Busy time

So we are going back to Taiwan in less than 10 days, and our to-do list of things that need to be done before we go just keeps growing. Some are expected, and many more are unexpected.

The good thing is that the main concern, my proposal for a NSF postdoc fellowship, is almost done so I will definitely get it in with time to spare. I still have two manuscripts that need revision before I can send them off. Maybe I'll have to bring some serious work on the trip after all.

Things at home are not going so well. Our not-even-one-year-old-yet fridge just stopped working and it'll take at least a couple days to get it fixed. In the mean time our quality of life is greatly impacted, but that doesn't seemed to be covered by any warranty. The car may need a new battery otherwise we face the possibility of a dead battery when we get back, which is a situation that I definitely want to avoid. Nina has been seen by the vet and has all her vaccinations up to date, but she is not happy about not getting enough attention and is becoming more and more annoying (hence getting less and less attention, *sigh*).


Okay, I am getting old after all

After days of procrastination, I finally have my knee checked by a doctor. As it turned out, I actually cracked my knee cap so it's much more serious than I've thought. Time to watch my calcium and Vitamin D intake I guess.


Getting ready to chew

David is going through a growth spurt for his teeth over the past few weeks. He even has a molar now! We are joking that maybe he knows about our trip to Taiwan and is getting ready for all the delicious food there.


Trick or treat at the library

Our public library has the annual trick or treat tonight. We always enjoy this event because the kids get to dress up (and see other kids too). What's even better is that they give kids all kinds of small and fun toys, instead of the candies that we don't allow the kids to eat. Unfortunately I couldn't go this year because of my knee injury, so Ann took all three kids there by herself this evening.

The librarian who got the nod for best costume is Mr. Broccoli this year.

Actually I'm still too young

Upon further reflection on my recent stupid injuries, I realized that the real cause was that I'm still too young, rather than too old. First of all, if I was a bit older (either mentally or physically), I probably won't be playing those silly games with the girls. Secondly, although I no longer want to win everything at any cost, I still want to win a lot of things. When I was explaining to the girls that I was hurt so bad because I fell when running really fast, Vivian asked me a question that hit the key point: "Daddy, why do you want to run really fast?" And finally, I still can run really fast. According to the formula E = (m * v^2)/2, tripping over some unknown objects can have serious consequences when one is running at a fast speed.

Anyway, my knee is good enough to carry me back to office today. As expected, everyone (except Jessie) asked me if I had a bike-related accident. I told everyone that the real story was far more embarrassing than that, and people with kids seem to be able to understand. Jessie asked me if I injured myself while having fun or just doing something silly, and my answer to that was "I was doing something silly to have fun at that time".


It sucks to be old

Even when you are only a bit over 30. Because when compared to a 3 year-old, you are very very very old.

Yesterday I was playing with Alyssa and Vivian and fell down while running. I have seen this happened to them countless times now, and all they have to do is stand up, brush the dirt off, and maybe cry for a minute or two, then they are good to go again. But for me, I sustained a bad knee injury, serious scrapes on palms/fingers/knees/left shoulder, and couldn't stand up for about 5 mins. Granted, I ran much faster and weigh much more than the girls, but this still sucks.

It's been more than 24 hours now and I still can't walk. My right knee is all swollen and hurts pretty bad. Ann said this is my worst injury for the past 13+ years, and I can't remember being hurt this bad before either. All these for a silly running game, *sigh*.


David's 15-month checkup

David had his 15-month checkup today. Now he weighs 24lb 7oz (11.1kg @ 50 percentile) and is 33.5" tall (85cm @ 90 percentile). Way to go big guy!


Great news all the way around

This title is from Jessie's response to my email about two things happened last week.

First, I got an offer of postdoc position from the place that I really wanted to go. So that means I'll have a "semi-real" job next year, which is a great step toward a "real" job sometime in the future.

Second, dad had a successful surgery to take out the tumors in his backbone. The doctors also found that his liver function is better than expected, so some treatments should help to slow down the deterioration. Guess we'll see him in an okay condition when we go back to Taiwan next month.


Dinner with the Ninja250 gang

A bunch of members from the Ninja250 club went to Road Atlanta to see the WERA Grand National Finals this weekend. I didn't get a chance to join them and watch the race but managed to join them for dinner after the race on Sunday. This pic was taken outside the El Sombrero in Oakwood, GA.


Alyssa's violin recital

Alyssa had another violin recital today. We are really happy that she decided to choose songs that she knows well and then have a great performance.

If you are happy

clap your hands!


The tech-savvy generation

After seeing me talking with Ann on the phone last week, Alyssa asked when will she have her own phone. She said that she will need her own phone to call her friends, and to counter my point that she actually sees her friends at school everyday, she pointed out that she hasn't talked to Gregory (one of her best friends) for a very long time now since he moved to another school.

So I told her that none of her friends have their own phone, and in fact, she will have to call their home phone even if she can get one of her own. Given this situation, why doesn't she use our home phone to call her friends at home?

She was extremely excited about the idea and today I even got a chance to teach her how to look up the number using the phone book. So she called Gregory and had a very silly conversation with him. Vivian got a turn too and I have no idea what they were talking about. Alyssa was having so much fun with this and insisted that she had to call Ella too, just so that "she knows that I called Gregory". And again, they all had uncontrollable silly laughs.

Watch all these happening, David grab the other phone from Ann's hand and had the most "serious" ever conversation with his grandma.

I wonder when they will start to use emails.

Grandma is an armadillo

"Grandma" in Taiwanese is pronounced as "A-Ma". This evening Vivian somehow made the connection and decided that her grandma Aina is an "armadillo".


Did I mention that I'm a theoretician?

Received the formal acceptance letter from the Journal of Theoretical Biology today regarding my paper with Vanessa and Daniel. Guess that means I am entitled to pretend I am an evolutionary theoretician from now on, isn't that cool?


Evolutionary bioinformatics is for lazy scientists

A while ago I attended a talk by Scott William Roy, in which he classified bioinformaticians as parasitic organisms. I think that's a pretty funny joke.

Today while listening to a talk by Eric Haag at our department seminar, it suddenly occurred to me that evolutionary bioinformatics is great for lazy scientists. Basically the experiments have been done by nature (the "evolutionary" part), and better yet, the data have been collected by other people (the "bioinfo" part). All we have to do is to play with the data on computers. Doesn't that sound easy enough?

Who are these people?

Q: Who is CP Cheng?
Vivian: Grandpa!

Q: Who is Aina Hung?
Vivian: The person who buys chocolates!


Valves and carbs

After we are done with Hugh's bike last week, it is time to adjust the valves on my Ninja250 this weekend. Hugh kindly offered to come down to Athens with all the tools to help me do that in our house. Without hesitation, I shamelessly asked for all the help I can get.

To make things go faster, I took the bike apart the day before Hugh came. The fuel tank is so huge and oddly shaped, I had a hard time finding a place to store it. I ended up had a lot of fun with it. Here is a joke from my trial and error when finding a place for it:

Dad, can I have that fuel tank?

I want to build a super trike!

That's too big, I am going to get rid of it.

I actually tried to put it on the trike first. David's facial expression was really interesting when he saw it. After tried a couple different places, I finally settled with the recycle bin. It is fairly stable, plus the color is a good match.

Alyssa and Vivian watched me to take the bike apart and they were both surprised to see that their dad is capable of doing such things. Alyssa is always wondering about how things work so I spent a little bit of time explaining to them how motorcycle works, things like here's the fuel tank, gas flow from here to the engine, engine burns gas and turns the gears, gears drive the chain, and chain drives the rear wheel. I hope this is a good experience for them and wish I had experience like that when I grew up. While my dad spent a lot of time taking care of his cars, I've never seen him working on the cars himself and the whole mechanics thing is just a big mystery for me. Sometime I still wonder how I developed interests in these sort of things given my childhood experience (study, study, and study....).

Hugh got to our house around 10 on Sunday morning. I was kind of embarrassed when I found out that we don't even have any coffee in the house for our guest, maybe we should stock up on coffee next time. Ann took the kids to the Memorial Park while we were working on the bike. Here is a picture of us and two under-age mechanics before they go:

Since we had just done the same job on Hugh's Ninja250 last week, we both thought that the second time should go very smooth. To our surprise, it actually took longer to adjust the valves on mine. But anyway, we eventually got everything right (hopefully) and even have the carb sync'ed before lunch. Here's a picture before we went out for lunch, it serves as the evidence that we didn't screw up:

We took West Lake Dr to get to McAlister's and it was a very good ride. The weather was very nice today so we sat outside to enjoy the delicious sandwiches. I am very happy to have such a good friend to share my hobbies and hope we can go for another ride soon.