Taking Advantage of Facebook Friends List for Privacy Control

The first one is always the hardest. At first I was hesitant. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do it. I was afraid since it was an undo-able action. There was no CTRL+Z. But once I started doing it, I got a certain high out of it. Then it became fun.

This post has been in my drafts since September 2010 and I’ve been meaning to post it, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it publically on my blog. Then I started thinking what the purpose of the post was and decided it was merely for educational purposes.

That weekend in September, I broke 400 friends on Facebook. That got me thinking… I should probably really start cleaning up my friends list. De-friending someone seems like such cruel thing to do. Plus you also lose access to their information. But I eventually made the decision that removing friends was the correct option.

The first remove was definitely the hardest. My mouse pointer was hovering above the “Remove from Friends” link as I was hesitant to actually click it. Funny thing is after I clicked it, there was a confirm or cancel dialog making me ponder once again if I wanted to remove this specific person.

remove from friends button

After removing the first friend or two, I began to get a weird adrenaline rush and it began to feel fun removing friends. There were people I can’t even remember how I knew. Those were the easiest to get rid of. I’ve whittled my friends list down to 382. Not too impressive, I know.

However, I soon hit into the wall of friends who I remember, but never or hardly ever talk to. Would I ever talk to them again? Probably. Do I really care? Who knows. After pondering for a couple days, I decided to redo my entire Facebook privacy control. The nice thing about friends list is that other friends have no idea what lists they are on.

I already had a list for my “Inner Circle” and thought maybe I should create a list of friends to exclude from my regular postings. However, I soon realized that a white list was much better at what I wanted to do than a black list. I initially named the list “Outer Circle”, but ended up dropping the Outer prefix since they were still part of my circle, just not my inner circle. It’s a pity that Facebook doesn’t allow groups within groups, since if I want to add a friend to my “Inner Circle”, I also have to add them to my “Circle”.

I then went and change most of my defaults (e.g. wall, posts, comments, things I share, things others share, contact info, etc.) to my “circle” friends list. The only significant thing I gave broader access to was my photos which I typically share to friends of friends. People outside of my circle still have access to some contact info, where I work, and are able to message me.

I go through the list every couple months removing people I no longer talk to. My current “circle” list is at 168 friends, which is a much more manageable size than 400. I usually add new friends into the “circle” list, and if it turns out I don’t talk with them, they’ll get removed during my next cleaning.

Another nice thing is that even though all my posts default to my “circle” list, I can easily change it to all my friends or friends of friends by clicking on that security lock. This prevents me from actually posting something for the entire world to see, and if I screwed up the privacy settings, I can easily delete that post and post again with the correct privacy settings.

As I mentioned earlier, I was originally hesitant to make this post public. My guess if you’re reading my blog or actually see this post on my wall, you’re already part of my “circle” list. If you aren’t, feel free to give me a ping. (^_^x)

Revisiting the ‘Manhattan’

Toland trying a Manhattan 4 years after first trying the Manhattan at Derek’s holiday party and creating my Facebook picture that lasted for years, I guess it was time to me to give it a try again given my new fondness for alcohol.

First I’d like to thank Derek and Shanna for hosting an awesome party again!

Ryan made me another one to see if I would like it now. It was not as horribly disgusting as my first experience, but it was still pretty gross and hard to go down. I tried to down it like a shot, but it just couldn’t make myself to do it. I did managed to finish the drink after 10-15mins.

Then Derek convinced me to try red bull + vodka, his drink of choice for the night. I dislike red bull in general, but he told me the vodka makes it taste better. Oh what a lie that was. What it made it taste like was cough syrup. I didn’t bother finishing it.

Despite having some really bad tasting alcohol, I did have some really delicious icewine as well as some Moscato (which I mistakenly called it mosquito throughout the night).

Thanksgiving Trip

bonsai This Thanksgiving trip was rather hard to plan, but I was determined. I really wanted some time away and this trip did not disappoint.

First, there was timing. I had been planning this trip for about 2 months, first inquiring about my sister’s plans for Thanksgiving. When I found out that DC was very close to Durham, NC, I decided I’ll go visit Derek as I had promised years ago. However, work got really busy and for those who know me, I tend to procrastinate a lot. I also had a friend visiting me the weekend before Thanksgiving, so that added additional constraints. After coordinating with my sister and Derek, what should’ve been planned months ago, was only finalized a little over a week before my trip.

Second, being someone mindful of money, flying anywhere during Thanksgiving has always been painful. Apparently $650 total to fly from Seattle to Durham to DC and back is actually a decent price given this was during Thanksgiving.


My sister is currently getting her masters at Duke. I figured since I hardly get to see my little sister these days, this would be a good time. Plus it gave me an excuse to travel. Durham is a pretty quiet town, but that could be because I went during Thanksgiving and all the Duke students have gone home. The Duke campus was small, but was really pretty and used a lot of old architecture (I don’t know from which period). They also had a really beautiful botanical garden.

We went and saw Harry Potter 7, something about the deathly hallows. The movie was fun and the acting has definitely improved, but I was never really a big fan of Harry Potter and I guess the movie didn’t affect me much. It was enjoyable otherwise.

For Thanksgiving, we were invited to some other engineering student group’s party and had a rather swell time. They had tons of food, too much in fact, but I guess Thanksgiving is all about abundance and overeating. Met some interesting people there.

On one of the other days, we went and checked out Falls Lake, about 40 minutes NE of Durham. The lake was pretty, but we sort of got lost hiking and trust me, it’s not fun trying to find your way back when the sun’s setting. We managed to get lost several times, trying to look for the little white dots on trees that identified the way back. After a couple mis-turns, we finally made our way out of the forest.

Washington D.C.

Did you know for people who live in DC, you put Washington as your city and DC (or District of Columbia) as your state?

For those who saw my Facebook status earlier, you knew I was extremely fond of their subway system. I wouldn’t say it was as good as Hong Kong’s octopus system, but it was really up there in convenience and usability. I was flying into Baltimore and Derek had sent me his spare keys along with a SmarTrip card several days before I flew out. The SmarTrip card is similar to Seattle’s Orca card or Hong Kong’s Octopus card where you can preload it with money and use it for any public transportation.

The 2nd day I was there, I visited a couple of the Smithsonian museums. Did you know all the Smithsonian museums are free? In fact I was told there were only 3 museums in all of DC that actually charged an entrance fee. These are not your dinky little museums, but world-class museums. I got to check out the Gallery of Art, Natural History, Air and Space, and Portrait Gallery. Due to time constraints, I had to briefly go through them and even then each museum took about 2-3hrs to complete. My favorite was the Natural History museum. While browsing through it, I had wished I could’ve visited here as a kid as I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it much more. The thing I really liked about the Natural History museum is that you get to touch everything. Bones, rocks, … I mean with the museum’s target audience of kids of all ages, they were prepared for this. The Air and Space museum was really cool too, but it reminded me a lot of Boeing’s Museum of Flight in Seattle and maybe that’s why I was not as impressed.

Apparently in order to tour the White House, you have to request like 6 months in advance. The White House was also a lot smaller than I had imagined and less grandeur (from the outside). The Capitol Building gives tours every 15 or 30 minutes. Derek mention that we could try and get a private tour from either my senator or representative. Unfortunately I forgot the names of either of my senators, but for some odd reason I remember California’s. I did remember my rep was Dave Reichart. We located his office in the directory. The people there were very nice. Unfortunately a private tour required 24hr notice in advance, but they were able to give us gallery passes to visit the House of Representative gallery. When the tour started, we were told they were still in session, but they must’ve ended sometime during our tour as we only got to see an empty gallery with a few pages.

The monuments were also really cool. Did you know that the stretch of grass between the Capitol and Lincoln’s memorial is called the mall. When Derek first mentioned the mall, I was a bit confused as I thought he was referring to a bunch of retail stores along that stretch of land. But nope, the mall is what they call that area. I didn’t get to check out all the monuments and memorials as by the time I got to the Vietnam Memorial, the sun was setting. I really wanted to see the statue they put up for the Iwojima soldiers (after watching Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers), but apparently that wasn’t located at the WWII memorial. Derek says that statue is located in some circle, but we never got a chance to visit it.

We also did a Segway tour of the city and that was extremely fun. It was my first time on the Segway, but it was rather intuitive to learn. It was scary when I first got on it, but by the end of the tour, I was doing pretty well. I contemplated for a bit about getting my own Segway, but ultimately decided that it’s not for me, especially given where I lived. Maybe if I lived in the city or if I lived closer to work.

There is so much more to say, so much more I saw, so much more I wanted to do, but I won’t bore you with the details. For my Facebook friends, do check out the photo album (if it’s not up yet, it’ll be up shortly).

I was surprised with how much there is to do in DC. I’ve been there for 3 full days, and wished I could have stayed for at least a full week. That just means there’s a next visit. 😀


lucky plant Several days ago, Ryan shared this interesting article: America: Land of Loners? It was definitely a very interesting read, though the 1st half of the article I thought was much more well written than the latter half. I don’t fully agree with every point, but it’s definitely good discussion material. The overall point of the story stroke a chord close to home.

The article is a bit long, but very inspirational. Several commentators said they called up good friends which they’ve lost touch with. Two passages that I liked particularly are:

Aristotle, who saw friendship as essential to human flourishing, shrewdly observed that it comes in three distinct flavors: those based on usefulness (contacts), on pleasure (drinking buddies), and on a shared pursuit of virtue—the highest form of all. True friends, he contended, are simply drawn to the goodness in one another, goodness that today we might define in terms of common passions and sensibilities.

[…] convinced that more Americans are lonely—not because we have fewer social contacts, but because the ones we have are more harried and less meaningful.

Valerie also shared an interesting letter that Hong Kong TV host Michael Leung wrote to his son: 下輩子,無論愛與不愛,都不會再見 (Doesn’t Matter If We Love Each Other Or Not, We Will Not Meet In The Next Life). Unfortunately the letter is Chinese and although very touching and insightful, all the online translation tools are doing a rather horrible job translating it into English. However, I did find someone who has already spent the time translating so I don’t have to: English Translation.

The 2 passages that I wanted to share are:


(1) Don’t mind people who aren’t nice to you. In your life, no one has the obligation to be nice to you, besides your mother and I. In regards to people who are nice to you, besides treasuring and appreciating them, please also be careful. Because there’s always a reason for anyone to do anything. Being nice to you might not mean they like you. Please make sure of that and don’t be too quick in trusting people as true friends.


(7) You can demand yourself to be trustworthy, but you can’t make others be trustworthy. You can demand yourself to treat others well, but not make others. How you treat other people, doesn’t represent how others will treat you. If you can’t see through this point, you’ll just become frustrated.

So now that I’ve set up my post, it’s time for me to tell you my story. I really like how Aristotle bucketed friends into the 3 categories: utility, pleasure, and true friends. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain what friends of utility and pleasure are, but true friends are hard to describe. Not all friends need to fit into 1 single category. They can easily overlap multiple. And no one starts out as a true friend.

Just a few days ago, I forget how this topic came up, but I was describing to Chris how I would determine if someone is really a true friend. I told him if a true friend came up to me and asked if he could borrow (undisclosed amount) of money, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to them. If a true friend needed a kidney or a liver transplant and mine matched, I would not hesitate to give it to them. As the Chinese saying goes: 赴湯蹈火 (willing to go through water and fire to help). I understand this is a very romanticized view and I haven’t really been put to the test, but I honestly think there are a few people that I’d be willing to go to all extents to help.

In the first article, Daniel Akst brings up the point that our friendships these days are less meaningful, and I agree with that. Besides the courtesy hello I say to my neighbors when I bump into them, I never really talk to them. I did bake cookies for some neighbors some time ago, but that was because they had helped me during the snow storm. Thinking back when I was a kid, I knew practically every family up and down my street. The concept of community and family is not as meaningful anymore nor the bonds as tight as before. Chris told me he knew of a co-worker that worked in the bay area, but his wife lives on the east coast with their child and they meet once a month. Dave and I were surprised a family could even work that way.

In the past, the place you were born was the place you died. The people you grew up around were always the same people, so forming strong bonds were simple. These days, we’re very mobile. We go far away for college, for careers, and the more you move around, the harder it becomes to make strong bonds with people. It’s just human nature to form stronger friendships with people you see frequently and friends you hardly see anymore slowly become more and more distant. That was what happened after I went to college, then again when I moved up to Seattle for work.

However, I think technology and Facebook has made staying connected much more easier. I disagree that having a ton of friends on Facebook has diluted friendships. Not all Facebook friends are equal, just like in real life. I have many acquaintances, but only a few true friends. In effect, technology has removed the physical distance which was a huge barrier for developing strong friendships.

With that said, it wasn’t until very recently which I’ve been pro-active in trying to build and rebuild friendships. In the past, I was very passive. Friends would come and go, and I would never really pursue them. It was never hard for me to make new friends as my personality is generally cheerful and helpful. However, I’ve realized that there are friendships I want to maintain and not lose. It may be cliché to say friendship is a 2-way street, but it really requires both sides to put in an effort. When one side doesn’t really care (me in the past), it’s hard to make it strong and that’s when something as silly as distance can easily break it.

I hope my post has been interesting, if not inspirational. And good luck! (^_^x)

Back to the Bay

First I’d like to thank Chris for being such a great host. Next I’d like to thank Dave and Lexie for showing us around Monterey Bay.

It looks like I was able to escape part of the Seattle heat wave this weekend. I flew down to the bay area to visit Chris and Dave. I’ve been meaning to visit Chris and the bay area for some time. When I went back to LA in May, Dave had mentioned he had a hapkido tournament in Berkeley sometime in August and I thought it’d be great to meet up then. After some coordination, the trip was set.

I flew into SJC. The airport was really nice and apparently I was in the new terminal because Chris didn’t even know the terminal I was at existed. On my way back, there was also a lady standing in front of my gate telling people getting off the plane that this was the new terminal and they should definitely check out the bathroom. A bit weird, but okay… It was also awesome that SJC had free wi-fi.


The only thing I wanted to check out in Berkeley was Ryowa, a really good ramen place. When Chris mentioned that there was a Ryowa in Mountain View, we knew we had to go there for lunch on Friday. The ramen was awesome as expected, but I was sad that the special fried chicken was only offered during dinner on weekdays. Mmmmm, special fried chicken. Next time!

Update: Forgot to mention that while eating ramen, I get an unexpected call from Derek C. Apparently he’ll be in town the same weekend Darryl and Heang are coming up. Sweet!

Santana Row

Dave and I hung out at the Valley Fair mall and Santana Row while we waited for Chris to get off work. Santana Row looked very familiar and when I saw the Maggiano’s, memories of eating there came back. It wasn’t until I saw the Ramada Inn next to Mercado that I began to piece things together. The memory is still a bit fuzzy, but Carol, Dave, and I apparently took a trip to visit the Monterey Bay aquarium a few years ago. Along the way, we thought it’d be nice to visit Chris, but it turned out he was out of town. Apparently the hotel we stayed at is literally just ~5 mins from Chris’ current apartment.

Getting Chris Drunk

The highlight of this trip was getting Chris drunk.

We had dinner at this really good Indian place in Santana Row called Amber India. After dinner, we tried looking for a quiet bar where we could sit and chat, but was unsuccessful in locating one. We opted to pick up some stuff at the supermarket and chill at Chris’ place. We picked up some rum and coke and went back to watch Role Models on Dave’s laptop. It was like back in our old college days.

Halfway through the movie, we got the munchies. Since none of us were in the condition to drive, we decided to walk to Safeway. We all took another shot before leaving. The stuff was pretty gross. I believe it was Southern Comfort. Turns out Chris is also a happy drunk and the walk to Safeway and back was filled with very fun stories. After getting back, we decided to do another round of shots. Apparently I suck at measuring shots, which turned out more like 2 shots each. I guess it didn’t help that we took shots out of mugs. ;p

I don’t think we ever finished the movie, as chatting and catching up was so much more fun. Dave passed out on the couch and after a bit more chatting, we all hit the sack.

Monterey Bay

There were originally plans to drive up to San Francisco, but being unable to decide what we wanted to do in the city, we opted instead to go down to Monterey Bay and check out Point Lobos and the Purple Beach. We met up with Lexie and she was an awesome guide! We learnt really interesting tidbits about the area, why there were currently so many seals and sea lions around the area, how to spot whales from land, what the difference between a seal and sea lion was, and so on.


Did you know that seal’s pectoral fins (flippers) are less developed compared to a sea lion? As Dave would say, seals are like sausages in the sea, flopping around. Also apparently seals don’t make much noise if any, and if you hear barking, it’s most likely from a sea lion.

Lexie’s also about to begin training sea lions and dolphins to tag sea mines which sounds so cool!

China Beach

I didn’t take any pictures on this trip so I’ve decided to steal a couple from Dave. Plus he has the nicer camera. ;p

I was sad I wasn’t able to try out Lexie’s Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut bread that Chris and Dave praised so highly about.

Before leaving Monterey, Lexie and Dave recommended Turtle Bay Taqueria for dinner. They had some really good Mexican seafood dishes. Their salsa was awesome too. They had this really hot salsa called X’nipec (meaning dog’s nose or something like that) and you just can’t stop eating that salsa, because it’ll burn like crazy.


We didn’t get back to San Jose till later in the evening. Since neither Chris nor I could ever decide on anything, I suggested watching Inception. Chris hasn’t seen it yet and I had wanted to rewatch it for some time. I also got Chris to invite his friend who had also wanted to see Inception and she joined us on the adventure.

It was just as awesome as the first time and this time I picked up on the several new parts which I had missed. I still couldn’t make out what Mal said during the train scene. I swear to god I still hear her shout, “You’re the devil.” Guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD/Blu-ray.

Things definitely close way too early in San Jose. We were trying to find a coffee shop or boba place after the movie, since how can you not have discussions about the movie after something this epic. Both Yelp and Urbanspoon failed us. Everything close by appears to be closed by 10, even on a Saturday night. Unfortunately, we had to part ways after the movie.

Half-Moon Bay

On my last day down in the bay area, I requested we go to In-n-Out for lunch. Mmmmm. It’s been years since I had In-n-Out and the burger was awesome. Zagat just released that Five Guys beat In-n-Out, taking the crown for the best fast food burger. There’s actually a couple Five Guys here in Seattle. Should definitely check them out sometime.

After lunch, we drove to Half-Moon Bay and hung out at the beach for some time. In retrospect, it would’ve been awesome to have brought a football with us or anything to throw around.

Finally it was time for me to go home. I wasn’t looking forward to returning to 90F+ weather after being in the bay area which was 78F and sunny. Look what happened to the soda can I left in my car! When I got back to my house, my thermostat registered 89F (this was at 9PM). After opening all my windows and waiting half an hour, it dropped back down to ~80F.

Final Thoughts

Listening to the Inception soundtrack and falling asleep on the plane is awesome, especially when there’s a screaming kid sitting across the aisle. According to my Zune, I’ve listened to the entire album 50+ times already.

After switching to my messenger bag, I had opt to leave out a bunch of things since there was less space compared to my backpack. However, during this trip, I realized I needed to add the following back:

  • Zune charger
  • Ethernet cable
  • USB Jump Drive

I got a bit sunburnt again, but not too bad, just a reddish hint.

It looks like I found some new travel buddies. One of the many conversations we had that night was about traveling. There’s a lot of places I would like to visit, but I hate traveling alone. Traveling with companion(s) is so much more fun as you get to share the experience. So Chris, Dave and I were talking over places we’d like to visit. (Side note: For some reason I thought Dubai was in Africa, but it’s really in the Middle East.) Anyway, we decided to start small, with places in the US (New York, D.C., Chicago, Boston, etc.) and then move onto far away lands (Australia, Asia, Europe, etc.). On a similar but unrelated note, we’re trying to plan a snowboarding trip up to Whistler in December or January.

4th of July

Jan Lyk's Party I’d like to first thank Ryan and Angel for inviting me to their 4th of July party. I’d also like to thank Jan Lyk and Joanna for inviting me to their house warming party. I apologize beforehand for taking such crappy pictures, but there were others who took much nicer pictures than me.

As always, there’s tons of yummy food at Ryan’s and Angel’s and of course the desserts are the best part. The grilled asparagus comes to a close second. We chatted and played Rock Band. I was then introduced to Time’s Up, a mixture of charades/taboo which was really fun. Unfortunately my team lost big time as I’m not that familiar with pop culture (nor the inside jokes apparently), but it was really fun. I’ve always been a big fan of charades and pictionary and other team guessing games.

Ryan made me an Old Fashioned and for some reason, I thought the drink was way too thick. By thick, I mean it had a high viscosity and I didn’t particularly like that. I kept on adding ice to it, and it helped a bit. I felt like it had a consistency of syrup, but maybe that was because it was so sweet. When I was at Jan Lyk’s, I had a couple glasses of whiskey on the rocks and found that to be much more enjoyable. Though apparently it’s a sin to have Johnny Walker Gold w/ ice. Maybe next time I’ll have it straight up.

I left Ryan’s around 7:45pm, but not before I had a spoonful of their homemade vanilla bean ice cream (which was awesome!).

By the time I got to Jan Lyk’s, it was pretty much a full house already. Jan Lyk’s new place is really sweet! I think they really have great taste in design and furniture. What’s missing right now is a giant TV in their living room.

So Jan Lyk was also having a BBQ at his party and apparently this was a Brazilian BBQ in contrast to the American one at Ryan’s. The difference is American BBQs typically comprise of hamburgers and hot dogs, while Brazilian ones comprise of racks of meat. I was pretty full by the time I got to Jan Lyk’s party, but I couldn’t pass up on medium rare filet mignon. There was also chicken, racks of lamb, racks of beef, and probably some pork also.


Later in the evening we went up to his roof to watch the fireworks going off at Gasworks Park. We had a pretty good view, besides the fact there was a nude guy across the street walking around his apartment with his blinds opened. I did miss blowing up fireworks at Ryan’s since I love being a little pyromaniac. Plus they usually have ones that shoot up like 20ft into the air which is just awesome. Maybe next year.

At Jan Lyk’s, I noticed this funky chalkboard clock and I mentioned to Aurash that he should fix the rooster:

Clock Chalkboard

After speaking with Joana, she explained why there was a rooster. See if you can figure out why there’s a rooster on the clock.

I met a bunch of new people and we chatted quite a bit and everyone was having a swell time. I finally left Jan Lyk’s around 3:15am. I should probably go get some sleep.

How I Deal With Stress

This is actually a happy post as I’ve been reflecting these past few days on a lot of things. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write this up initially as there’s quite a bit of stuff I don’t feel like sharing with the world. In the end I’ve decided to split it into 2 posts. The 2nd post will most likely be password-protected if it ever gets published and is currently titled Krunk is a Jackass.

I can be a very private person, especially around people I’m not familiar with. I generally don’t like talking about myself, and would much rather listen to other people. Then what do I call this blog? Some of the stuff I’ve written up are pretty private. I’ll get to that.

Given that I’m a private person, I tend to keep stuff bubbled inside me. It’s all fine when I’m happy and content, but when I’m stressed or sad, it sort of builds up and I can get really depressed. Usually when that happens, I have 2 main outlets: close friends and my blog.

When I’m really depressed, I usually call up some close friends and grab dinner or something. Sometimes I do talk about my problem, but what I really want is the company. Just being around people who care about me always makes me happier.

The other outlet is my blog. I find that I’m able to talk a lot more about myself on my blog than to people. It helps me reflect and is very relaxing and soothing. By typing everything out, even if no one reads it, it allows me to channel all the pain away.

Something else I find that works for me is watching comedic TV series. I’m not sure if it’s just any funny series or the fact how “How I Met Your Mother” reflects a lot about myself, but whenever I watch it, all my problems seem to melt away.

I notice recently when my mind wanders, either when I’m driving, sitting, or just walking in circles, my mind tends to drift toward embarrassing/depressing moments, and I would end out shouting expletives. For some reason, hearing myself shout the word F*CK, helps calm me down quickly. I usually don’t do it in front of people, but my brother caught me a few times quietly shouting under my breath while I was driving and he thought I made a wrong turn.

Another interesting observation I’ve made is that I tend to lose a lot of weight when I’m stressed. That sort of explains how I got from 170 to 140 in just a few months and why I lost like 5lbs this past week. Of course the exercise helps, but it helps more with maintaining the weight lost.

So a lot has happened in the past week. Besides what I’ve blogged about already, I think I’m finally over my *cough* problem. You know how you know you’ve finally moved on when you’re no longer trying to avoid someone, but can instead hang out with them and chat with them for hours. My brother has helped me put a lot of things into perspective. My brother has also helped instill confidence in myself that I’ve lost long ago. The Krunk in me is finally waking up from hibernation and it’s mostly thanks to my brother. Oh, haaaaaave you met Krunk? Yah, Krunk is a Jackass.

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?

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!

Excruciating Ankle Pain

So on Sunday morning, Chris and I were trying to decide what to do. Somehow we decided we would go check out the Getty Center (it’s been a really long time since I visited). We originally wanted to check out the Getty Villa, but there were no more tickets. The Getty Center didn’t require reservations, so we decided to check that out instead. However, before we even got to the parking lot, there were these long lines trying to enter it. We sat in line for about 10 mins, then decided to give up and try something else.

Cari had suggested a hiking trail to see the Hollywood sign before we decided to go to Solstice Canyon (more details about the rest of my vacation trip later). I’ve only seen the Hollywood sign while driving and thought it be nice if we can get a closer view of it. We called up Cari and got directions from her. We still ended up getting lost because both our memories were bad. Thankfully we had a GPS in our car and it got us to Griffith Park and we drove up to the Griffith Observatory. This place was also packed, but we found parking along the street.

We checked out the Griffith Observatory and found the trail Cari was talking about. The hike was fun. We also got to see the Hollywood sign. It was funny trying to see Chris find a cell signal at the top of the mountain (or is it still called a hill?).

View of Griffith Observatory and Los AngelesHollywood SignChris and Toland

More photos can be found in my Facebook album.

On our way down, we got lost several times, and somehow ended up at a different entrance, which was near the entrance of the park where we drove up. So we followed traffic back up and finally got back to our car. So why is this blog post titled ‘Excruciating Ankle Pain’ and so far I’ve only described about our hiking trip at Griffith Park. I think during the trip, I somehow sprained my ankle or strained muscles around there. I started feeling a small amount of pain near the end of the hike, but I was still able to walk and the pain wasn’t that bad. I blame my shoes. I shouldn’t have worn sneakers to hiking, but I didn’t really have tennis shoes back in LA.

Anyway, my mom noticed I was limping a bit and asked what was wrong. As with all Chinese people with muscle aches and pains, the solution is 鐵打, where you keep rubbing the herbal oil on the sore spot till you literally burst into tears. I mean the Chinese characters literally translate to iron hit. However, my condition didn’t get any better the following day, so another round of rubbing herbal oil. My condition actually got a lot worse afterwards, where I could barely walk. Standing and sitting was fine. However when I walk and by step #4, I was in excruciating pain. Stairs also didn’t help. If you saw me these past few days, you might’ve noticed I was limping, or maybe I was just really good at hiding it.

Anyway I was in so much pain, I started looking up treatments online and there was this PRICE or RICE thing (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). I found it odd that 2 of the steps in that list were to stop swelling, but my ankle did not swell at all. So I didn’t bother with ice nor elevation. I had taken some Tylenol, but it did not help relieve any pain at all. I then tried some ibuprofen, which was suggested not only as a pain reliever but also to help with the swelling. That is when I found out I might be allergic to ibuprofen. I’m not sure if it was because I took ibuprofen 10 minutes after Tylenol or because I had Thai food afterwards, but whatever the combination was, my lips began to swell and feel numb. I checked online and people claim there should be no side effects for taking Tylenol and ibuprofen together. Oh well. As my sister says, now I have something to list when doctors ask if I’m allergic to anything.

After work that day, I was in so much pain, I headed to Target to see if they carried ankle braces. The last time I fractured my ankle and after they took off the cast, they gave me this elastic band which wrapped around my foot and ankle, providing some support. Unfortunately I was unable to find the elastic band at home. Target fortunately did carry something similar and they called it the ankle stabilizer. I tried it on in the parking lot immediately after paying for it and the ankle brace did wonders. Immediately, walking was nowhere as painful.

My mom asked that night if I wanted to rub more herbal oil on my ankle and I respectfully declined. I’m not saying 鐵打 doesn’t work. It has worked most of the time when I’ve had muscle pain. In fact when I had wrist pains from too much typing, 鐵打 fixed my wrist in 3 days when a wrist brace + wrist exercises for 3 weeks did not. However, I’m guessing whatever happened to my ankle can’t be fixed with 鐵打 this time around.

It’s been about 2 days since I got my ankle brace and I’m happy to say I’m recovering quickly. I can now walk without the brace with little to no pain. My ankle still feels a bit weak and running is still a no no. That means no elliptical for me, which leaves only weight training. I miss my TV. It’s so weird to watch TV without me running on the elliptical that I haven’t even watched the 24 finale yet. Hopefully I’ll be fully recovered by this weekend.