||Welcome to Eric Cheng's online journal!
You are not logged in.
[ Log in ]
Archive for March, 2002
I’m in Kona right now. Please leave a message after the beep. BEEP
Oh, and you can see my daily progress (maybe) right over here.
Not much to say today. Here is a picture of my underwater photo setup (which is finally complete, as of today), and some pics of last night’s concert (Leila Josefowicz). I photographed the reception for SF Performances. (read more »)
Why can’t shipping service counters be properly synch’ed with their respective online services? I walked into UPS last week with a package destined for Germany. It was pre-paid, with a label printed via UPS.com, but it still took me twenty minutes of counter time to get out of there because the guy had no idea what to do with it. And, even more frustrating… I’ve recently been pre-printing USPS Priority Mail shipping labels because you get electronic delivery confirmation for free. Unfortunately, this means that I have to haggle with the counter people every time I mail something, because they don’t know what services are available online. The last time, the woman at the counter even taped over the barcode because I refused to pay extra for my “free” delivery confirmation. sigh
Elliot sent me a link to this XBox ad. Media people are weird. Here’s something else that might make you laugh (or hurl).
Linens ‘n Things is a crappy store. I went to one yesterday (50 miles away!) to try to redeem my Amex certificate for a 9 piece knife set, but it turns out that they don’t carry the 9 piece set. Even if they had carried it, I wouldn’t have been able to redeem the certificate because someone lost the key to get into the knife case. How can a store be run like that? We (Amabelle and me) also went to Fry’s Sunnyvale, where we elbowed our way through the hordes of people wandering around until we couldn’t handle it anymore. Remind me not to go there on weekends.
Most of the day’s crappiness went away in the evening, when we went to Herbst Theater to see Lang Lang perform. He is AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING. He gave the most enjoyable piano performance I’ve ever seen, and the best concert I’ve seen this season. The only thing that sucked about the performance was a rogue cell phone that went off unrestrained and a totally clueless woman who was sitting next to me. She decided that she wanted to rustle through her purse (she used the zipper, too!) and jacket continuously… during the most delicate moments of Haydn, and throughout the rest of the performance. Argh. We were also unable to see Lang Lang’s hands, since we were on the right side of the hall, but he looked like he was having so much fun playing that it was great anyway.
They played Brahms Sextet again at the gym today. Two guys said something to the effect of, “this music sucks! it’s making me depressed.” Uncultured swine! Just kidding. :) (read more »)
I went on a crazy cleaning and organizing spree yesterday. I cleaned out my closet, remounted a fallen coat rack (those stupid drywall anchors never work!), broke down some boxes, did the dishes… and did some random organizing of my belongings. If I don’t keep things in my life (both physical and virtual) organized, I start to go crazy.
I’ve been consuming large quantities of food lately, and even though I’ve managed to get to the gym just about every other day, I still often feel bloated. Aren’t I supposed to be feeling trim and fit with this much exercise? I should probably cut down my food intake. But… food is so good! I can’t stop. for example, I went out to dinner tonight with Elliot, Mandy, and Mandy’s father, and I was the only one to finish my entire meal. I guess I’m used to hanging out with Amabelle, Geoff, and Livia, who seem to live for eating. I guess it’s not a bad thing to really like, though. It must be hard to not have any friends who are adventurous eaters. :)
What is this entry about? I have no idea. (read more »)
Before you read the rest of this entry, check out this link. Try to figure out what is wrong with the picture. It may take you awhile, so be patient.
I went back to EPNY yesterday to have lunch with Emile, Luke, and Alex. I also snuck in for awhile to see some new icons Luke had made (he’s the best pixel-level artist I know). It’s been a full year since I resigned! It seems very different now (probably because so many people have left, and those who stayed have been moved around the building), but apparently not much has changed in terms of a typical work day. (read more »)
Adam Tow organized the second meeting of the Canon Owners of the Bay Area (COBA) user group tonight, which was exciting because the local Canon rep. brought a production Canon D60 SLR to play with. There were also some beautiful LightJet prints of Canon 1D images, printed from Pictopia. Two of them were of motorcycle racers at Laguna Seca (the track’s principal photographer was at the meeting), which reproduced almost identically, despite one having been upsampled with Genuine Fractals (the other having been submitted raw).
I would like to get a decent portfolio up on echeng.com. One exists now, but it’s just a few random photos I decided to throw up. Most of the “good” ones that I’d probably want to showcase are scattered among thousands of other images here. They’re nearly impossible to find. :)
Four dozen digital SLR-toting software engineers can be quite an exhausting group to spend the evening with. I kept mostly to myself, chatting with two interesting non-techies whom I happened to be sitting next to. I also finally met Michael, a fellow online-journaler, and one of Amabelle‘s friends recognized me, but he never introduced himself.
I have to take my car in AGAIN tomorrow to have the rear differential looked at. I really hope they fix it this time. Also (I’m cheating and adding this link a day later), you might want to check out Attorney General John Ashcroft singing his very own “Let the Eagle Soar” at North Carolina seminary. It’s very funny. :)
I played Brahms c minor piano quartet tonight for Prof. Mardt’s evening lecture series (with Livia Sohn, Barry Shiffman, and Fred Weldy), and it reminded me that I cannot let music disappear from my life. It would be so easy to do so; lately, performances have been spaced further and further apart, and I go for long periods of time without practicing.
It really is a privilege to be given another opportunity to play with such great musicians. :)
Afterwards. we met up with Geoff and Robin for a bite to eat at Straits Cafe, in Palo Alto. The food there is very good.
My D30 is off to Germany to mate with an underwater housing, so picture quality may suffer in the coming weeks. I hope I get it back in time for my next trip. Otherwise, underwater photography may be difficult. :)
Hmm. I’ve been accused of being “elitist” yet again. It comes up in anonymous mudslinging every once in awhile. I wonder if I should start thinking about what it is on this site that makes me come across that way. Each time it happens, it’s accompanied with near incomprehensible ramblings (this time, it almost isn’t English). It usually makes me feel bad for a few minutes, and then I get over it. Each time, I feel bad for a shorter time. I guess eventually, I’ll be immune? :)
Enjelani posted on her site today about a KQED presentation on religion:
I’ve never been religious, but I’ve tried mightily to understand people who are, mostly without success. I can understand the sublime comfort one can find in ritual, the power in a daily affirmation of faith, the value in striving to be constantly aware of what life is about. That’s all marvelous stuff; sometimes I wish I’d be raised to practice these things. But I could never get past taking ancient documents for absolute truth, or as a set of rules to follow literally regardless of social or historical context. The absolute truth part doesn’t work, because so much of religious doctrine has been thoroughly disproven by science, and the set-of-rules part reeks suspiciously of surrogate parenting. If God is just someone who can tell me what to do so I don’t have to think about it myself, someone I can beg for help and whose skirts I can hide behind, just a big strong guy to have on my team so I can beat the other team, then I think it’s nobler to try and live without God. Still, I know many people much more intelligent and courageous than I who have chosen faith over this kind of cold logic, so there must be something to it that I’m not getting.
It’s interesting. “…there must be something to it that I’m not getting.” I often think that. I’ve read articles about the demographic statistics of devout religious people that state that in general, religion falls off as education increases (I’m not sure what metric they use for “education”), except for a sharp spike in people at the top, whom are considered the most educated (the article stated high incidence of religion among brilliant minds of the past). In fact, an old high school friend whose brilliance I have yet to see surpassed turned to the ministry briefly after studying physics at Princeton. There must be something I’m missing.
I feel guilty for not doing anything today. It was fun, though. :)
(read more »)
Jeremy Henrickson is going off on some crazy travels in the next few months (biking tour of Vietnam!), and had a little get-together at his place to uh… celebrate. It’s a very small world! Many of the attendees seemed to know other people there through non-Jeremy channels. After eating the fruits of Jeremy’s culinary talents, we hung out and listened to a few people tinkle around on the piano.
Other exciting news: I climbed my very first 5.10b at the gym today, and I made it up the big wall for the first time just a few days ago! I’m very proud. :) Unfortunately, the 5.10b wrestled some skin off of my elbow and knees before allowing my conquest of it. The area around Mission Cliffs can be kind of sketchy. Last week I parked inches away from two clumps of human feces, two used condoms, and an automobile differential.
What else is new? While cooking last week, I realized that cutting raw chicken with a dull knife is all but impossible. I let it slide. But today, I happened to be browsing the American Express rewards program redemption items, and picked up a nice 9-piece Henckels knife set, which should arrive in 4-6 weeks (strange to have such long processing times in the web age, huh? 4-6 weeks is more like old-school mail order shipping times.) I wanted the all-steel one, which would have matched my kitchen (and personality) perfectly, but it wasn’t offered on the list. It also costs twice as much. :) Enough writing for today.
Also, there are some pics on Adam’s website. My photos –> (read more »)
In addition to having the crappiest early morning I’ve had in years, someone (described as “a white chick” by a witness) just peed in my front entryway, just outside of the outer door. The last time this happened to someone I know, he moved away to Texas.
I went with Wendy to see the Dancing Sun Foundation’s “Lullaby for a Stormy Night,” a Taiwanese modern dance production featuring some of Vienna‘s music. I have been to a few modern dance productions in the past, and to be honest, I don’t understand it. Some of the shows I’ve been to have featured dances that I really liked, but I’m totally at a loss whenever someone asks me what I liked about them. Tonight, I didn’t like the choreography (I don’t know why, but some of it made me laugh), and the dancers weren’t of the caliber that would leave one speechless over perfection of form. However, it was interesting, and it looked like it would have been fun to see one’s music adapted for something other than it was originally intended for.
Sometimes I imagine that I’m nearsighted (uncorrected) while watching dancers. I cross my eyes a little bit to create a slight blur, so I can focus on form and movements without being distracted by the pattern-clutter of standard human features. I also like to sit high up in balcony seats. Tonight, I wished that I was sitting further away (a LOT further away), and I wished that I was nearsighted. I guess I also wish the choreography did something for me.
I guess I don’t understand modern dance, because… well, the genre doesn’t even seem to be consistent within itself. For example, today’s program included a guide to modern dance, which included suggestions like, “Try to suspend judgment about the meaning of the dance” and “Don’t ask us what it means; tell us what you saw.” At the same time, I’ve seen shows dedicated to a particular meaning — explicitly outlined in the program, and tonight, Vienna talked (on behalf of the choreographer?) about the meaning of one of the dances. Perhaps I’m confusing “meaning” with “inspiration.”
You know, I drive down to Stanford (and further south) all the time. After the show, Wendy and I stopped by Nash‘s place to pick up my now-fixed drapes and to chat with him and Carolyn. I’ve found that while I visit the peninsula all the time to see my friends, most of them almost never make the time to drive up to San Francisco. It’s not true of everyone, but it’s a pattern I’ve noticed. In fact, when I lived in Mountain View, I rarely made it up to San Francisco because it was “so far away,” or something like that. Funny that it doesn’t seem so far now that I live here.
I’ve been buying lately. I’ve been consuming mass quantities of capitalist trinkets. It sucks. I need more to occupy my time with. Oh yes — Joechang was in town last weekend. His visit reminded me that good friends should be kept, even with 3000 miles of separation.
Also, I cooked my first real “full” meal last night for Amabelle, using a recipe book on Taiwanese cooking that my mother gave me. It was actually pretty good! I impressed even myself — I wish I could have captured the look on my face when I tasted the chicken from the cooking container. :) Photos –> (read more »)