My Grandma

As some of you know, my grandma recently passed away. These past few days have been somewhat difficult to go through, though probably not for the reason you’re thinking about.

I first got informed my grandma was hospitalized on Friday 6/18, the same weekend my brother was flying in to visit me. My dad tells me that the doctors are pretty sure she has some form of leukemia, but wouldn’t be sure which type it is until the labs reopen on Monday.

This sort of threw a wrench into all my plans and I should probably be tarred and feather for even thinking that. On one hand, the right thing to do would be to fly back to see our grandma. On the other hand, a lot of money had already been invested into this trip. We decided to continue with our trip and would get status updates. With that lingering in the back of my mind, I tried to enjoy the time with my brother as best as I could.

Fast forward to Thursday 6/24, I was informed that my grandma has a form of acute leukemia and probably won’t make it past a few days. My dad wanted to know if we wanted to see grandma one last time. My mom already had tickets back to LA on Saturday night and my brother was leaving Sunday morning. I figured if I was going back to LA to see her 1 last time, I’d try to get a flight Sunday morning/afternoon and fly back to Seattle early Monday morning.

While at work on Friday 6/25, my sister IMs me and informs me that grandma is probably in her last moments/hours and I should pray for her. I forwarded that message to my mom and brother. We were later informed that she passed away peacefully some time around 6pm.

I’ve been thinking this over and over for the past few days. Should we have flown back immediately when we heard of the news? What’s killing me isn’t the grief of my grandma dying, but the fact I’m not feeling much grief at all. I’m her grandchild and I should be feeling grief. Is there something wrong with me? This wasn’t just some random family member, this is my grandma who took care of of me since I was little baby.

My earliest memory of my grandma isn’t actually my own memory, but something that has been recorded on VHS. However, my parents and siblings make fun of me everytime about it. I was probably around 4 or 5 at that time and we in the back of our house in Long Island playing with snow. I would throw a snowball at my grandma and playfully she threw one back at me. I began to cry and I wouldn’t stop crying until she let me throw another snowball at her.

I spoke with my dad on Saturday and he sounded okay. It’s a good thing that at least my sister was home to look after him.

Dave told me about his experience and I may just be in a state of shock and grief will probably settle in later. I actually saw my grandma when I went back to visit back in May and she seemed to have been doing fine. The fact that this came out of nowhere may be another reason why I’m in a state of shock. Maybe when I fly back on 7/10 for her funeral, things would become clearer and I can find some emotional release.

Empty House Once Again

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been alone in my house. I woke up this morning and it was eerily quiet. My mom’s been here since end of May and my brother came to visit me for the past week. I originally have a 3-4 page draft of what we did, but I figured I’d just talk about the highlights.

This trip has been a great bonding experience between my brother and I. Ever since I went to college, I’m sad to say we haven’t really spoken much to each other. There would be the customary calling each other during holidays and birthdays and whenever he had computer problems, I’d be there to help him. I guess my brother and I didn’t really have that much in common. On the other hand, I have a better relationship with my sister as we shared common interests.

I took 2 days off work and we went up to Vancouver and Whistler. You can see our photos on Facebook: Vancouver and Whistler 2010. We also went to see Cirque du Soleil and I took them out to several of my favorite restaurants.

Despite our mom being around, my brother and I actually had quite a bit of alone time to chat. One of the things we talked a lot about was relationships and girls. For some reason, I always found this topic hard to talk with people, especially with family, but my brother made it sound like everyday conversation. It was also a bit weird to be taking relationship advice from my younger brother, but he’s definitely had more experience than me. I think we finally found a common interest/topic we share.

On his last night here, we went out clubbing. It was a crazy night alright and I have a 1cm cut on my forehead to prove it. It’s also actually my first time going clubbing in Seattle. I guess my friends up here aren’t really into clubbing.

As with going out drinking with my brother, if you aren’t careful, you’ll get hammered fast. Fortunately for me, I’m starting to understand where my limit is, though I’m still surprised at how much alcohol I can take in and not get wasted. Within the hour, I had:

  • Long Island Ice Tea
  • Shot of Pitron Silver
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Shot of something that tasted like mint chocolate
  • Midori Sour

My brother also wanted to get me an Adios Motherfucker, but I had decided that was it for me that night. I was preoccupied most of the night looking after someone, but my brother was able to enjoy himself, which is really why we went clubbing. Unfortunately what happened after clubbing is sort of like what happens in Vegas, it remains in Vegas. I can tell you that he had a flight to catch at 5:30am and we didn’t get to leave Seattle until 4:40am. We arrived at the airport at 5am and he actually made his flight.

When I woke up this morning, the fact I was now alone in my house became apparent and feelings of loneliness started to creep in. I tried to sleep it off, but that didn’t really help. I ended up watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother and I think I’m feeling better now. Speaking of How I Met Your Mother, it’s interesting how similar my brother is like Barney. Me being Ted, my brother can be an awesome wingman.

Roller Coaster Ride

You ever get the feeling that your life is on a roller coaster ride? No, I’m not on drugs. Haha. I’m talking about way too much stuff happening way too fast.

For the past few years, my life was like a roller coaster stuck in the middle of its track. Finally at the beginning of this year, someone finally fixed it and hit the green go button. Since then, I’ve been on a non-stop roller coaster ride. Now that I think of it, that someone may actually have been my brother after he got me drunk.

It all started with my 3 New Year resolutions. 2 of them have been semi-achieved already.

I’m happy with my current physique, though I’m continuing to tone my body and maybe even reach 130lbs. I’ve decided growing a 6-pack may be beyond what I’m capable of as several of my friends have warned me.

At work, I’ve been switched to a new project which I’m quite enjoying. My lead and I also have an understanding of what I’m trying to accomplish.

For those who know me well, well, you should probably know what resolution #3 is already. I’ve decided to slow down on that for now. I’ll still continue searching, but not as hard. Life was really a roller coaster ride back then, and let’s just say it caused way too much headaches.

Life has been everything except routine lately. There’s been weddings, family/friends visiting me, flying down to LA, planning a trip to the bay area, my new hair cut, my new style of clothing, and just too many to list.

What really prompted this blog post is that my grandma just passed away. She was really sick and was hospitalized last Friday. Turns out she had a really weird case of leukemia and it was too late for the doctors to do much. I was actually contemplating on flying back this Sunday to see her one last time, but it looks like I didn’t make it in time. I’ll be flying down 2 weeks from now to attend her funeral.

This afternoon I got a text from my sister:

just want to let you etan and mom know that grandma is possibly in her last few moments/ hours so pray for her

My grandma and I weren’t exactly close, but she is probably the grandparent I’ve spent the most time with. She was a really cool grandma, but can be very strict (part of the Chinese culture). It’s definitely sad she passed away and I’ll definitely miss her. I was told she passed away peacefully and that’s good to hear. I’m not quite sure what I’m feeling at the moment, but it’s definitely a mixture of emotions. I’m still not sure I’ve been able to wrap my head around this whole situation.

When life is slow, you can spice it up, throw some excitement into it. But when life is moving too fast, where are the brakes?

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-20

Federated Identity’s Last Hurrah

We had our ship party today for shipping AD FS 2.0 and WIF and it was a blast. But as I quote someone else, this felt like Federated Identity’s last hurrah. It was good times tonight alright, got to see a lot of people who I haven’t had a chance to talk with in awhile. With the last re-org, everyone’s seems to have either gone to a different team or left for a different project. I was happy to see everyone again, but sad to see everyone parting ways after this party.

I finally got to meet Vani’s husband Satish (I hope I’m spelling his name correctly) for the first time and apparently he’s heard of me. I’m always curious what they’ve heard when people tell me they’ve heard of me and Vani claims it was all good things. Not quite sure I trust her completely. ;p Anyway, we started talking about our colored energies since we recently participated in the Insights training session. Funny thing is that Derek and Ryan came up in the conversation (came out of how Satish heard about me) and how both Ryan and Derek had so much to teach us and I agree. We started talking about what colors Derek and Ryan had and how they work so well together. We agreed that Derek was probably primary red followed by yellow. However for Ryan although we agreed on the 2 colors: red and blue, I thought Ryan was more blue, and she thought Ryan was more red. Vani made an interesting statement that it’s hard to be red around me, and I began to wonder. Is it possible I’m so green, that I sort of mellow out people so they’re not as red?

I then provided a little insight that I had been thinking about. My impression is that Asian cultures tend have people who are more green, while western culture tend to have people who are more red. I’m not saying there aren’t many green people in western cultures or there aren’t many red people in Asian cultures. One big aspect of Asian cultures is the concept of harmony (和) and peace/harmony was something we valued highly when growing up in my family. However, I’ve always felt that western cultures tend to value competitive people in a dog eat dog world. Even when people work in teams, it’s trying to win over some other team/company. Of course modern day Asia, many of these harmonious concepts have been lost as we become more and more capitalistic. One can argue that in order to really have a harmonious culture/environment, we’d have to become a socialist society. Just thought this was an interesting thought.

Ever since leaving CardSpace, I’ve felt I’ve grown further and further away from a group that was so tight-knit, I’d like to call family. I miss our gatherings, our lunch/dinners together, our camping trips, etc. Since joining AD FS 2.0 halfway through it’s development cycle (compared to joining CardSpace at its beggining), I’ve felt a lot harder to connect with people. It could also be that I really interfaced with like 2 or 3 people on a daily basis. As you know, connecting with people is very important to people with a dominant green energy. I always felt like I was missing something. Now that I’m on a brand new team, I’m hoping to be able to find my niche once again. 🙂

I’ve also received quite a few compliments/remarks on my new look this evening. Some people haven’t seen me since I got short hair. I forget who was the last to tell me, but the # of people who prefer me with long hair has gone up to 5. Now that I think about it, I haven’t been over to Ryan’s since I gotten short hair. And I haven’t seen Derek and Shanna in ages. It’s always nice when people notice I’ve been working out and have gotten skinnier. Definitely provides motivation to continue. Oh yeah! I finally got to try out my new dress shoes for the 1st time! They were very shiny and slippery.

As the night came to an end, a couple of us stuck around till the very last minute, having very candid conversations, some of us more drunk than others. It’s hard to believe everyone’s moving on. Here’s to Federated Identity!

Outlook 2010 and IMAP

Office 2010 Logo

I recently upgraded to Office 2010. Apparently they’ve dropped the Ultimate edition and now the best one out there is the Professional Plus edition. Also unlike its predecessor, any better edition is now a superset of the lower edition. For more information, you should check out the comparison chart on Wikipedia.

I’ve been using Outlook 2010 at work and I love the new UI. It does take a bit to figure out where stuff are. Who knew that all the important settings stuff was stuck inside the orange “File” button. Took me forever to find how to change my settings. But once you have a sense of where things are and your settings are what you want them to be, it’s rather neat!

Anyway, as I mentioned I upgraded to Office 2010 a few days ago on my home PC. At home, I have 5 IMAP accounts. I previously only had 2, but then I added 3 GMail accounts (1 personal, 2 for HDTN). And one thing I always hated about IMAP is deleting emails. IMAP has a weird protocol that marks emails for deletion and requires you to purge them. How Outlook deals with that is by striking a line through that email. And to manually purge your emails, there is no simple shortcut key. You had to navigate through the file menu. It basically resulted to alt+e+g+a (taught to me by Derek).

Now that the ribbon has replaced the file menu, the new convoluted shortcut key is alt+o+r+g+a. At least it spells something that I can easily remember.

However later on, I found a new feature that Outlook 2010 has for deleting IMAP emails. You can now tell Outlook to move your email to a specified folder when you delete (i.e. Deleted Items folder). Another really neat thing about moving emails in Outlook 2010 in IMAP accounts is that it no longer just strikes a line through the old copy. After it’s done copying the email to the new location, it actually marks it for deletion and purges it, like what you would expect moving emails/files to do.

To access this setting:

  1. Click on the orange File button on the upper left-hand corner
  2. Open Account Settings
  3. Double click on the account you want to change
  4. Click on More Settings
  5. Select the Deleted Items tab
  6. Select the 1st option: Move deleted items to the following folder on the server: and select which folder to move it to. If you don’t have an existing folder you’d like to use, you can create a new one on the spot.
  7. Save all your settings
  8. Enjoy!

Google Is Too All-Knowing Vancouver Ad

It’s rather scary to see how much Google knows about you. I’ve been planning to trip to Vancouver / Victoria Island / Whistler these past couple of days (brother is coming up to visit) and the funny thing is I’ve been using Bing for my web searches (for hotels and what to do). The only thing I used Google for was Google Maps to see how long it’ll take to drive from Vancouver to Whistler, where the ferry ports were located, and just a general sense of where stuff are. Don’t ask me why, but for some reasons I prefer Google Maps over Bing Maps.

Within hours of doing that search, I see the above ad on my website. And it just scares me about how much Google knows.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-13


Insights Lego Blocks So work provided an Insights Discovery training session today. It required me to wake up around 8am, which was exceedingly difficult. However, the session was really interesting and rather revealing. They were scarily accurate on their analysis of me based on just 25 questions. I also finally found out where everyone was getting those 4 colored Lego blocks.

Before I continue, here’s some background on the 4 types of energies:

  • Cool Blue: Cautious, Precise, Deliberate, Questioning, Formal
  • Earth Green: Collaborative, Encouraging, Mentoring, Patient, Relaxed
  • Sunshine Yellow: Enthusiastic, Sociable, Dynamic, Demonstrative, Persuasive
  • Fiery Red: Purposeful, Determined, Strong-willed, Competitive, Demanding

The above is just a small set of adjectives that described that particular energy. Each energy actually covers a lot more. All energies have strengths and weakness. Like anything, too much of a particular trait makes it a weakness. The training session was not only to inform us of what type of energies we utilize/prefer, but how to effectively communicate with others depending on their energy. That’s why there’s those 4 colored Lego blocks on my desk now and now I know to look for the 4 colored Lego blocks on others’ desks.

We did an interesting exercise where we had an energy circle taped to our back and had our colleagues rate where they think we are in the circle. Interestingly, 6 out of 9 people rated me as in between Cool Blue and Earth Green.

According to my report, these are my energy split:

  • Cool Blue: 59%
  • Earth Green: 86%
  • Sunshine Yellow: 52%
  • Fiery Red: 11%

Earth Green is definitely my dominant/primary energy as peace/harmony is something I valued highly. I didn’t realize my cool blue and sunshine yellow energy were that close. And it’s laughable that I have any fiery red energy.

There was a 2.5 pages which provided an overview of what type of person I am and it was accurate to the point that it was scary. Here are some statements I thought I shared:

  • He is patient, flexible and usually easy to get along with, having little personal desire to dominate and control others.
  • He will make an effort to remember names and birthdays and make his office or home a pleasant place in which to work.
  • He tends to not show his private feelings, yet experiences a strong internal personal reaction to many situations and events.
  • His strong sense of personal values may make him reserved around strangers whose values he feels may conflict with his own.
  • He tends to take the things he does well for granted and usually underrates and understates himself.
  • He may have a tendency to repress anger.
  • Intent on keeping a low profile, he is quiet and reserved, especially around strangers.
  • Building harmony, understanding and common acceptance is a life-long assignment for him.
  • In conflict, he will listen to all sides before forming a conclusion and supporting a particular view.
  • He will be deeply committed whenever he chooses to undertake a role or task.

These were some that I didn’t realize, but thinking about past experiences, it makes sense:

  • His natural introversion does not prevent him from making critical and incisive comments with conviction and presence.
  • He seeks to unite all parties in a controversy and can readily see the validity of alternative points of view.
  • His quiet demeanor often allows him to get agreement to his alternative solutions.

If you disagree with any of the statements I’ve selected, please do tell. I’d be really interested in finding out what others think of me that do not match my view of myself.

The report contains a bunch of other interesting data like my possible strengths and weaknesses, do’s and don’ts on effectively communicating with me, and lots of other interesting data. Not everything stated really applies to me, but I didn’t even expect this much out of just 25 questions. I wonder if companies actually use these profiles to hire or even fire people.

One thing on the report that scares me is that it says he has a strong sense of duty and faithfulness, but little desire to impress or influence others. The statement is pretty true, but one of the things that Microsoft values highly is impact and influence. My lead has also reiterated that several times. Haha…