Ouch the itch

Somehow I managed to stay clean from buying fountain pens since May this year. The two wonderful Japanese pens that I got (a Platinum 3776 Jade with Music nib and a Pilot/Namiki M90) have kept me occupied for quite a while. Alas, such thing is not meant to last; it appears that the resistance is futile and I was bitten by the bug yet again.

The three available colors (Autumn Leaves, Sea Breeze, and Winter Storm) in the Seasons collection by Libelle all look stunningly beautiful. Taccia is not helping either; their Momenta is very attractive in any of the five colors (Chocolate Espresso, Merlot Swirl, Marine Waves, Midnight Clouds, and Onyx Black) and I really like the Staccato in Starry Night or Lunar Blue.

Oh what to do? What to do?


Family website remodeling

I wonder how often a "normal" person would say "Hey, it's Friday night. Let's write some Perl scripts for fun!" But anyway, that's exactly what I just did.

Several years ago, I decided to setup a website for our family, mainly as a way for our parents in Taiwan to see the photos of their grandchildren. Gradually, the site evolved into a huge archive of all our family photos. It works out wonderfully for us because we all enjoy having convenient access to all the old photos; the kids always want to see what silly things they have done when they were babies. However, with the ever increasing capability of the digital camera, the file sizes (particularly for videos) have now become too big for our parents to view over the slow connection. Finally, I got the chance this evening and converted all the thousands of video files into flash format. Now, while I am waiting for the files to upload, let me polish my geek badge a bit. :)


A not-so-hot Ninja

The temperature here has finally come down to the mid-90s and make it so much more pleasant to go out for a ride. I particularly like the fact that the engine doesn't threat to overheat whenever I stop for a red light. I am also very happy that I somehow made peace with the strong winds in the mountains and no longer feel intimidated by them.

The slightly extended ride this afternoon reminded me again the beauty of Tucson. I think riding on the back of a motorcycle provides a good balance for enjoying the sight. Traveling in a car makes me feel encapsulated and isolated from the outside world, whereas riding a bicycle simply can't get me very far (not to mention the sweaty part).


David's statement of rebellion

"I don't have to follow the rules because I am going to be a not-nice guy. My sisters need to follow the rules." I guess it's tickle time again. :)


Alyssa's TV contract

There is one thing that we really like about Alyssa's school: they teach kids how to manage their time in a very effective way. At the beginning of every week, each kid will get a contract that lists everything they need to learn for the week. The kids get to decided when and how to get the jobs done before the end of the week. Being an impatient kid, Alyssa always managed to finish her contract early, sometime as early as Tuesday, so she can arrange the rest of the week how ever she want.

We thought that this is a very good system and encouraged Alyssa to do this at home as well. So when she comes home, she makes up her own to-do list, sometimes for the evening and sometimes for an entire weekend. Because this is not school, we let her have complete control about what she wants to put on the list and how soon she want to finish the things. Usually she just put down things such as doing workbooks, practice violin, and other things like that. So I was quite surprised when she used the reason "I have this on my contract" to ask for some TV time this evening. Ann and I had a good laugh. Guess we still need to teach her the difference between to-do list and wish list.


A short trip back to Taiwan

Still recovering from my trip back to Taiwan. It was a great trip, but in the same time totally exhausting.

During the trip, I took a chance to visit my alma mater, National Taiwan University, and had a lunch to catch up with some old friends from college.

It is stunning to acknowledge the fact that we all graduated from college more than 10 years ago. When we talk about all the amusing memories, they all seemed to have happened in last month or so. It is also very funny to see how almost everyone is pretty much the same as they do back in college.

Outside of the campus, I saw some interesting sights in Taipei. Here is a restaurant called Tamago Ya (literal translation: Egg House):

I wonder what they sell inside.

Right next to the campus, I am surprised to see that Taipei is running out of the space for everything, including bicycle parking:

The main point of taking this trip was work-related, so as rare as this sort of things happen, I need to be in suit and tie:

The evening before my return flight, I met with my mom and my brother's family. Here is my only nephew who was trying to have some fun making a mess for his mom to clean up:

Anyway, really need to get some sleep now, which is very hard to do. Will see how well that melatonin pill works.


Home sweet home

Finally get back from my week-long trip to Taiwan and settle back to my normal life. It is amazing how much stress/anxiety/excitement can do. Sleep deprivation? Not a problem! Jet lag? Doesn't feel a thing!

The only problem is that when the payback time comes (and it did), it sure is punishing.