had in my life...just look at the McDonald-inspired super-sized Sushi in the pic above...the rice in the sushi taste like chinese rice..plain wrong!! and then they made me wait 20 minutes for my food before they found out that they forgot my top it off they overcharge us by $30! Fortunately Siswi spotted the discrepancy before we leave this lousy place..

Back to the motel rooms after dinner, I was trying to force myself to sleep by 9pm. (Btw, our rooms are ridiculously HUGE! 2 king-sized bed for ~$98 per night...could easily fit all 8 of us into one room...though we booked 2 rooms at the beginning...which is fine too cos it means everyone get to sleep on the bed) Unfortunately, "Back to the future" was showing on TV and I just have to watch it...the other 3 guys try in vain to get some school work done...i brought my japanese textbook too, but as usual it didn't work out the way I envisioned it to be (study in car, study in motel, study before run etc)...

It's 3's's marathon time!

"Hey 2052, looking pretty good there..."

"Mr Barefoot Ken Bob, hmm, did you forget your shoes?"

First, the priest did a little prayer over the PA system, then they brought on an opera singer to sing the national anthem, which ended with the release of some 40 pigeons...a pretty dramatic way to start the race...and I'm pumped!

Chuo hao & Siswi: This is easy!

The woods looking misty...

"Run Forrest Run!"

I think i've run about 4-5 miles when I snapped this this point i was telling myself "Breath through your nose, only your nose, till the 16th mile". At this point I was also feeling an unusual muscle strain on my right shin, probably because i tied my shoelace too tightly...I wonder if this will get worse..

Ok, I have to admit Chengsi takes better picture than me...check out this pic she took here..

There're a few other runs going on at the same time, 5K, half-marathon and the relay runners are waiting anxiously for their teammates to my right shin is hurting even more, and I'm barely out of the 8 mile mark...crap!

The thing about hydrating yourself before the run is that u'd have to take a piss sooner or later...for some folks it means doing it the in-one-with-nature style...reminds me of the good old days when I was still serving in the army where "the world is your toilet". These guys are already pretty decent since they bothered to face outward, I actually saw a girl who took a piss right by the track, without any cover, facing the incoming runners!!! I have to think she's a show-off..

Well, some decent folks choose to stop and wait at the mobile toilets for their turns...probably also to catch some breath...another great pic by Chengsi...

Water!! Give me water! Oh wait, my right shin's not hurting no more! Oh yeah!

The mist slowly fading away on our right..

Though the pacific ocean on our left doesn't look too forgiving for now..

The road is long...

Very long...

Cow asks the philosophical question of the moment: "Why run, when you can eat grass?"

Another barefoot ranger, with his "flip-flop" SGT on his right...these guys are nuts! Anyway, my legs feel much better now, and I'm pretty comfortable with my breathing, though another thing has slowly nipples are starting to hurt!! crap...nipple abrasion! i've seen marathon runners who cross the finish line with bloody nipples before...i do not want bloody nipples...i repeat, I DO NOT WANT BLEEDING NIPPLES!

One of the many entertainers along the way...another sign of a very well-organized marathon...they have jazz bands, rock bands, drum ensemble...definitely makes the run more interesting...


More case you have not realized...we're gaining elevation...about 9 miles so far and feeling good...

Folks ahead of me, for the moment..hee

More folks ahead of me...shit!

Where ocean meets land...

The temperature actually dropped for a bit, especially after we started running along the sea...that's when I know I made a good investment in the "wind stopper"...i guess my nipples will have to be the sacrifice...

You can actually make out the "tiny dots" of runners mile ahead despite the misty weather...these guys are probably gonna qualify for boston...I told myself sub-5 will be something I can shoot for...sub-5..just breathe through the nose...till the 16th mile..

After this turn would be the much-feared 2-mile upslope..the "Hurricane Point"...a slope that makes this marathon "one of the toughest course in the country"...a desciption i only found out the day before at the convention center...well, we'd see if the slopes here beats those in Berkeley...

Ok..this dude in singlet is pretty much running alongside me throughout most of the race, which is fine except that he keeps farting!

Before Hurricane Point, the drum ensemble cheers us on...


Up some more!

Slopes like these beside the road has caused much problem (landslide) in the past Big Sur marathons, though it looks like they're quite well-behaved this yr..

Going higher...

Finally, the mid-point is in sight!

The dramatic Bixby Bridge marks the half-way point (13.1 mile) of the marathon...

Another angle of Bixby Bridge

On the bridge itself...

Looking down from the bridge...

The photographers get photographed...

I've seen this dude in the Big Sur seems that he's always wearing the same tuxedo...but the music is heaven to the ears...he really does play very nicely...and you can hear the piano half a mile away!

can you hear the piano? sweet~~

Can't help myself...have to get at least one pic with me in it...a kind marshall on a bike did me the favor, against the backdrop of a roaring pacific ocean...

Another band along the route...anyway, after the mid-point, my frequency of taking pictures have drastically reduced as the fatigue really set in...the first to give in was my left knee, then by mile 18, it was pretty much my entire lower body plus my back...this is when you know you haven't trained to enough to condition your body...

It's probably past 10:30am when I took this pic...I hate to stop because I know it'd take alot more determination to start running again once I've lost the momentum by stopping to take pictures...then again, this shot was really worth it..

It's mile 20 and I'm TIRED! I'm also getting more hungry with each mile...that's when the energy gel (packed like a packet of ketchup so you can squeeze out into your mouth as you run) that you receive from the stations (which are about 1.5 mile apart) really helps...I'm also drinking alot more at each station...

The sun's out...and I NEED H2O!!! Michael, keep breathing, through the nose...wait till mile 22...hold out..breathe...ok, getting bored...let's starting counting....1,2,3,4....50...I need H2O!

It helps to know that there're all these ppl running behind me...hahhaa

Run...with the wind...

More uplope????? What!!!

I know what you're thinking...this entry post is getting realli toooooo long...but then again, this is a Marathon post...gotta be this way...

I was hour ago...

This dude is AWESOME! If you have not realized yet..the support along the entire marathon is really sensational...we've got bands, piano, dancing, drums, orchestra, lots of local residents who choose to wake up early to cheer us on and of course, we have this DUDE...he's the guy shouting our timing at the 21 mile mark (my fav number too!)...and he was screaming at the top of his voice "DO WHAT I CANNOT DO...DO NOT LET YOUR WEARINESS BRING YOU DOWN..." and he was making such dramatic motion as if he's making some speech to his troops before the soldier go on a major any case, just wanna say to all the volunteers that I appreciate all the encouragement along the really makes the run so much more enjoyable..

Mile 21...still Mile 21...still Mile 21...where's Mile 22?...wait, Mile 23!!!!Damn! I was waiting for Mile 22 to start breathing through my mouth and now it's already Mile 23! I've wasted a mile of oxygen boost!! Oh well, not that it matters thou, the limiting factor is no longer my's my whole body...every step, every 0.1 degree of elevation is pain...but hey, I think I might be able to finish the race under 4:15!!! ...lovely beach there, but I can't stop to enjoy it now...I've got a Marathon to complete...

Instead of counting the miles's finally counting down!!!! 1 mile to go!! Before the race, I told myself that at this very end of the race, I should think about all my loved ones (Tammy, my mum and dad, patrick and sam) for motivation...I tried doing that...but the truth is, I am so freakin tired I can't concentrate on thinking about anything, let alone anyone...the only thing on my mind was how painful my lower back is and how good it'd feel to just stop for abit...the last mile is really quite there was still another bloody climb up another slope!!!

This was the moment I've been dreaming about for the past few months..I know I look like shit here...but I did cross that line...alive and under 4:12:32 (chip time)!

I really needed to lie down after the race...unfortunately the channeled the runners immediately after the finish line to the lunch box collection area...well, i know i want to eat...but my feet are realli giving way...i need to lie down...

And lie down I did...just like these folks who, like me, are waiting for the free massage the organizer provides...

After an hour of rest, I was pleasantly surprised to bum into a fellow Singaporean Wolverine alum....Zhi Yang graduated a year earlier than me and has been working in Singapore for a year now...but he happened to be in town for work for a couple of weeks and decided to join the race too...what a small world!

A final victory shot of the group...a few years ago I would not dare think that I'd be running a marathon...but the company of these guys has made this goal achievable and the ride much more enjoyable...I guess all of us join for different reason...Hong How probably joins for pain...Huiliang probably joins for reminder of the glorious OCS gungho days...Jiawei probably joins because he's got long legs so why not...Chuohao probably joins to prove that he's still young...Siswi probably joins because she gets runner's high (yes, her face lights up after every run)...Chengsi probably joins because her roommates join...XT probably joins cos hmm...Siswi dragged him along? Why did I join? I guess I can write down a long list of things I get out of this "struggle" thing I did not expect at all at the beginning is the people you'd meet along this long run...indeed, a run is a much shorter one when you're not running alone...and to that end I thank God for this group of energetic and fun-loving young men and women, who inspired me and each other to achieve something that seems really far-fetched at the Fran marathon anyone? hee