nyankoframe: (myu~)
Today, I went for a bicycle ride organized by some people at work during lunchtime. To make a long story short, I got to see a lot of different parts of Bellevue that I'd never seen before, and cycled along 520 and under 405 several times. There were a lot of hills, and it was much more tiring than I'd anticipated, but I was able to finish the entire ride and get back to office in one piece.

I think I might try a slightly shorter route on my own and take pictures of some of the more beautiful areas soon. I just need to get a faster bike and train more first. :P
nyankoframe: (I rock.)
I normally go to work on NE 40th Street and then through the Overlake Transit Centre Center to work. Most days, I cycle on the road (after making a left turn from 148th) and then take the pavement sidewalk through OTC into the Microsoft campus.

Today, though, I took the road as usual and promptly got stuck in traffic because they had closed two lanes of the overpass above 520 (there was only one turn lane and one through lane). So I just hopped off the road and cycled on the sidewalk until I got to OTC. It was priceless. D:

It's cleaner (less chance of inhaling noxious fumes) than cycling on the road, although the tradeoff is that sidewalks tend to be more uneven (they have a lot of ups and downs, as well as having to wait for traffic lights) and there are pedestrians too, which makes it slower. One good thing though is that you won't have angry/impatient drivers honking at you, flipping you off, rolling down their windows to throw things at you (!!!) or getting out of their cars to talk to you (!?!?!). Not every place has a sidewalk wide enough, though...

I did get a little bit wet on the way, but I don't really care about that, since I'm in my "heated" office right now (I have 8 computers which are all on). ^_^
nyankoframe: (chu~)
Just a very quick post while I wait for my flight to Singapore to board ^^;;

I went on January 19th with some friends to the San Juan islands, which are near Puerto Rico off the coast of Washington state. It was my first time there and I'd heard about it only because it's a very popular place to go to for whale-watching. It also happens to be very beautiful and has a lot of history behind it (did you know that the English and the Americans fought over it, and one of the wars was caused by a pig?)

We didn't get to watch any whales this time (probably wrong time of the year), but we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself very thoroughly. ^_^

Some pictures )
San Juan Islands

I went skiing on the 22nd and it was pretty fun, even if I fell down a lot. :P I don't have a lot of pictures, but I do have this one which I asked [livejournal.com profile] itsacz to take while he was off being a snow bunny.

Skiing! )

Things were pretty quiet after that, with a lot of time being spent at work getting ready for the release of Vista SP1. I did go to Hula-Hula in downtown Seattle for a karaoke event, though, and it was really good even though [livejournal.com profile] itsacz couldn't make it. For one thing, I sang "Summer Nights" from Grease with one of the people from work who was organizing it and she's a really good singer. We did a really good rendition of it (and she told me I sang well, too!) and I only wish I'd brought along a camera phone or something so that I could record our singing. ^^;;

Nothing much else happened, except that I took part in Chilly Hilly on Sunday which was at Bainbridge Island. It wasn't very chilly, but it certainly lived up to the "hilly" part! After 35 miles of cycling I was barely able to walk for a few minutes, and I had to stop somewhat frequently on the route to rest my legs. It helped that there were a lot of people selling Gatorade, water and edible snacks though, and some of them were very cute. :P I have some pictures, but I'm too lazy to upload them right now so I'll post them when I get to Singapore.

Anyway, right now I'm off to Singapore (via Tokyo-Narita) for a week actually 4 days to relax, get some paperwork sorted out, catch up with my friends and go for Touch 2008. It's all about the Gershwin, baby :D
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On my way home last night, I saw an accident very near the building I work in. I don't know exactly what happened, but there was an ambulance, 4 police cars, and a cyclist who was being loaded onto a stretcher. His bicycle was on the sidewalk though and there was a SUV also stopped at the scene. I hope the cyclist is alright...

But in happier news, I went out with some of the other Singaporeans (and non-S'poreans too) and we had a really awesome dinner at I Love Sushi followed by a few hours of pool at Garage in downtown Seattle.

And yes, I did eat sushi too in addition to the chicken teriyaki I had together with a delicious mudpie. :D
nyankoframe: (Default)
The evidence )

HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT NUMBER 220.52 THERE NOW~ [Edit: I did the whole cycling business, including detours but not including stops, in 19 hours, 36 minutes and 9 seconds - too slow for the one-day STP though]

It was an awesome two days of cycling, even though my legs actually got so painful during the last 25 miles that I just couldn't stop cycling. ^^;; I also don't particularly want to see a bridge, a railroad crossing or a hill for the next few days. :P

Some of the highlights:

- I slept in a church on Saturday night! Unfortunately, due to a mixup, my sleeping bag went straight to Portland, so I slept for about 2 hours on the floor and then wandered over to a couch where I fell fast asleep even while people were moving around and talking. ^^;; But at least it proves that thanks to my NS training I can sleep anywhere XD

- There are towns with interesting names in Washington, such as Winlock, Roy, Castle Rock (which has no castles or rocks), Yelm, Spanaway, Centralia, Tenino, Chehalis and the town that wins the award for the most unique name I've ever heard of, Vader. Yes, you heard that right. No, I don't know whether it has any relation/connection to Darth Vader or Star Wars.

- Cycling across the Lewis & Clark bridge into Oregon was a really cool experience. The Gold Wing escorts, as well as police, stopped traffic completely on one lane just to let us go over the bridge, and it was a long climb up followed by a fast downhill over expansion joints and then a ramp onto Highway 30 in Oregon. I think I did about 26-27 mph on my bicycle. ^^;

- Surprisingly enough, my bicycle didn't give any major mechanical problems at all during the whole race (apart from an issue involving my saddlebag, my helmet and my brakes). I feel bad for the people who had mechanical problems though. One guy apparently had 3 flat tires on the first day and a fourth one just 15 miles from the finish line. :( And, of course, there was a pretty serious accident, although I think I missed it completely...

- I have a nice tan starting from just above my knees down my legs, which I blame on wearing cycling shorts. >_> No, I won't post pictures of the tan. :P

- There were a lot of very helpful volunteers, including quite a few 8-year old girls selling lemonade on the way. I also think I bought at least 6 or 7 bottles of Gatorade and related things to get me through some of the hills, including THE HILL (tm) - which is a 1 mile climb, and I'm proud to say that I made it up that hill without walking. :)

- The youngest cyclist was 6 years old and he was riding his own bicycle. I have no idea how old the oldest participant was, but I did see several people in their 50s and 60s.

- I saw quite a few cows, horses and other livestock, and some very lovely countryside and farms. I didn't see any Cows though. :P

If When I do STP next year, though, I'm definitely getting a road bike at least 6 months in advance~
nyankoframe: (Default)
I'm still a little nervous about the race challenge, but it's not like I'm not prepared at all. ^^;;

I'll be offline from tonight (since I'm staying over at my friend/cycling partner's apartment) until Monday night. If all goes well I should actually be back late on Sunday night, but I'd probably be way too tired to appear anywhere. :P
nyankoframe: (Default)
So on Saturday I did my last major training for STP by cycling about 55 miles in total in 6 and a half hours. I originally intended to cycle all the way to Snoqualmie Falls, but due to a combination of factors (starting late, missing several turnoffs, going up the wrong trail and not wanting to start cycling back in pitch-black darkness) I turned around somewhere along the Preston-Fall City road (which I'd say was about 60-70% of the way there).

It was an interesting experience, and I ended up with a pretty good idea of how well I can pace myself. I also feel like I tested my endurance, especially when cycling along the Sunset-Preston "trail" (which was actually a somewhat bumpy gravel road), and the High Point Way into Preston, which had several hills and not much shade (this was around 3-4 pm in the afteroon). :P

After meeting [livejournal.com profile] itsacz for dinner in Issaquah, I started back and had a pretty interesting experience going along the I-90 trail (with headlights, since it was dark by then) and then climbing up 148th Ave SE past BCC and heading straight home. I can't believe I cycled on the road and merged lanes successfully. :o

Among things I saw on the way there and back:
- An Aerio parked along Main Street (in Bellevue), which reminded me of someone's car quite a bit. :P
- There were several police cars parked in Issaquah outside a police station right next to a no-parking sign. >_> This also made it hard for me to cycle around them since there was oncoming traffic
- There are a lot of hills, especially on the way to the Lake Sammamish parkway.

Next time, I definitely need to start earlier. :P
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Read more... )

And since I have a paid account, what better way than to be silly with a poll?

[Poll #1012796]
nyankoframe: (Default)
I was coming into work this morning from NE 40th St (and then a right onto 156th and then into the main campus through 36th) doing about 12-13 mph because it was raining and the pavement road was wet. There was one driver in particular who was apparently so annoyed at my cycling that she got out of her car at the traffic light (while both of us were in the left-turning lane) and told me to either get a car or get off the road.

I suppose this is to be expected, but I thought someone working at Microsoft, of all places, would be more tolerant of cyclists, especially on a rainy day. It was also darkly humorous that if I took that person's suggestion of getting off the road, I'd have to either cross 3 lanes to get to the sidewalk on the right-hand side of the road or go across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic (!!!) to get to the sidewalk on that side.

Some people... *rolls eyes*
nyankoframe: (Default)
The last two days were full of firsts:

  • Yesterday, for the first time, I got slightly tipsy happy on soju ^^;;; And I also had a really wonderful dinner with some of the people from my Korean class as well as with our teacher~ And I should probably watch Oldboy at some point

  • A bug that I filed was so important that it became a ship-stopping bug. ^^;; It was pretty impressive amazing considering how much some people really didn't want to consider it as one and how hard they fought...

  • I had my first driving lesson in lunch-time traffic today. It wasn't really that scary except for when people suddenly merged into my lane or came out of driveways. ^^;;; I still need to work on my steering and braking though... Anyone wants to watch me practice? xD

  • I went to Quiznos' for the first time today and had a very yummy sub~

  • I signed up for my first ever bike race, and to top it off, it's the annual Seattle to Portland cycling race, which is about 204 miles long and is almost exactly a month from now. Time to start cycling to the place where blobs live somewhere hilly and far away. ^^;;

  • I finally got myself _________ ________ ____ (check my profile) >.>

nyankoframe: (Default)
On my way back home today (not from work, but elsewhere), I was trying to cycle onto the sidewalk from the road and ended up in a flower bed instead. It probably helped that it was raining and I was travelling somewhat fast. ^^;;;

I actually got off pretty lightly considering I wasn't wearing my helmet, with a hole in my jeans, a bruised/scraped knee and some slight pain (and mud) in my hands (I fell on my hands to cushion my fall). But after that, I decided I was going to take the bus back instead of trying to cycle home in the rain. :P

I'll probably lay off playing the piano tonight, since I'm still hurting a bit and especially since my laptop isn't back yet for which I blame Acer and FedEx, one for omitting the apartment number and the other for sending it out again without correcting the address.

Random note: doing 28 mph in a bicycle downhill is fun~ Until you come to the uphill part. Also, 4 miles in 23 minutes (including traffic lights).
nyankoframe: (Default)
Somehow, I managed to fall face down (and off my bicycle) while cycling on a gravel path to work this morning...

Fortunately, I didn't get seriously injured, but my right palm took most of the impact, even through a pair of gloves, and it's rather sore now. ^^;;;

It should be okay soon, though. ^^;;;
nyankoframe: (Default)
Here's a quick update. :P

I've started working out three times a week at the PRO Club, and I have an exercise plan of action! It involves me cycling 4 miles twice a week, apparently. The best way would be to cycle around campus I'm thinking of going to Crossroads, which is about 3 miles away, but the traffic is going to be awful, especially in the evenings... ^^;;;

Speaking of going to the PRO Club, apparently my top speed was 95.3 mph going there. o_O And it was mostly (gently) uphill, so I don't know how it calculated that... There might be something funny going on with the sensor. The ride back from work was pretty average, though, which was a relief, since it was drizzling and it was dark. :P

Work's been starting to pile up over the last few days, and I came back home around 9:30 pm tonight. I hope I don't have to work later than that yet.. ^^;;; I don't have any stock of energy drinks and they only have Red Bull in small cans, not in bottles

Tomorrow promises to be a long day... And I need to work out on Saturday. I hope I don't ache *too* much. ^^;;; And I hope my thumb heals soon.

Oh, and I got into the Korean beginners' class. ^^ It's tentatively scheduled for Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 pm, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make it~
nyankoframe: (Default)
Today's commute to and from work, based upon the readings from my bicycle's trip computer (times don't include waiting)...

To: 1.33 miles (2.14 km) in 8 min 42 sec at an average speed of 9.2 mph (14.8 kph), max speed of 15.6 mph (25.1 kph)
From: 1.6 miles (2.57 km) in 6 min 28 sec at an average speed of 15.1 mph (24.3 kph), max speed of 77.2 mph (124.2 kph)


Something is seriously wrong there. XD

In other news, I went shopping crazy today (buying an XBox 360, some games, a mousepad with 4 USB 2.0 ports and various software for myself from the company store), picked up my keyboard bag, had pho for dinner with [livejournal.com profile] itsacz at a nice Vietnamese restaurant that wasn't too expensive and was in the neighbourhood, Got some Things Done (not in the email sense, but in terms of work), and generally had a good day.

Oh, and I signed up for a free basic Korean class at work, which aims to introduce Korean culture, traditions and basic spoken language. They also have intermediate and advanced classes which cover areas like reading and writing (for the advanced class, I think the goal is to be able to read a Korean newspaper?), but.. yeah ^^;;; I hope I can get in, though, because places are limited...

And I'm very happy that a certain package got where it was supposed to, and glad that the person who got it felt better. ^_^
nyankoframe: (Default)
I happened to see this news story on a mailing list at work, and... I don't really know why, but it really affected me.. I had to actually take a few minutes away from my computer to compose myself before I could get back to work.

Fallen cyclist was a "star" at Bastyr

Fortunately, I haven't had any serious near-misses, although once I did get horned at when making a left turn into traffic, and several times I've had to brake suddenly (including today) when I see a vehicle about to come out of a driveway or road junction. So I guess I've been lucky so far.

But still, it's a reminder to be careful when cycling on the roads, that your safety and your life is in your hands. And that perhaps one day, even if it's on a route that you've cycled many times before without incident and there aren't any risks, something unforeseen may happen to you. No one can ever be sure...

I obviously don't know this person, but I hope at least that she didn't suffer...
nyankoframe: (Default)
And sometimes inaccurate, or overly long. :P

Case in point: Getting to the PRO Sports Club from my house. I'm going there this afternoon for my orientation appointment, and I was researching how to get there.

Going by the shortest distance (the option I'd normally choose when planning a cycling route), it goes like this:

Total distance: 1 mi
Estimated time: 3 Minutes

Shortest distance )

But when choosing shortest time (the option that'd make more sense for cars), it goes like this:

Total distance: 1.6 mi
Estimated time: 3 Minutes

Shortest time )

There are some other similarly funny/long routes, including some scenic drives/cycle rides to Maple Valley (which is towards the south of Washington state). I might or might not decide to try one of those, but if I do, I'm definitely going to tell someone where I'm going. ^^;;;
nyankoframe: (Default)
Weather when I set out yesterday: 43 F (feels like 36 F)

I had a great cycling experience (at one point, I was doing about 15 mph) until I met the first hill on NE Inglewood Hill Rd. That hill was a 12% grade -- which I didn't know before trying -- and it was way too steep for me to manage to cycle up more than a few feet without my legs aching severely, so I had to wheel my bicycle up the hill. ^^;;;; There were several more hills that were also pretty steep, but after the roundabout I was gradually able to get back onto the bicycle and cycle to my destination. My ride there took almost 2 hours, both because of the hill and also because I forgot something twice and had to cycle back to get it, which added about another 5-10 minutes of delay each time.

I still can't believe I cycled almost 9 miles each way, and didn't die anywhere on the way (which would've resulted in me having to find a bus or taxi, or hitchhike). ^^;;;;

I had a lot of fun at [livejournal.com profile] itsacz's house (even if I kept dying or getting both of us killed :P) and I was sorry to leave. ^^;;;

The ride back was fun because I went down Inglewood Hill Rd in almost total blackness, except for my bicycle lights and the occasional car behind me. The situation was pretty much the same on the road I turned into from there, although it was slightly better because there were more vehicles and headlights. They should build more overhead lights more often...

I stopped on the way at a Subway to buy some dinner, then cycled back through Marymoor Park. There were almost no lights, and very few other cars, so it was a very quiet, somewhat winding and flat stretch. I was glad for the peace and quiet because I could just cycle and feel my legs push me forward without having to concentrate too much on the road ahead (I did have to concentrate just enough to make sure I didn't cycle into the sidewalk or into Lake Sammamish, obviously :P It would have been quite the story for a basket (of cats or otherwise) to fall into the lake, especially if it wasn't drunk)

After that, it was smooth cycling for about 0.3 miles until I hit the next uphill stretch (the start of the Bellevue-Redmond Road and then the turn into NE 40th Street). This one wasn't so steep, but it seemed to take forever, and my legs were beginning to cramp so much that I gave up cycling and walked up about 95% of the hill, with minor pauses for me to try and cycle and pant heavily (and fail). :P I definitely need to go to the gym stat

I got home around 7:40 pm, about an hour and a half 45 minutes after I left, and was quite tired. ^^;; I felt really great, though. :)

Today was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that I cycled back home in a mild drizzle and consequently went much faster than I wanted to (around 20 mph in some places, I think). There was a scary part when I was turning out of campus where I nearly skidded while making a left turn, but other than that I was okay and fortunately nothing happened. :) There was also some frustration at work, but I won't talk about that here...

And finally, some random links. :P

Open Source (May not be funny if you don't understand)
Total CRACK (in Spanish). I think [livejournal.com profile] nakaemi might find this doubly hilarious. :P
High Pi I hope they really don't have a phobia about llamas...
Magnificent Steinway B Grand Piano, 6'10.5" mint - $49000 I so want to buy this. Pity I won't have anywhere to put it or the money...
Nerdy in Seattle (or, what happens when geeks meet broken coffee machine)
nyankoframe: (Default)
Dinner last night with noself at Bellevue Square: Chicken Burrito bowl at World Wrapps & Stuff, 8oz ice-cream (cheesecake with swirled strawberry) at Mora Iced Creamery and a hot cocoa with whipped cream at Tully's Coffee (after we went to the transit center and realized that we'd both missed our buses and would have to wait about an hour for the next one). It was all yummy. :)

My main plan for today:

Cycling directions (minus the last step) )

No, I'm not telling you where I'm going nor why. :P
nyankoframe: (Default)
Day 5 involved no pictures (since my rechargeable batteries are flat and apparently my charger doesn't want to work, even though it's rated for 100-240V AC, 50-60 Hz), but it did involve a lot of nice scenery.

After another somewhat sleepless night, I woke up this morning around 10 am, and messed around a bit at home before leaving around 12 pm. I decided I needed a change from walking the last few days, and so I decided I would cycle to Redmond Town Center. Since, you know, it's kind of far to walk there and I'm living life in the fast lane...

After a brief (but slightly tiring) detour, as I was about 1/3 of the way down NE 51st Street and remembered I'd forgotten my cycling helmet (which is required), I finally cycled down NE 51st and entered West Sammamish Lake Parkway, heading towards Redmond Town Center (and SR202, if I remember correctly? Or something... Anyway, that doesn't matter :P). It's a nice, scenic route, with a turnoff to Marymoor Park (which apparently has a free Wi-Fi hotspot sponsored by Microsoft, though I didn't try that out, as well as various annual companies' picnics), and the best part is that it has a clearly marked bike lane with instructions. ^_^

The ride to Redmond Town Center itself was quite straightforward, and the drivers were again courteous and didn't horn at me too much. I really love cycling in Eastside. :P I set myself up pretty quickly with a T-Mobile prepaid card for 150 minutes of airtime (that should last 60 days until I get a permanent line), and can also send and receive text messages. If you want my number (or address, though that'll be changing relatively soon...), leave a comment; if I know you from AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC or somewhere else, then you'll get my number on one of those services - if not, sorry!

A short walk (and re-chaining my bicycle) later, I had a relatively affordable lunch at a Thai restaurant. I ordered a mixed rice (rice, vegetables and chicken with chili sauce) and requested for 2 stars (in other words, not that mild). I think, based on what I had, even 1 star might have been enough. :P The meal came up to about $9.78 after tax, and I added a tip to make it $12 in total. I don't know whether I tipped them too much or too little, because.. well.. I'm not used to tipping. ^^;;; (In Singapore, a 10% service charge is added at restaurants, and most of that money doesn't go directly to the person who served you) If I did tip too little, I'm sorry... though I originally wanted to tender $15

The ride back down West Sammamish wasn't too bad, but the ride up NE 51st Street was, to put it mildly, very tiring. :P I couldn't believe that the gradient could be that high, and at several points had to walk up the street pushing my bicycle. I did eventually reach the top, though, and then cycled around to NE 31st and 28th Streets to see the buildings where I have to report to next week.

And after that since I didn't learn my lesson I'm a glutton for punishment I needed the exercise (^^;;;;;; ), I cycled down NE 40th Street, which featured several hills and a few intersections, and then cycled back up, slowly. Along the way, I called [livejournal.com profile] itsacz and arranged to meet him for dinner tonight, after he uses my scanner. Maybe then he'll understand why I'm strangely excited. :P

I do need to build up my calves and thighs in particular, though... I can barely walk around without feeling aches and pains ^^;;
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There aren't many pictures, because most of the morning was spent establishing my financial presence. I opened both a savings and a checking account at First Tech Credit Union, which immediately gives me access to a debit card and various ATMs around Redmond and on the Microsoft campus. While I'll have to wait about another 2 weeks to get my Social Security card number or wait about 8-10 weeks if I submit an application right now in order to get my credit card and other things, this is at least a step in the right direction. I need to deposit money though...

I also finally bought a bicycle (along with a headlight, taillight, helmet and bike chain) and took it out for some night cycling yesterday evening in traffic. It was a good experience, because I need to get used to cycling during dusk (especially when going shopping for groceries) and in traffic (when going to/coming back from work). I was a bit nervous at first, but the drivers in Redmond are generally quite courteous and gave me the right of way when I needed it (for example, turning left at intersections, and keeping a distance of about a mile few yards or so behind me though perhaps that was because of the reflector). Apparently that's not the case in cities like Boston, New York and Chicago, though...

Here's a (rather) blurred picture of the bicycle. I blame that on the lighting conditions. :P
Bicycle )

I'm going to attempt to cycle about 3 miles tomorrow to the nearest Cingular shop that offers pre-paid payment and buy a GoPlan so that I won't be tied to a contract and I can still be contacted using my current phone (instead of getting a calling card, which doesn't help other people call me). I don't think it's going to be very cheap, though, especially not in the long run...


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