The mighty kangaroos

Recently Alyssa is becoming very interested in chess because she is learning it at school. To encourage her new-found hobby, we try to play with her at home whenever we can.

In a funny twist this evening, we learned a new rule that is not in any book: The most powerful piece is not queen; instead, it is David's mighty kangaroos.

The kangaroos can move in any way they want (who cares about those funny squares?) whenever they want (no more waiting for your turn), and can take out two armies in one thunderous move.

The lonely rack

When I went downstairs after work this afternoon, I was quite shock to find that my bike was stolen. Rationally I know this shouldn't be so surprising, given it is a nice bike and I park it at the same spot everyday on a university campus. However, somehow I just can't get over the shock and kept staring at the rack as if my bike will appear again out of the thin air.


Being a proud dad

Alyssa had her first parent's conference at the new school today. I used to go to all these in her old school (while Ann takes care of the kids) and thought it might be interesting for Ann to go this time. It ended up to be a very good choice. The teachers couldn't say enough good things about Alyssa and the praises are basically off the chart. This made a quite a pleasant day for Ann, being the first time to hear someone talks about her kid like that and all. I'm really happy to hear her excited voice after the meeting.

I always know from my heart that all the sacrifices we made for the kids are totally worth it, but I guess it still feels great to see some solid evidences. What made me really happy is that Alyssa doesn't just do well in the academic stuffs (like I did) but she excel in every aspects of her school life and genuinely enjoying the process of learning new things and making friends all the time.

It's writing time again

Things are going well for me at work. In fact, it is going so well that I have enough meaningful data to write my first manuscript here. That said, the writing doesn't seem to be any easier after years of training. The feel of anxiety, the loss of sleep, everything is pretty much as bad as they were before. Fortunately, at least the process is going faster and the end product seems to be better.

Intriguingly, just as I was struggling these days, I saw this quote from Tomorrow's Professor:

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning" - Peter De Vries

Now that's very inspiring. :)


STOP means... bump?

Somehow I kept being rear-ended by college kids when I was stopping at stop signs. Fortunately they are riding a bike too and not driving a car so no one has been hurt in these incidences, but it is still quite annoying.


The 2-year old masters of life

On my brother's blog, he describes his 2-year old son as a "master of life". The reason? "He always speaks of his mind and acts by his words", and thus, truthful.

Reading this got me to think, what about my kids? David, who is also 2 , certainly always does that; Vivian, who is 4 now, almost always; Alyssa, who is 6 now, certainly has a higher level of "sophistication". For example, when she wants something that she expects us to say no, she always manage to send her sister or brother to make the request. That way, she does not get rejected if we say no, or if it was a lucky day, she gets a free ride.

It really makes me wonder, what exactly was involved in the process of learning all these intricacies (or the loss of innocence if you will)? It is truly amazing that kids can learn complex social interactions at such an early age.


A game of words

Ann got me a Nintendo DS game called "My Word Coach". I enjoy this funny little game but it is a bit humiliating when I found out that the program rated my vocabulary at the primary school level (no wonder I didn't ace on my GRE). Well, at least that means I have a whole lot of potential for improvement. :)


Some beautiful pearls

Just saw the Edison Pen's newest creation, the Pearl. It is a beautiful pen and I am very impressed by the double ink window design.


$2.999/gal gas, can you believe it?

So happy today, I can't even remember when was the last time we got gas for less than $3/gal.


Casa Grande Ruins

I took the day off today to take Ho-Yi to the airport in Phoenix (my first vacation!).

On our way back, we stopped by the Casa Grande Ruins, which is an absolutely amazing place. I always find ancient civilization fascinating, so even though it was kind of hot out there, I really had a blast.


Ho-Yi is here

Ho-Yi, our old friend from college, was in Phoenix for a conference and we invited her over to stay with us for a couple days. After we picked her up from the hotel this afternoon, we went to the Saguaro National Park (the west side) to show her some views that she cannot find in NYC.

Kids still remember her from her last visit, which was more than an year ago, and quite excited to see her again.


Lost goat

Saw a "Lost Goat" flyer in our neighborhood. I am surprised that people would keep goats as pets in a big city like these.



Found out about this interesting database from EvoDir:

BioNumbers: http://bionumbers.hms.harvard.edu/

BTW, do you know that vulcanism releases 10^15 gram of carbon per year?