Monday, November 11, 2013

Patterns I'm noticing in japan

Subway makes me an idiot and results in change (three packs of people come and go through the ticket counters in the amount of time I try to buy one ticket)
Change weighs me down, and takes forever to discard.
The politeness and nodding is getting out of hand

and people don't speak english!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vacation Log - What Actually Went Down - Day 1 - Osaka

I get to osaka and it's raining. This kind of threw a wrench in my plans

I had originally booked a bicycle tour for the day through, and I now wanted to cancel it because of the rain. I emailed the company and the guy said it's up to me if want to try. I was mainly worried about getting sick due to exercising in rainy weather added onto the lack off sleep. Well, do i pussy out, call it a day and twiddle my thumb at the airport? Heeellll nah. I decide to go through with it because this was something I was looking forward to and I didn't want to see Osaka by having to go from site to site through the subway or bus system. Future me would have to take care of future-sick-me.

And guess what? The rain died down :)
The bike tour turned out really well. We basically biked through every touristy spot in Osaka (albeit we didn't really get off and enjoy each spot). Ben, the tour guide was really cool too. He was from the UK, was fluent in Japanese and knew more Chinese than I did, so he was able to explain a lot of Japanese terms to me in Chinese, and it made a lot more sense.

We started on some river front

Then we checked out the castle. We didn't actually have time to go in and Ben didn't really recommend it. He said a really good point though about how the the castle is famous for how it looks on the inside, and from the outside, you can't see the castle. He told me the story about how author Guy de Maupassant hated the Eiffel tower but always ate lunch in it, and when asked why, said that it was only from within in the Eiffel tower that he couldn't see the Eiffel tower. 

Here's me and the castle and the bike I used (it was a really decent bike). 

Then we had lunch near this retro, sci fi tower in a district call Shin-sekai. (The tower was built in the 1930s as a part of a theme park to represent "tomorrowland", melted down for steel in ww2, then rebuilt. It reminds of one of those different universe movies, where its like the 1930s and 1940s, but there are hovering cars. Btw, shin-sekai is 新世界 - xin shi jie in Chinese, which is literally, "new world")

We then proceed to other neighborhoods in Osaka. Such as this one in Namba with Glico running man:

This ad is super old and basically famous for being famous. Apparently, all the ads around this glico man ad changes, but not this guy. Sometimes other companies would rent out the words in the middle (like adidas, for example).

By the time we're done with the tour, I'm exhausted, it is pouring (it started raining hard the last 30 minutes of the tour). I find my way to the hostel by 6pm, get to my bed, set my alarm to nap for 2 hours so that I can wake up to check out Namba's nightlife and food. I knock out. (the hostel was Hana Hostel in Osaka, and it was great.)

I wake up feeling really refreshed. Really really really refreshed. It was 2am. Fuuuuudge. I missed out on checking out Namba's food and neon lights. By this time, there's nothing open except clubs. I go out to eat at some 24h restaurtant. It was aite. I consider going to a club nearby but decide against it. I get back and try to sleep.

I can't fall asleep and it's about 530am. (damnit, i should've just gone clubbing).
At that point I get up and look for hostels in Kyoto (cuz I still hadn't planned it yet). I found JAM hostel, and booked them. I get up and ask the current hostel's front desk about what I can do now to sample Osaka's food (Osaka is known to be a foodie place), and I'm told to check out Kuromon market. 

I head towards that area, passing through Shinsaibaishi and Dotonbuir (the 2 areas of Namba that I meant to check out last night that are bustling at night, but now closed in the morning - damnit, what's with me and getting to places when they are closed due to poor planning and bad sleep habits?)

But i get to Kuromon market and it turned out to be a wonderful local market with lots of good streetfood. (And unlike how Shinsaibahi was dead during the morning time, Kuromon was bustling because locals come here to do their morning shopping).

I notice a shop that was slicing a fish and packaging the slices for sale immediately. I never really ate a chuck of sashimi before as if it was steak (like getting a real mouth full), and i figured this was the time to try.

I bought this and ate it like a candy bar. It was good but I'm not sure if it was amazing (but that's because my taste buds aren't that refined, and i think everything is good)

So technically it's now day 2, and I had planned to be in Kyoto by now. So I get back to the Hostel, grab my stuff, and go to Kyoto.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Vacation Log - What Actually Went Down - Day 0

Day 0:
2am: I'm still doing my laundry!!! Then i need to run a few errands, go to work for 6 hours, then catch the flight.

Well, 2hrs of sleep and 6 hrs of work later I'm on the plane. Everything was a bit hectic. I was able to to pack much less than I expected. I only brought 1 pair of pants. (the one I'm wearing...)
But I really like the backpack that I got. I wasted a lot of time playing with it instead of packing though. But I did manage to book a hostel for the first night of where I'll stay.

I get through the work day (somewhat), and proceed to the airport, everything goes smoothly (i.e., I don't miss my flight). When i get to the gates, I'm always gravitated towards the planes: gracefully, majestically sitting there.

For some weird reason, the flight is filled with Japanese school girls. (Like literally, and just girls, very few Japanese school guys.) But I'm seated next to an oldish looking man who is apparently a professor; we both mutually agree to wake the other up if food service came and we were knocked out.

I unfortunately couldn’t fall aslseep while on the flight though. I kept watching movies or just didn’t feel sleepy. This stressed me out during the flight because my plan needed me to get enough sleep so that when I land in Tokyo at 1030pm local time I will be able to party until 730am, then catch the connecting flight to Osaka, then go for a bicycle tour of Osaka. Not being able to sleep was stressing me out and making it even harder to fall asleep. I ended up watching a few movies I've been meaning to see but never had a chance to: Pacific Rim (it was so cheesy, I didn't even finish it), the Wolverine (it was a freaky sort of movie, actually my least favorite of the x-men or wolverine movies. It had a lot of japanese stuff woven into it. I didn't like this move). In any case, I landed, and proceed with the plan of partying till sunrise. 

I meet another backpacker who was in a similar boat (no hotel booked for the night) and we talk about our plans a bit; this somehow caused indecisiveness (probably my fault, but eventually, at about 1am, we end up deciding to go to the Shibuya neighborhood). I specifically wanted to go to a club I read about called Womb. It took us forever to find it because it's really really well hidden.

But inside, it was pretty huge. It had 4 levels (a bar level at the bottom, 1 main dance floor level, 2 smaller bar/dancefloor area levels, so a total of 4 DJs). Unfortunately, they were ALL spinning the same music that I didn't really like. (Lyricless, repetiviely electronic music). But the production and lights were good, especially on the main dance floor:

We leave the womb and we walk into the Shibuya intersection. This is allegedly the busiest intersection in the world. (Not so busy now at 4am are we?) we take the opportunity to pose in the middle.

It was about 4am and I then go by myself to the Tsukigi fish market. There was no one at the gate when I got there so I just walked in. The whole place was empty because I was early.

I mean, really, really freaking empty.

I walk around about an hour, and the place should have opened by now. I'm a bit confused. But I gotta get back to the airport to catch my connecting flight. So I exit the market. I leave through a different entrance that I came in at, and I discovered this sign

DAMNIT! No wonder the place is empty. it's closed! it was sunday morning at 5am, and the place is ALWAYS closed on Sundays. SO DON'T GO ON SUNDAY. Now I'll have to do another all-night clubbing thing and come back again on a weeknight, ugh!!

I take the subway and get back to the airport. The entrance to the airport from the subway station probably had the longest escalator I've seen in my life:

And when I got to the top, I saw a guy knocked out on the chair. hehe... that could've been me throughout the night, but instead I was doing the above.

Well, that was an fun first 8 hours. Onward to Osaka!!

Day 1:

Vacation Planning - Boring Details of Finding Cheap Tickets

Update: I thought i was good at finding cheap plane tickets. But what i did was all noob child-play compared to what my friends told me about using credit cards for traveling. Basically you get new credit cards that have 50,000 mile sign-up rewards, and that covers large costs of your trip. A lot of those cards also have no foreign transaction fee.

Here's the backstory and my thinking process:

I haven't traveled outside of the US for almost 3 years and I've been itching to take a long vacation. At the same time, my grandpa has been sick in Shanghai, so it was my goal to go see him.

I decided I might as well combine my visit to Shanghai with also seeing Singapore and Hong Kong (two cities I've been wanting to visit for a while and had even thought about moving to).
I then decided to maybe also stop by Japan and whatever else cities that I can check out. (I like heavily densely populated areas.) So my trip basically evolved into visiting as many Asian Global Alpha+ cities as I can, and it required several flights to hop between the countries.

As I thought about the number of plane tickets I needed to buy to accomplish my vacation, the engineering side of me kicked in. At work I frequently deal with requirements. One thing I've been taught is that requirements (the goal) shouldn't define implementation (how to reach the goal). That is, you set your goals (e.g. I need to make a website that sells water), and you let the implementation part be separate from the goal (e.g. the website can be built on PHP, Djanog, Ruby on Rails, etc.). The idea behind this is that the people who set the initial requirements might not be the people doing the implementation, or might not even know how to to do it, while the people doing the implementation might be experts at what they do.

In my case, my requirements were to:
1) visit Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, and Shanghai, within 21 days,
2) with Shanghai being the last stop and taking up about 10 days while the other cities took 2 or 3 days each,
3) and do so at the cheapest price.

Those were the requirements and not much else mattered. (What airline, which city I visited first other than Shanghai being last, how many stops/layovers, etc.)

I wanted a site that allowed me to search like that, and the closest thing I found was The site allowed me to enter numerous cities as starting places and numerous places as destinations. The site was useful, but since it didn't search all the airlines (just like how Orbitz doesn't have Southwest), I often used it as a double check to see if I was getting a decent deal.

After some goggling, I luckily came across this site, which told me that there was a deal going on for flying to Asia through using Orbitz, and after tweaking around some Orbitz searches, I found that leaving LA on a Thursday or Friday and coming back on a Monday was the cheapest. I also found that I could set my return flight be from Shanghai to LA while having my "To" flight be a different city. Setting the "To" destination to be Tokyo Narita was the cheapest ($692 for LA to Narita and Shanghai to LA). This more or less caused my initial destination to be Japan.

Then I discovered that setting the To destination as Tokyo Haneda (Haneda = another airport that is closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita airport) was only a few dollars more ($716), and then I found that setting the To destination as Osaka was only a few more dollars than that ($725), but automatically included an 8 hour layover in Haneda. I decided that I also wanted to see Osaka, and train or domestic flights from Tokyo to Osaka would have been more than $9. At that time, my other searches for flights leaving Japan to my other destinations (see spreadsheet below) also revealed that there was a Tokyo to Singapore flight that leaves at midnight, whereas there wasn't one for Osaka to Singapore. I speicfically wanted to leave at midnight so I could sleep on the plane (save time and lodging costs). So I bought the tickets to Osaka and was planning on taking the train from Osaka to Tokyo, and then leave from Tokyo to Singapore.

After more goggling, I also found that that low-cost airlines of Asia that flew internationally were Tiger Air (Singapore), Air Asia (Malaysia), Fly Scoot (Singapore), Spring Airlines (China), Jet Star (Austrailia).

Also, Kayak did a pretty great job of revealing airlines that other flight search aggregators did not reveal. For example, it introduced me to Fly Scoot!

Once I was already set on arriving into Asia at Japan, I then needed to narrow down where to go next, and I made an excel sheet to jot down the cheapest flights I found, like so:

tokyoNA172, asia air241, itaNA250
singaporeNANA100? tiger air (128 or 144 on orbitz and ITA)220, airasia33, air asia
hongkongNA111, itaNA189, ita111, ita (134 air asia)
KLNA18, air asia130, air asia165, air asiaNA

The Tokyo to Singapore ticket for $172 (totaling out to $195 after i selected the option to sit in the quiet/no-babies area) on Asia Air was hard to beat. So Singapore became the next destination. The funny thing was, the Tokyo to Singapore ticket had a 6 hour layover in KL, yet it was cheaper than the Tokyo to KL ticket for the same timed flight. So I bought the Singapore to KL ticket and planned to visit KL. But if 6 hours was not enough and I don't get back into the airport in time, I also bought another KL to Singapore ticket (those 2 tickets together was still cheaper than the Tokyo to KL ticket).

Here are the prices i got the tickets for
  • LAX to Osaka (with 8 hour layover in Tokyo), Orbitz, $725
  • Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur (7 hr flight, sleep on plane), Asia Airline ($195.62)
  • KL to Singapore (1 hr flight), Asia Airline, ($18.80)
  • Singapore to Hong Kong (4 hr flight, sleep on plane), Fly Scoot ($117.90)
  • Hong Kong to Shanghai (2hr flight, 7pm to 9pm), Spring Airlines ($140.11)
  • Shanghai to LAX included in the $725 Orbitz price.

Vacation Log - What Actually Went Down - Day -1

Day -1:
I got to work at 530am today and left at 730pm to try to catch up and wrap up some work. I think i'm about halfway there...I left work to go shopping for a backpack and a polariod xs100 camera to record stuff while on my trip (they're similar to GoPro, but i'm too cheap to buy a GoPro).

Best Buy's website said they had the polariod xs100, so I go there. They don't have it in store.  I go to Dick's sporting goods (it was next to best buy) to check out backpacks. The backpacks seemed like whatevs.

I check out Fry's to see if they have good GoPro alternatives, they don't. By now it's 830pm, and I really need to shop for my backpack. So I go to REI. At 9pm they tell me they were closing, so i grab the backpack I was staring at the longest (it was also on sale). I then go back to Dick's sporting goods to see if they had anything similar (in case i find something better at Dick's because by now i can't remember what i saw there the first time, since I can return the REI bag) - yes, I know I am a dumbass. Dick's didn't.
I then go to Target to see if they had any good GoPro alternatives. They don't.
I decide that I'll get a camera when i get to japan. I don't know why I was so obsessed with buying a camera that night. I was being a dumbass.

It's 10pm. I go home to pack, pay bills, and stuff. and do laundry. and write a blog entry. i fail at life.

this was the backpack i got.

it looks kind of cool from the back too.

and it turns out my grandpa in china told my dad to tell me to bring some walnuts and raisins. so my dad bought some for me to take to my grandpa. (because they don't have walnuts and raisins in shanghai, obviously). i grudgingly agreed. but only the walnuts, because the raisins are way too heavy.

Day 0

Vacation Planning - Details

Update: I was trying to plan out the details of day-to-day for my 6 days in Japan, saving the drafts on this blog. I spent a few hours every week for the past 3 weeks planning. In those weeks of planning, I've managed to plan out the first 2 and a half days so far out of my 3 week trip. Don't read any furthur because it's just scribbles

So I'll be in Japan for 6 days (arriving in Osaka and leaving from Tokyo). So I need to figure out what to do in those 6 days. I started by reading a bunch of "Must-do" guides for Japan.

A lot of them listed go to Kyoto.
visit some fish market (Tsukiji)
cross the akahi kaikyo bridge
visit the Yasukuni Shrine and see what all the fuss is about
stay overnight at a temple

day 0 night
go buy a camera

day 1 in osaka (sunday)

go on this tour: 10 am to 4pm
visit this arcade:
visit Shinsaibashi

if the cycle tour fails, do this as a backup:
go on this tour:
go to nara maybe?

day 2 (monday)

go to kyoto.
Kyoto must-sees:
Fushimi shrine in kyoto with the words on them:
Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion
Ryoan-ji- rock garden
Arashiyama- forest looking walk
Kiyomizu Temple
Gion district tour
"Top priority should go to the eastern, Higashiyama district, where you can walk from the famous Kiyomizu-dera to Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, taking in a whole raft of interesting temples, gardens and museums on the way."

Spend the night in Kyoto:
Possible places to stay:
stay in temple in kyoto:
Overnight Stay at Chion-in Temple's Wajun Kaikan Hall
Ninnaji Temple with Morning Prayer Service
Shunkoin Temple Guest House,31489,2049375_2049374_2049360,00.html
shrine in kyoto with the words on them

day 3 (tuesday)

day 4 (wednesday)

day 5 (thursday)

day 6 (saturday)

useful reminder for what to/not-to do in japan:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 sucks

The site usually provides useless information that is already know or way too generic.
Their banner frame at the top that won't go away is so annoying.
So is basically fucking useless!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vacation Planning - Multiple Countries in Asia

Im asian and I'm going to asia!
Here's my high level plan and flight itinerary, although I haven't planned out the day-to-day details of the trip yet:
  • LAX to Osaka (with 8 hour layover in Tokyo): leave work Friday afternoon at 2osh, take off at 440pm, land in Tokyo at 1030pm of Saturday night for 8 hour layover, go clubbing/roaming/shopping till dawn, take flight to Osaka. Don't sleep and visit Osaka on Sunday. Visit Kyoto for 2 days, take train to Tokyo and hang out there for 3 days. Leave Tokyo a little before midnight on Friday, after having spent 6 days in Japan.
  • Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur (7 hr flight, sleep on plane): arrive in KL around 6am. Check out KL for the day, leave KL at 5pm for Singapore.
  • KL to Singapore (1 hr flight): arrive in Singapore, probably go clubbing. Spend 2 days in Singapore till Tuesday late night, fly to Hong Kong
  • Singapore to Hong Kong (4 hr flight, sleep on plane): get to HK on Wed morning. Check out the city/go clubbing, etc, till Friday night. Fly to shanghai.
  • Hong Kong to Shanghai (2hr flight, 7pm to 9pm): See my relatives. Stay inside, stay at home, spend time with my grandpa.
  • Shanghai to LAX (1hr layover in Seattle. I could've selected a longer layover and check out Seattle a bit, but the flight lands monday morning at LAX at 10am. I'm going straight back to work)
I'm kinda jk about doing all that clubbing by myself. (Maybe)

Here's the rest of my detailed planning (worthless, dont read this):

Here's my record of what actually went down:

Here's a boring discussion on how i bought plane tickets(also worthless, dont read this):

My way of doing trip planning is to plan out the big stuff (buy the big tickets for the big cities i know i'm going to hit) and then plan out the details when I have time or when I get there. (Kind of like that that analogy about how in order to fully fill a jar, you fill it with big rocks, then little rocks, then sand, then water). I guess that's how everyone does trip planning. Or is it? (how do you do trip planning?)

I kind of first list out the requirements of must-sees from using Then I find tours/plan routes to hit up those must-sees. is a great resource because it ranks attractions.

It turns out that I'll end up spending about 3 days per destination with a population of 5-7 million people. I guess that's fair.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Decision Making and Control

We all want joy.
One way to obtain joy is to have control over our lives.
Control = choice.
No Control = not having choice.

But having too many choices results in indecision, and as a result, also no control.

I see all of work as decision making.
All of work  can be summed up as:
-Gather inputs (do research, get contracts)
-Perform analysis (on the inputs you've gathered)
-Make decision (provide recommendation, powerpoint, etc)

Whether flipping burgers, or making CEO level decisions for multibillion dollar company, it's all about decision making.

Burger Flipper:
Inputs = Customer orders
Analysis = Quick decision/recall on whether to put the patty on first or make the drinks first
Decision = Execution of what was decided

Inputs = Some report about what competitors are doing, risks, account summaries, etc.
Analysis = Think through possible decisions, build models (or tell others to build models), etc.
Decision = Order a merger/acquisition layoff, R&D, etc. Affecting the lives of hundreds of employees

The harder the analysis part (the smaller the amount of people on Earth who can do it) the more the person doing it is paid.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homosexuality is Wrong (Even for Atheists)

My views on gay marriage changed quite a bit after a conversation with friends.

Prior to the conversation, i was slightly pro gay marriage. I thought that if two gay people wanted to marry in order to live happier lives, then they should be allowed to do so as long as they weren't infringing on the freedom/rights/happiness of others. I use to think that if the Christians were right, and God did exist, and the gays really were going to burn in hell, then that was all the more reason to allow gays to marry, so that at least they could be happy in their lifetime on earth before they suffer an eternity of hell.

But what i realized in my conversation with friends is that homosexuality is not natural. From my newly learned understanding of nature (lol), if two animals of the same gender mate, there will be no offspring. So it seems like even from an evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality isn't good for humanity.

I now think of homosexuality kind of like prostitution. They both stem from lust and if left unconstrained, they both can destroy society. Both are related to selfish desires. Both are kind of like a disease.

Ok, time for me to go watch porn.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

25, Background

I was looking up some artist on wikipedia and it said he was born in 1988, age: 25. And I thought, man, 25, that seems like an appropriate age to be well-known and looked up on wikipedia for. Eighteen or ninteen seems a bit young, and anything older than 25 seemed slightly too old and late.

But it saddened me because, well, I'm 25. And I wish I had done more with my life. I wish I was famous, and looked up on Wikipedia for, and received glory from man for.

Ironically, the artist I was looking up was Andy Mineo, because he's featured in Lecrae's song, "Background". Guess what it's about:

Perhaps a more fitting song for me then is KB's "I can't play the Background":

Or perhaps not.

I have very narcissistic desires. How do I stop them? (I guess if I'm not a Christian, there's no real objective reason to stop them, as long as those internal desires don't flood out and make me a douche-bag on the outside as well?) It's so silly/foolish/immature that I want fame, yet I've done nothing to deserve it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thirty-Six Hours in Vegas

I’m 25 and prior to this trip I hadn’t been to vegas since I was a minor when I went with my parents. My friends have been going about twice a year, and each time they ask me to join I’ve refused out of fear that I might lose self control, unleash hell, have sex with multiple escorts, and in addition, do something that I might regret. Well, three weeks ago I finally went. I committed myself to setting no expectations, having fun, being open, and talking to as many people (hopefully girls) as I can.
Here’s what happened.

4pm Friday afternoon - naptime: Tired from a crazy week of work and averaging 5 hours of sleep a night, I go to my car and take a nap before my flight because I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping for a while after I landed.

6pm: I get back to my desk, send off a few more emails, print out my boarding pass, Hakkasan presale ticket, and Wet-Republic dayclub presale ticket. I had never heard of these places until my friends who planned the trip told me to buy these tickets. Hakkasan presale was around $84.98 ($75 plus fees) and Calvin Harris was set to perform. Wet-Republic was $56.65 ($50 plus fees) and Steve Aokii was scheduled. Yes, damn VENUE DRIVER EVENTS TKTS 866-760-0007 NV and their online fees.

730pm: I go back to my car, change into a dress shirt and dress shoes and proceed to the airport. I only have carry-ons and am already traveling in my most dressed up form – no need to worry about wrinkling my shirt by having it stuffed in a backpack. (Benefits of being a guy I guess).

830pm: I’m in the security line for the airport and to pass boredom I talk to the guy in front of me. He said he’s visiting LA for a conference and a personal vacation. He makes pizzas for a living, but he specialized in a type called the neapolitan pizza, which cooks in 1.5 minutes, and uses a wood oven that is heated to 900 degrees. He tells me that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy. Cool. Apparently the guy is from Montreal, Canada.

9pm: I get to my seat. On my right is an attractive woman. This rarely happens. Sweet…

915pm: Landing gears up. I turn to look at her, awkwardly. Damn, it was very awkward. she looks away and pulls her hair from behind her left shoulder to cover the left side of her face and her left eye from my view. I don’t know if she’s doing this on purpose to avoid talking to me and making eye contact with me, but if she is, that’s really clever.

930pm: Halfway through the flight - I still haven’t talked to her yet, but I want to keep trying to push myself to talk to the people around me. I gather the courage and choke out “What are you going to vegas for”. She responds and it turns out that she’s very amiable. She’s going to party with friends (same reason I was going). Unlike me, she’s pretty used to partying at Vegas and hadn't lost sleep the night before due to the excitement about it like I did. She just bought her tickets the day before and she isn't too into the clubbing scene, as she was mainly going to eat, relax, and gamble. She was a film producer and although she now lives in LA it turns out that she was originally also from Montreal. (What's going on here...)

10pm: land. Shuttle or cab? The hotel that I’m staying at that my friends booked is the Venetian  They had said the cab costs around $14. I notice a stand that sells shuttle tickets for $7. I decide to save a few bucks and I buy a shuttle ticket. (This eventually turns out to be a mistake because i had to wait 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive, because I apparently had just missed the previous shuttle. Once I finally did get on the shuttle, it luckily didn't try to go through the strip, but took a back street called Koval. It turned out all our cab drivers took this street as well, except for one cheese-dick cab driver that didn't.)

10:05pm: With my newly purchased shuttle ticket, i walk to the area where my shuttle is supposed to arrive. a guy who's already sitting there tells me that I apparently just missed the previous shuttle. Damn. But i start talking to this guy and it turns out that he’s 29 and drives trucks for a living (even though he doesn't look like the stereotypical truck driver at all). He says that since he’s a truck driver, he’s able to quit, travel, and then pick up a new truck driving job fairly easily when he returns from his travels. Because of this, he has been to 47 states and several countries. He doesn't have much savings, but doesn't seem too worried about that. Cool.

1115pm: I finally get to the room. I open the hotel door expecting to be welcomed by loud electric dance music and a roomful of my friends pre-partying, taking shots, and fist pumping  This was not the case. It’s quiet; my friends are recovering from a prior hangover and struggling to get ready. Most of them arrived in Vegas Thursday afternoon. They drank in the hotel Thursday night, went to bed at 6am Friday morning, went to the gym at 8am (you know, to stay swol), got breakfast, drank more, went to the Marquee dayclub, and continued drinking. Two of my friends lost their wallets, shirts, and the rest of the group, then individually stumbled back to the room for an afternoon nap. I’m arriving just as they’re waking up from this afternoon nap.

One friend had lost his sandals and tank top and came back wearing sandals two sizes smaller.Another friend lost his sandals, shirt, cellphone, and wallet, and came back wearing sandals three sizes smaller. he actually didn't remember most of his day or how he got back. He just remembers getting along well with a girl named Miranda at Marquee day-club. But can’t remember how well, or whether they kissed.

1130pm: More shots are poured and taken. Even though he is still drunk/hungover/sick, the friend who came back wearing sandals two sizes smaller takes a shot after being called a pussy by my other more sober friend. The friend who came back with sandals three sizes smaller contacts Marquee day-club and finds out that they found his wallet and cell. We will need to get his ID because he won’t be able to enter Hakkasan nightclub without it.

1150pm: We get to the front of the hotel and get ready to get a cab, but get talked into getting a limo by some limo driver. This was the second time I've ridden in a limo in my life. I guess this is how Vegas rolls. but everyone except me are all so tired/hungover that we don't even bump-up-the-music/yell/dance/sing in the limo. We just sit quietly and talk shit. The limo drops off two of my friends at Marquee so they can go get his wallet/cell. The limo proceeds to drop us off at MGM for Hakkasan.

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to Configure Logitech MX Anywhere Mouse for Ubuntu

I wanted the side scroll on my mouse to control volume. This is what I did:

1. install xev and xbindkeys:
sudo apt-get install xev
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys-config

2. run xev (by typing "xev" in the terminal) and find out what my side-scroll buttons were called
my side scroll buttons were buttons 6 and 7 

3. create a text file called .xbindkeys_config and leave it in your home directory (the directory where Desktop is)

4. add the following text into the .xbindkeys_confg file:

#volume down
"amixer sset Master  6- unmute"

#volume up
"amixer sset Master  6+ unmute"

Note: i think xbindkeys-config is the gui version or xbindkeys, so one of them might not be needed. i'm too lazy to find out, because installing both as described above worked for me. typing "xbindkeys-config" at the terminal brings up the gui. it might segfault if you don't have the .xbindkeys_config text file, and it tells you the command to run to automatically create it, so you can do that instead of step 3.

i gained the above info from reading these two short guides: and

the backstory:
often times i think the right path to take when solving a problem is the hard path, the path that challenges myself and forces me to learn something new. but sometimes, that could just be a waste of time depending on my goal.

i started using ubuntu 12.04 and i needed to configure my logitech mx anywhere mouse's side scroll buttons to change my volume. (but logitech doesn't have linux drivers!!! complain to them here! (other than that logitech's an awesome company though)).

one way to do it (the hard way) was to dig through forums and tutorials, discover that i would eventually need to open up the right file in .../X11/xorg.conf, and then configure the hell out of that file. Other people may have been able to do this quickly, but it would have taken me a while to figure everything out.

i realized that i didn't need to figure this out because even if i did, i'd forget it in several weeks and would have to relearn it again. there was no need for me to reinvent the wheel when there were already existing programs i could download to do this for me. in one sense i wussed out because the hard way would've been the purest and cleanest way. but sometimes the hard path isn't the best path.

i like making websites, because it makes me feel alive

It's 3:47 am. I usually get up for work (real work, day job, the one what pays the bills) in 3 hours. But I'm up trying to teach myself Django because i want to make website.
The website will probably be useless and end up going nowhere.

So I ask myself, why do I do this? I already design/make stuff in my day job.
It's because i want to create.
I want to affect other people's lives and know that I affected it (even if the effect is them going to my website and wasting a few seconds of their lives on it and thinking that it's a stupid website).
I want to make an impact.
I want to be have control (full control) over what my product will do and not take orders from a manager.

The easiest way to do that is through making a website i guess.

It makes me feel alive.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


When this saddness comes over me, it's like impossible to stop it.
All I can think or say to myself is, "Shit. there's not enough time."
I'm sad that i'm getting older and i haven't become the man that i wanted to be,
that I'm not becoming the man that I want to be,
that I still don't know what I want to be.

Friday, March 1, 2013

i drove home without a seatbelt

because i wanted to see what it felt like.
because i wanted to be a rebel.
because i wanted to feel like i at least had some control of my life - that i was at least able to control whether a wore a seat belt or not.
i guess it was kinda like a cheap sky-dive or snowboarding session - new, dangerous, life threatening.

this decision came after leaving work at 1am after being there since 730am (minus lunch). the whole time at work i have been stressed about how behind i am and how much work i have to do, yet i was unable to bring myself to do the work. i was too lazy to focus and just do it. it wasn't that difficult of a task either. just some excel stuff. instead i surfed the internet and read news for hours on end. and i didn't go home because in my head, i kept telling myself in a few minutes, i'll buckle down and work hard for a few hours and get it done. that never happened.

days like this happen maybe 3 days a week. some times i would then get in the car, start the engine, start driving, and yell "fuck" as loud as i can. and then i do it again for a longer period of time, holding the uuuhhhh part at the top of my lungs. and then i take a deep breath to do it again. but i'm too tired so i just exhale and stop.

i guess maybe my seatbelt example is similar to that explanation about how porn and masturbation are used as a way to exercise control by someone who is going through anger or loneliness. i never really understood or agreed with that explanation. i just find porn and masturbation to be very addictive.

oh, and about once every two or three days, i fail to brush my teeth. one of my new year's resolutions has become to brush my teeth twice a day.

fuck. i'm going to go see a psychologist.