LeithJournal

You haven’t heard of me?

Archive for March, 2007

Mar29

Trip 2: to Seattle

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Travel,Work
trip-2-to-seattle

Since I had flown inside of the US so many times on Southwest, I got a free flight out of them. I chose to take a trip up to Seattle to visit with everyone there.

After reasonably uneventful flying, I got picked up from the airport by Greg, the guy who I homestayed with when I first arrived in Seattle. I’ve kept in touch with him and it was great to see him again and have a catch up. We had a few meals together over the course of my stay, and I crashed on his couch for the first couple of nights. Thanks, Greg!

Actually, quick story about the travel. While I was in Nashville on the way there, I looked around and saw the other people on my flight to Seattle and thought “these people look like they’re either from Seattle, or they belong in Seattle!” It was the weirdest thing to be able to recognise a “look” for people from Seattle. Very amusing. Also, when I was flying in and driving with Greg back to his place, I had a nice sense of “it’s good to be back”… it was peculiar having that feeling for somewhere other than New Zealand, but I do really like Seattle and could easily see myself living there for a few years down the track.

First day in Seattle, Greg was off busy at a course, so I went onto campus to have a look around, see if I couldn’t send off some emails to get a hold of people, make a few calls, that kind of thing. I was greatly amused when I arrived at the HUB (Husky Union Building, basically the student center), my student card still worked and bought me a drink and my login still worked and got me on the wireless. I managed to get in touch with Jenny, and we went to the quad so I could take some pictures. I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the cherry blossoms last spring, but the weather was gorgeous and I managed to get some this time. ^^ We also went for a walk up the Ave so I could get some Husky gear, which I did. I got a cap, some basketball shorts and a training shirt.

After staying with Greg, I stayed with Jenny for a few days. She had other things she was doing as well, so I did manage to see a bunch of other people as well. I had lunch with David, the guy I know from Bungie – he ran the animation production seminar that I went to in the Autumn. I bussed over to Kirkland, where the Bungie offices are, and we walked up to a little Japanese restaurant called Blue Fish. It was good to see him and have a bit of a catch-up, let him know what I’m doing, that kind of thing. At the bus stop on the way back, there was this very, very strange person that hassled me while I was on the phone, then accosted several other people before taking a swing at another guy. It was at that point that some people called the police and he bolted.

For dinner that night, I caught up with Joe and Donald, my flatmates from my Autumn quarter. We went to Agua Verde, this little Mexican place around the corner from where we used to live (and they still do… or did, Joe’s probably moved out at this point). It was great seeing them again and catching up on what they’ve been doing. Joe’s finished his degree now and is looking into what he’s up to next.

Jenny was out doing her swing dancing thing that night, so after that, I went and caught up with Sean, a friend of mine from the Anime Discovery Project, the UW Anime Club that I attended while I was there. Sean and I went out for bubble tea much like we did with the whole anime crew. I surprised myself by having my loyalty card for the bubble tea shop and got one for free! Wohoo! Afterwards we went back to his place and I got to catch up with his girlfriend, Dora, and briefly with Kari, another friend from the ADP.

Next morning I had coffee with Lindsay, the administrator who looked after me from the CS department at UW and Magda, my advisor for my last quarter at UW. We just sat and had coffee, chatted for a while about what was going on at CS, that kind of thing. After that I sat and did email for a little while back in the HUB, trying to make sure I saw everyone while I was there. After that I went back to see Lindsay to talk to her about the reasons I was not admitted back to UW in a bit more depth. Turns out it was for a bunch of reaons, really. Some were somewhat frustrating, like my recommendation letters not being in the manner that they were expecting. Others, like not doing as well in my quals courses, were due to a whole bunch of reasons to do with my dealing with my workload (the more than challenging requirements set by Canterbury), shifting countries, moving out of home, my awful insomnia, etc. It sounds a lot like excuses to me, in some respects I guess I just wasn’t good enough. The general gist of the advice I received was that if I wanted to come back, I had to go somewhere else and distinguish myself through research and publication, then apply again later. Ah well. That or I try and do a different degree!

After that, I went and hung out with Joe for a while, had some dinner, chatted, that kind of thing. It was good to just chill with him for a while. Somewhere during the course of the visit, I managed to drop my passport as well… not so good. Luckily for me, someone turned it into the RA, who looked me up on Facebook and sent me a message! That evening, I sat down and chilled out with Jenny and watched some movies: The Incredibles, Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2. During the course of the evening we also looked it up, and yes, they’re making Rush Hour 3!

With more grey, mildly on-and-off rainy weather very typical to Seattle the next day I picked up my passport and Jenny and I went to lunch at Jimmy John’s, the sandwich place I had so much of when I lived in Seattle (since they delivered!). After that we went and saw TMNT, at which I found myself once more pleasantly surprised. The plot was fairly thin and I have to say I preferred the turtles as live action, but overall I quite liked it. Maybe I just have an ability to turn my mind off and enjoy awful movies. I don’t know. Anyway, after the movie we went back to her place and mucked around for a while, did some email and stuff before we went and had dinner (Chinese). Jenny went out and met up with her friends after that, but I was pretty buggered so I stayed in.

Next morning I tried (vainly) to get in touch with some people, then went out to the quad for a photo shoot of the ADP. This also meant I got to see a whole lot more people that I hadn’t seen already from the ADP, since they’d been rather busy. After taking a bunch of photos in the quad (the weather graciously decided to be sunny for a little while), talking crap and catching up, the whole group of us went and had food, something of an early dinner. I also got to meet a few people I hadn’t before, friends of the current members (and previous members). I then went back to Jenny’s, packed up my crap and headed to Joe’s place. There I talked more bollocks with Joe about World of Warcraft (which he’s gotten back into) and other general stuff. I might make a simple website for his WoW clan. Maybe. I then did a bit of work and crashed out on the couch.

Joe and I (continuing tradition) had breakfast at Cafe Allegro at the College Inn, then did some more work on my computer back at his place. After that I headed back on campus and went down to the ADP office. Since the term was starting again that day (previously it had been their Spring Break), it was bound to be open and full of people. I got to catch up with more people, including Jessie and Claire, both of whom weren’t at the photo-shoot the previous day.

I’m hoping now that I kinda got in people’s faces, they’ll remember to email me now and again, as I would hate to lose touch with everyone in Seattle. As an aside, right after getting back from Seattle I started having email problems from hell… I still have issues, just not as bad right now.

Anyway, after hanging out there for a while, I went over to the CS building for coffee with Armin, my classmate (and groupmate) from Germany. We chatted in his office for a while, then moved up to the terrace on the top floor, which had some lovely weather for us to do so. We just talked about bits and pieces, it was good to see him again.

After that I went down to the GRAIL, the graphics lab at UW. I chatted with Kevin for a while about what was going on (turns out Noah was away at a conference or something). I also chatted with an undergrad who’s working with the GRAIL people at the moment… I forget his name. I’d seen him at a bunch of things, since he was the representative for a few of the CS organisations (like IEEE and such, I think) and talked to him as well, just never anything really more than that.

From there I went up to Suporn’s office and grabbed her. Suporn was in some of my classes while I studied and is generally good fun. We went over to the HUB and had some ice cream (ice cream Rolo for me! We chatted for a while and had a catchup, then went back to CS so she could get back to work.

Earlier in the coffee room I had run into Anna, another friend of mine, but when I went up to her office to try and catch up with her a bit more, she had already left for the day. Since this was my last (full) day in Seattle, this was a bit disappointing. Ah well. Turns out there were a few people I just couldn’t get in touch with, or were away, or whatever. Such is life, I guess. Maybe next time I’m in Seattle.

After that I went back to the HUB and chatted to Jenny for a bit, then went out for dinner. I had dinner with Aidan and Kyung, my flatmates from the first time I was in Seattle. It was fun to hear what they’re up to (Aidan’s going to be working for Microsoft!) and to just catch up. After dinner I went and hung out with Jenny for a little while longer, then went back to Joe’s. We talked for a couple of hours or so, then I crashed on the couch.

In the morning I forced myself into “awake” enough to get my stuff together and leave. I got some change from the Cafe Allegro at the College Inn (thanks!) then caught the buses out to the airport. I got there a little earlier than expected since I got to the bus stop a little early and managed to get earlier buses. After going through security and all that jazz, I had a little over an hour to kill, so I did some work. Did more work on the flights back, and a bunch of Sudoku.

Comments are off for this post

Mar18

Trip 1: to Tampa

Posted by Leith in News,Travel,Work
trip-1-to-tampa

For Anastasia’s Spring Break we went down to Tampa to visit her family, since she’s been missing them a lot. We stayed with her mother, who’s actually living in the apartment that we were living in. It was pretty weird seeing the place with different furniture in it. I didn’t get a heck of a lot of sleep since she likes to sleep with movies playing.

We got to see Jess at her new place, which was neat. Cute little place that she shares with some of her friends.

While Anastasia was busying herself running around with the relatives, I managed to get a little work done, which was nice. I did go along for some things, but mostly left her to her own devices.

Anastasia and I went and saw Ghost Rider and I was pleasantly surprised. Since the comic book character is pretty so-so, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of the movie, but I actually quite liked it. It’s not a movie that makes you think terribly much, it’s effects and action, both done well.

We managed to catch up with Chris as well. We saw him briefly when we went to see Ghost Rider (thanks for the poster, Chris!) and then we went out to P. F. Chang’s for lunch with him.

Before we left we also managed to grab a bite with Anastasia’s cousin, Brandon, and his girlfriend, Britney. We actually ended up sitting in a Chili’s, which I hadn’t been to before. Interesting place.

After we got back to Gainesville, we ended up spending a couple of days just chilling out, to recover from the stress that inevitably rises from seeing lots of Anastasia’s somewhat dramatic family.

Comments are off for this post

Mar7

Missing New Zealand

Posted by Leith in News
missing-new-zealand

I don’t know why, but today is just one of those days where I just want to be back in New Zealand.

I miss everyone there a lot and I can’t stop thinking about you all.

1 comment

Mar5

La la la la life goes on…

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Work
la-la-la-la-life-goes-on

Ok, time for an update! Lots of things have happened over the last week or so, not the least of which being my first two rejections from grad school. Disappointing, that. That said, I’m trying to maintain a positive perspective on things, as I have plenty of other opportunities that I can look forward to. I’ve still got two more universities to hear back from, I’m still putting together my application for the Monbukagakusho (Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Technology) scholarship to go to Japan for post-graduate study and if everything fails on the academic front, I can always explore employment opportunities in a number of countries. So, plenty of back-up plans and things I can do… just a wait and see game, figuring out my next piece for the Japanese one right now.

Anyway, the window guys came back and finished up and I must say the new windows are way better than the old ones. Very slick. I guess that was the whole point, but still, it’s impressive. The bed actually broke the day after we set it up, I needed to turn into DIY-man (for those of you with incredulous looks on your faces, yes, I can actually be handy from time to time). It involved measuring, drilling and screwing in screws. Either way, I fixed the bed and it’s all rather lovely now. ^^ In a fit of handiness, I also put together the filing cabinet, a little set of drawers on wheels for files… took a few hours, but wasn’t nearly as bad as putting together the damn desk.

Anastasia’s mother got delayed as it turns out, so she didn’t arrive until Friday. She has subsequently been ill and spent most of her time sleeping on the couch. Looks like she’ll be here at least until tomorrow (she thought she would be leaving today), basically when she gets better.

The television is still busted, as I spent most of an afternoon ringing every TV-repair place in town. It’s looking like unless we can get someone who knows how to fix TVs to do us a deal, it’ll cost us more to fix the damn thing than what we paid for it. I guess this is part of buying second-hand stuff when there’s no warranty and all that jazz but still… we didn’t have a lot of help or guidance, so we did the best we could. Seems like we got kinda burned and now we’ll need to figure something out… we might end up selling it to a repair place for scrap or something, if that’s something they do here. Ah well.

On the work front, I’ve been getting back into it, which has been good. I really need to figure out how many hours of admin it takes me per billable hour, or some other such useful metrics. I’m struggling with the idea that some days I just end up writing a whole lot of (very productive) emails back and forth with people, but don’t get a lot of solid, billable time done. Anyway, I’m back doing work for Dave again in addition to the work I’m doing for Dad’s company, and I finally have a monitor that Elicia brought up with her so I can use the laptop with the busted screen and get some of the work for Roger done. Shouldn’t take too long to do I don’t think, but I kinda need to be able to see what I’m doing! Anyway, I’ll be getting to that once I get that all set up on the desk. In the mean time I’ve been doing work-work for Dave and Dad, and a couple of personal projects on the side, which has been fun. I’ll post more about them when I’m done.

I also got introduced to Battle for Wesnoth recently. The whole thing is open-source and there’s some interesting things that I could do in terms of providing some web-interfaces to some of the unit stuff, or the development to-do list, that kind of thing. So, I’m thinking I might pursue working on some of that… still a bit up in the air though. It would be a good way to get a little experience in doing game development, or at least development related to games.

Anyway, things are still happening, so I’ll still keep writing about them. I’ve had a few comments about my cracks that only three people read this, so I’m thinking of compiling a list on my computer of people I know bother to check this… I’m not picking it will be a long list, but hey, I could be pleasantly surprised.

Comments are off for this post

Mar5

Next school…

Posted by Leith in News
next-school

While I emailed out about the last one, I’m not going to bother with this one.

I didn’t get into Duke University.

Comments are off for this post