Friday, 28 September 2007

Life in this lab is way too dramatic. I wish I can think faster and come up with more things to say that will put me in a better position, but whatever, let's hope that this is actually a good change. I was pissed off, and I wouldn't accept her apology. You don't just tell people I'm giving you away without any hints of doing that before. But maybe in a year's time, I'll thank her for dumping me..

So I've decided to take embryology lab.. figured that I'll never get a chance to do comparative embryology ever again, must grab the chance now. Opportunity cost is Colin's class which will teach me how to do expts and which I can work less and get a better grade and get a decent rec. Hope it's a right choice.

Feeling too sian to settle anything. Feel like just giving up on this music minor. Too much trouble getting an instru, finding a place to keep it, going for auditions..

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Back from Canada. Tired. I don't have the stamina for a 2 weeks trip. My trips should be no longer than a week.

  1. Free Montreal symphony concert ticket just from being in line for tix, and free hershey's dark choc too =)
  2. Contemporary stuff in the Musee de Beaux Arts in Montreal, I want them in my home.
  3. Concordia orientation, free concert, free beer on the street.. people were quite high.
  4. Schwartz smoked meat sandwich
  5. Hiked a bit of Mont Tremblant
  6. kayaked in a peaceful lake and was caught in the rain
  7. campfire with smores
  8. Weirdo pervertic old Australian man
  9. All the British dudes and Pauline, the German design student
  10. Parc Omega and elks
  11. Beavertail
  12. staying in a hostel that used to be a Jail
  13. Major Hill Park at night with drum circle
  14. Being in English-speaking Ottawa with French-speaking Quebec just across the river
  15. Parliament tour in Ottawa, beautiful library
  16. Byward Market with beautiful fruits. Bought $3 worth of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. Happy
  17. Fort Coulonge, beautiful lake, chill, BBQ, great dessert, ice cream with berries, the place was so in the middle of nowhere that the rooms have no locks.
  18. Whitewater rafting!! down the Ottawa river. 1 whole day. Fun fun fun. Fell out of the raft while surfing the big butterfly, apparently everyone who sits at that position in the raft gets thrown out. Whitewater rafting looks more exciting than it feels. But it's fun.
  19. Didn't jump off the cliff. Didn't drink beer.
  20. Colourful maple trees in Algonquin Provincial Park. Imagine a forest filled with maple trees. Well, that's Eastern Canada.
  21. Chilling and bumming around in the beautiful Madawaska
  22. Watched this play called Prince Hamlet near Little India in Toronto
  23. Met Jacinth at Stratford and watched the Ideal Husband, which is very very funnny
  24. Travelling around with JacJac
  25. Pretty candy apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  26. Niagara Falls was impressive. That's a lot of water flowing down. and it's gorgeous at night with the lights.
  27. Toronto Chinatown. OMG the fruits are so beautiful, and cheap. Had dim sum =)
  28. Susan calling me 1h after I landed in San Diego asking me if I have decided to quit the lab cos I haven't appeared for so long.. haha
Brief outline of what happened.. Well, I mean to be brief, but might get carried away and ramble on....

Day 1: Flew to Toronto on 9/11. Plane was empty, wonder if it's because of the date. Raining in Toronto.. super sian.. skipped dinner and went to sleep instead. GVB toilet arrangements suck.

Day 2: Big East trip with Moose Network. Cool driver with cool name: Homer. Didn't know people really have names like this. Bus was pretty empty, met this Australian girl Estrelle who talks non-stop. I need to hang around people like that, cos I don't need to think what to say, just listen to her talk. There's this elderly couple on the trip, the wife is from Brazil, the husband is from Denmark and they spend their time now travelling around. The guy knows many many languages, including some Chinese.

Went to the 1000 Islands, some pretty houses around, but whoever lives on them must be really rich. First you need to afford the real estate, second you need a boat to get you anything.

Reached Montreal. Skipped Homer's Old Montreal tour and went for Montreal Symphony concert instead. Checked out the Museum of Contemporary Arts as well, they were having tours, and so I managed to appreciate some of the artwork. I think after I entered UCSD and listened to their very contemporary music, I'm starting to like contemporary arts more.

Watched the symphony for free. Cos some guy had extra tickets and was gave one to me for free. And it was a really good ticket. I'll never buy such a good ticket. Thanks random guy! Concert was good. I was very impressed with the soloists. Mahler was ok. They also played this Ravel piece that was very fun. It's a story about a naughty kid who destroyed everything because he doesn't want to do homework, and it's cool cos the furniture that were destroyed sings, and it helps a lot when they subtitled the French lyrics in Anglais. Very interesting.

Day 3: Old Montreal, the Notre Dame is very beautiful. Went into a few churches, they are all pretty impressive, why doesn't singapore build churches that look impressive? Wandered into Chinatown and had found some Chinese food. I love the bakery. =) Went to the Musee de Beau Arts. Again I found myself gravitating towards the contemporary stuff. There was a collection of chairs that were so pretty that I want to bring it home for myself. Then climbed up Mont Royal and looked at the city of Montreal. Great view. Not like Bukit Timah, cannot see any view. Oh yeah, McGill uni was having orientation on the hill. Cool. And then at night Concordia University had an orientation in downtown where they blocked off a street and had a concert there. If you have a McGill mug, you get free beer. Man.. beer in orientation, how funky.

Even though the whole Montreal seems to speak French usually, whenever I wander into some University area, I hear English instead of French.

Day 4: Wanted to go to the Biodome, then backed out cos it looks like a cheat of money. So went Marche Atwater instead, which is a huge farmers market. Beautiful fruits and veggies. Tried poutine, this Quebec fries with cheese and gravy thingy. I didn't find it exceptionally nice. Then went to the Plateau area, tried to shop but didn't find many shops that sell things that I like, so went to Schwartz for dinner instead. The smoked meat is really good. =)

Day 5: Raining again. Had a bagel for breakfast while watching people run in the rain. People watching is fun. I like chilling. Then hopped onto the tour again with driver Heather and half a bus of Brits. Went Mont Tremblant which is a ski resort in the winter and pretty cold even now. Wish I had more clothes on. Pretty little touristy resort. Cos I was cold, I did a little hike that started out nice but turned out to be really boring, so boring that I left the trail halfway and took a shortcut down the hill. Went to the hostel at Tremblant. It's a cool place to stay in winter for skiing, it's much cheaper than the resorts and still pretty close to the mountain. Anyway there was a lake next to the hostel and we went kayaking in it, watching sunset. Peaceful. But then it started raining and I had to try to aim my boat accurately so we could dock. Had to cook own dinner, so I bought Chunky soup and heated it. Food for lazy people. Campfire at night. In an Indian tent (don't know what it's called). Even though it's really cold outside, it's boiling in the tent with the fire burning. Had smores =) Yummy. And the old Australian man suggested we play some cross/ uncross fork and knife game that was rather exasperating. And he told jokes that were so lame that only Heather laughed out of courtesy. But more about the old dude later.

Day 6: Parc Omega. It's this nature park where they introduced animals in there and built enclosures to keep the bears and wolves from eating everything around. So it's kind of like a safari, but it's not all that natural cos the animals are introduced in there. And we could feed the animals carrots, so we fed many elks through the bus windows and tried to get some of them to come onto the bus. Bus ended up with quite a bit of elk saliva. Reached Ottawa and we checked into this hostel that used to be a jail. Some people get to stay in a cell. Did a Ottawa city walk, saw the castle-like parliament and wandered by the river at night. There was this group of people banging on drums. Looks kind of cultic. Had a beavertail for dessert. It's this flat donut-tasting thingy that's shaped like a beaver tail. High sugar content. Great for skaters in the winter after they skate down the world's longest natural skating rink, the Ottawa canal. Heather says that college students will skate downtown to the pubs and check their skates in at the pubs and if they dare, they'll skate back home

Day 7: Went for a tour of the Canadian Parliament house. Supposedly the best gothic structure outside of Europe, and it's pretty impressive. The library is the most beautiful place, it looks warm and cosy, just that the books look very dull. Apparently you can watch the parliamental debates when they are in session, but they're taking a break till oct. Went Byward Market and bought berries. $3 for a box of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. I'm happy.

Visited the place that they train the Canadian Mounties.

Reached Fort Coulonge. It's a beautiful place by the lake. It's so ulu that we don't have locks or keys for the rooms. I went for a little walk around the region, but it was too far to even get to the main road, so I went back to the lake and chilled. Lovely place to bum. Had a good bbq dinner with fantastic vanilla ice cream and berries dessert.

Day 8: Whitewater rafting! Went in a yellow schoolbus with the rafts tied on top. 4 guides, 2 Canadians, a South African and a guy from Costa Rica. A wide range of accents. Sounded kinda complex and scary and like we might fall into the cold river any time. Wore swimsuit, wetsuit, jacket, windbreaker and lifejacket. Haha. Went to Big Butterfly for some river surfing. It was fine the first time when I was a mermaid in the middle of the boat. Then we switched places and I was in front. And I was ok the 2nd time we went in, drank a whole bunch of water but was fine. But I fell out the 3rd time and felt myself drifting away and choking. Doesn't seem to be able to swim very well against the current, but they managed to pull me in. Then we switched places again cos I refused to be in front. And this time everyone in the first part of the boat fell out. Haha. Glad I wasn't there. Falling out isn't so scary after all.

Even though I was wearing so many layers, I was freezing, shivering. Brr.. It doesn't feel very exciting sitting at the back cos all the people in front blocks all the water. But it's fun to watch how the boat rocks. After going through a few rapids, we break for lunch. Lunch felt good after the freezing water and all the paddling. Then it was another channel of water in the afternoon, that Ottawa River contains as much water as the whole of UK. Amazing right? The rapids have cool names like Bus Eater and Garbarator. It was a nice serene trip down the river when we have the river just to ourselves, 2 rafts and a kayak. Then we got to a place where we could do a cliff jump, 6ft. I wouldn't do it. I wasn't scared but I just can't take the step off the cliff, I couldn't jump. There's a mental block saying that no you can't do this. I'll never jump off a building I guess. Whitewater rafting is fun, watching the video was even more fun, I could see how the wave came in and when the boat emerge, I was drifting away from the boat.. 1 advice: sit in front. It's much more exciting =)

Day 8: Algonquin Provincial Park. It's a huge park and most of the trees are maples and pines. And the maples are changing colours. Beautiful. Had a hike. Chilled, read Zarathustra. Went back to hostel and chilled more and got bitten by bugs.

Day 9: Back to Toronto. Glad to be back, kind of tired from the trip already. Checked into Canadiana, and guess what? They screwed up my reservation and I didn't have a bed. So they took out their emergency bed and put me in a guy's room. 8 guys, and me. Damn. Anyway I went to watch a play "Prince Hamlet", in this neighbourhood that is quite off the tourist area. I've been quite safe and cautious during this whole trip and I didn't feel very good in that neighbourhood. So wandering around there to find the theatre and realised that it's actually a Little India there, it's filled with indian restaurants and mama shops. Prince Hamlet was a pretty good play. The uncle looks really evil. Haha. I've never read Hamlet but I'm liking Shakespeare more as I read/ watch more of his works.

Day 10: Went on a very expensive Stratford trip with Jacinth. Finally met Jacinth. Yay! Stratford is made for old people with cars. Not for kids who Greyhound around. Took forever to find the motel that we were staying in cos the motel owners (an Indian family) didn't know where their motel is and how to give directions.. It took 5min and 3 people to tell me which direction on the main road should I travel. Gosh, how do they do business? After a good rest, we walked along the river, filled with swans and ducks and friendly people on the sides, to downtown Stratford, while Jac tells me the sad life in Waterloo. Downtown is a pretty boring place as well, kinda like downtown La Jolla, but more boring. Saw this Rocky Mountain Chocolate shop and went in. Got ourselves a huge candy apple, Rocky Road. Ate that for dinner. It's huge and sugary and very very chio. Cos there wasn't anything to do, we sat at this table by the road and played dumb, the chess game. Felt quite dumb cos we don't know the rules and we any how move around and eat. Then we did what we went Stratford to do, we watched "An Ideal Husband". It's such a funny play, people laugh at almost every sentence and costumes are absolutely gorgeous. Moral of play: don't expect anyone to be perfect. No one is ideal. Don't pressurize people to be perfect. As we were leaving the theatre, there's this lady giving out free samples of what we thought were chocolates. And then we realised (after she gave us a bunch), that it's anti-ageing cream. erps

Day 11: Back to Toronto. I was tired, so I didn't push to do anything. Met Jac's friends doing exchange at Waterloo as well. Strolled along the waterfront, saw a magician busking, quite entertaining. Went to Toronto Music Garden, designed by YoyoMa based on Bach's cello suite no. 1. I thought it would be bigger, but oh well, it's quite an interesting design, lots of swirls. Walked in the city a bit, caught whiffs of lovely hot dog smells. Was chilling outside city hall when I saw the old Aussie dude from the Moose trip again. That old dude is quite harmless, but he's rather pervertic. He asked a Brit girl from the trip if he could take nude pics of her. And even more atrociously, he asked another Brit girl if he could have some of her breast milk when she has a baby. Absolute eww.. Anyway, back to the trip, we went to Yoke khee's empty apartment in York Uni at night. Lovely apartment, 1 bedrm but I'll feel very sad living alone in a 1br, no housemates at all. Anyway, thing is, we had no blankets, so we put on a lot of clothes and snuggled ourselves to sleep.

Day 12: Niagara Falls. Back with Moose. Went to a winery and tasted wines. Ice wine is fantastic. Too bad it's freakingly expensive. And I actually liked the white wine that I tasted, much better than Jason's whites. Haha. For once I'm not a minor. Went to see the falls and it was spectacular. So much water, and as usual, with these huge things, you won't suspect that there's such a spectacular thing until you get right next to it. The river looks very normal, just like the Ottawa River, and then, wow, huge falls. Saw many many rainbows. I'm going to stop making wishes, cos every time I make a wish, bad things happen. Stop. Next to Niagara is this Vegas like place, with casinos, hotels, restaurants, shops, absolutely touristy area. Saw Niagara at night, with the lights all turned on. Oh yeah, I was very happy at the falls cos it's right across NY state and I got Cingular signal. And I called many many people. Finally, no more roaming.

Day 13: Chinatown dim sum! Then Chinatown. We went into almost every bakery we saw to look for good mooncakes. Haha, I'm happy cos I love bakeries. Got my bo luo bao =). The fruits at chinatown are so beautiful.. I just wish to live there. Toronto feels like HK, lots of people, lots of traffic, lots of tall buildings. Sent Jacinth to Greyhound where she left in a hurry, and I went on roaming the streets of Toronto. Eaton is a huge shopping mall. I haven't been in indoor shopping malls since Singapore. Toronto and Montreal have great shopping.

Day 14: Back to San Diego. Flew over the Grand Canyon. It looks huge even from the sky.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Been having MSN chats with this distant relative in China. I don't know what our exact relationship is, but I never figure out such things. Something about my grandma's sister's granddaughter or something like that. Anyway, point is, I type in English and she types in Chinese. And we have a perfectly functional conversation this way. Amazing.
Pavarotti died. Didn't think he was that old.

Watched Chicago the musical. Better than the movie definitely. More exciting, funnier, more dancing, better stage effects. I thought the choreography was great, there were some fantastic picture moments. The dance was fun to watch, the ad was right, it's meant for mature audiences. It's way too seductive for kids. The songs and music were, well I never thought the music from the movie was great anyway. The conductor was cute though. She's not only a conductor, but an announcer and an actress. The most amazing thing was that there was this lady reporter in the show who sings soprano. About 3/4 through the show, they sang something about things are not always what they seem, and woosh, they took off the lady reporter's wig, and guess what? She's a guy. The soprano was a guy.

Was talking to Fei today. I was bored waiting for my failed experiments to run. She was bored waiting for her book to be printed. She said she's almost 10 years older than me. The other day, Sheng was saying that when he was in Singapore, I was still in primary school. So I did some counting that I haven't done in a while, and I realised that by the time I'm in their position, about to graduate, I'll be almost 30 too. Wow that's old. I'm glad I'm still a minor. I want to stay young. And since no one have kids during postdoc, if these people ever have kids, it'll be in their 30s.

P said today, let's just focus on getting the kos and characterising them, I don't think you need those constructs for your honours thesis.
Expectations are dropping. Students are disappointing creatures, they can't do anything right, can they? Not the masters student, nor the undergrad. At the end of the day, they'll just screw your thing up, you'll still have to be the superwoman, to work for your own paper..

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Seems like I don't blog much nowadays unless something major happens. What's a blog for anyway? For me? For you? Maybe it doesn't have a purpose.

Summer's almost over. I've accomplished nothing. Didn't surf, didn't get a KO cell line, didn't write anything, didn't research much into schools/ programs/ labs, didn't watch Spreckels organ play, didn't read many books, didn't practise any instru.. The good thing about having classes is that there's someone forcing me to accomplish something, at the end of 10 weeks, no matter what happens, I'll have known more about a subject than I did at the beginning. There's someone flooding me with information, and something would surely have diffused in, and with some energy used, more can be taken up. No classes, learning stops.

On the other hand, I have got some stuff done. Went paragliding. Visited LA, Pasadena, Caltech, SF. Went boogie-boarding and rode the waves. Went to the huge outlets at San Ysidro. Going to watch Chicago the musical tomorrow. Learned quite a bit on how to exist sandwiched between 2 people who don't like each other. Heard many stories of the things people do to get what they want. Watched dicty crawl. Studied a bit for GRE. Acquired the skill of repeating myself over and over again so I have enough stuff to talk for 2h. Danced and had a great time. Watched a meteor shower and made a bunch of wishes.

Going Canada for 2 weeks. Travelling mainly alone. Hopefully will meet some nice people in the group to tag along at some places. I'm excited over the trip. Itinery sounds fun, even though it's going to cost me quite a bit of money, and I'm going to miss the LJSO audition and probably not be able to take it for the quarter. But what the heck, I want the break. I want to be out of lab, away from the failed experiments. Maybe my luck will change when I get back.