nyankoframe: (*gasp*)
It's been a year since I last posted... whoa. Lots of stuff has happened, which probably should go under a cut!

A year in a few paragraphs )

Work has been really quite busy, with the release of Windows 7 SP1 and other projects still in progress. I've sometimes gotten home around 12 midnight and fed Belle and Lillian, then collapsed in bed. Belle had a minor scare in March when she started losing weight rapidly and developed fatty liver. Fortunately, the vet and I - and other friends who sent their love, light and healing purrs/reiki - were able to reverse it, and she's made a full recovery (and gained a bit too!) She is a lot more agile now and likes climbing up on cat trees.

I recently saw The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which was a 2-hour monologue about Apple, Steve Jobs and conditions in the Chinese factories that produce the vast majority of consumer electronics. Some of the conditions described are literally unspeakable - 14-hour days, 7 days a week, rooms which have beds stacked to the ceiling with about 10 square feet of space, extremely low pay, lack of basic medical care, among others. I will make another post listing some of the things you can do if you believe that this situation should be changed; it's quite Apple-speciifc, but would likely work with other companies as well. [livejournal.com profile] summercomfort, have you seen this? (He started performing in the Bay Area/SF last year and came up to Seattle for a few weeks)
nyankoframe: (I rock.)
I haven't posted in a while - more than 2 months. Part of that is because I haven't been good about remembering to update, but it's also because of being quite busy )

I'm leaving on a week-long vacation tonight, which will take me to Chicago, Peoria and St. Louis:

- I'll be meeting [livejournal.com profile] tanyad in Chicago and hanging out with her. While I'm there, I need to try some authentic Chicago pizza (sorry [livejournal.com profile] testing4l, but Pizz'a Chicago in San Jose is probably not the real thing) and check out the city - would you believe I've never been to Chicago before, even thouigh I've passed through O'Hare several times?
- On Friday afternoon, I'll be driving down to Peoria for the Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. It's my first time taking part, and I am a bit nervous about it, particularly since I'll have to play all my contest entries from memory! Fortunately, most of them aren't a problem since they're ragtime pieces I'm familiar with - the only one that might be difficult is Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me", which is the required non-ragtime entry. The other pieces I'm performing are "Queen of Love" by Charles Hunter (who is probably more known for "Tickled to Death"), "Kitten on the Keys" by Zez Confrey, and "Swipesy Cake Walk", "Peacherine Rag" and "Maple Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin.
- I'm meeting a friend in Carbondale on Monday, and will head back to Chicago to arrive on Monday evening. The reason is...]
- I will be taking a train to St. Louis! It's the first time I've taken a train since I took the Acela in 2007 (from Boston to New York), and it'll be nice to enjoy the countryside without having to deal with traffic or rest stops. :D
- I'll be spending an evening in St. Louis and have several places in mind to visit (thanks to some suggestions from [livejournal.com profile] reannon) before I fly out the next morning.

I'm going to miss Belle and Lillian, but I have a cat-sitter coming over to feed and play with them daily, so I hope they won't be too miffed when I return. Speaking of Lillian, I uploaded some new pictures on Flickr of her on the harness - she seems to like it more than she used to!

People and places I want to visit this year:
- [livejournal.com profile] samurai_ko and her hubby will be moving to Seattle, so I will definitely need to visit them more often.
- [livejournal.com profile] saraphina_marie and [livejournal.com profile] reannon - the best way to meet both of them would probably be at a con, but I also have an invitation to have breakfast with [livejournal.com profile] saraphina_marie at a Pfunky Griddle in Nashville. This makes me happy. :D
- I might drive to Vancouver to visit my aunts- I've been putting it off for the last 3 years, for no reason in particular, but this year is as good as any.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this year!
nyankoframe: (neko-Shinku)
I haven't really made any entries ("serious" or otherwise) in a while, and it's a new year, so I figured writing about the highs and lows of 2009 would be a good way to start off the new year.

2009 in review: the good and not so good )

Phew... that was quite a lot of thoughts! In no particular order, here's what I'm looking forward to in 2010:
- I'm going to take part in the Old-Time Piano Playing Contest in Peoria, IL during the Memorial Day weekend! Registration hasn't opened yet, but I fully intend to submit my entry form and get my period costume ready. I've gotten some very helpful advice from [livejournal.com profile] saraphina_marie, who happens to be a costume designer and has a degree in it! She's also a great author, by the way. :-)
- Spending more time being happy. I've spent so much time over the last few years (particularly when I was at home) trying to please other people that I've forgotten what it's like to please myself without getting material goods (though having a new Zune HD as a New Year's present to myself certainly doesn't hurt!)
- Re-discovering my social skills through karaoke and other activities. I bravely sang Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" at karaoke last week, which was certainly unexpected, but I didn't feel any shame in doing so. It's also a good way of getting to know new people, and staying in touch with friends.

I hope everyone's year will be a good one! Right now though, Lillian is kneading my bedsheet, so I think that's a signal that I should go to sleep. :)
nyankoframe: (Default)
I haven't updated since I got here, because I have been busy running around town, meeting friends and catching up on all the things that happened while I was away.

Outwardly, a lot of things haven't changed - most places still look the same (although Orchard Road and Clementi look very different now), and I can still find my way around without getting lost. :) There are a lot of new bus services now, though, and some existing bus routes were altered (some in ways that are rather incomprehensible). A lot of my old friends are still around, and even my former primary school classmates have found me on Facebook. It's really surprising to hear from them after almost 20 years - a lot of them are out of Singapore, but we can keep in touch through messages and so on. Quite fascinating that a lot of them are in the US and Australia, though a fair number are still in Singapore :)

There are also a lot of new places around - I went to a tapas bar with my sister, my friend and some of her friends and we had a really good time relaxing and talking about life in general. Working overseas means you have more to talk about with people, too - you can ask them about where they work and what they're doing, how the hours are, and things like that. And in return, they ask you about life in the US - it's quite illuminating talking about it with other people. A lot of people are settling down or getting engaged; perhaps that's just because I've been away for so long, but it comes as news to me. People have been asking me too when I'm going to settle down, and for the time being I haven't thought about it in particular.

The weather is still the same, and it took some time to get used to, but it's good to be back with humidity and tropical rain showers. :D Other things are the same too, like the home environment - I'm glad that I don't have to deal with it full-time...

My visa interview is tomorrow, and hopefully there won't be any problems. We'll see, though; if I need to extend my stay I'll do so, but it won't be particularly cheap (I think the change fee is $200 plus the difference in the ticket prices).
nyankoframe: (The rest is still unwritten)
Tomorrow morning (well, actually, in 13 hours) I leave for Singapore for 3 weeks on a holiday. It's going to be an interesting time since the weather in Singapore (hot, humid, currently extremely hot) and the weather in Bellevue (cold and snowing) couldn't be more different. :P I haven't posted much since just after coming back from [livejournal.com profile] testing4l's because I was really busy at work diving in to failure investigations and other work-related things that came in unexpectedly. In that sense it's good that I'm taking this break because, frankly, I need to get away from checking work emails for at least a week.

Things that happened the last few weeks:
- I met [livejournal.com profile] nakaemi for the first time and we had hot chocolate at a Denny's. While the hot chocolate itself wasn't too bad (especially the whipped cream), I found it a bit hard to talk to [livejournal.com profile] nakaemi for some reason. It could've been shyness, but I also felt like I was blocked in some sense. Anyway, I hope [livejournal.com profile] nakaemi and [livejournal.com profile] itsacz are feeling better now.
- [livejournal.com profile] wao and I went for Karaoke with some of my friends. There was a lot of bad singing, including some Japanese songs and [livejournal.com profile] wao doing Bicycle Race (the one Queen song I can't stand). I did Kylie Minogue passably well (well, for a guy anyway) although I'm still hoping some karaoke place has Sophie Ellis Bextor's music (Take Me Home / Murder on the Dance Floor). I felt bad that I couldn't see [livejournal.com profile] nakaemi off at the airport when she was leaving, but I had already planned this karaoke event for a few weeks. Given that it could've been an emotional parting (according to the text message I got), maybe it's better that I didn't go?
- [livejournal.com profile] wao and I went to the San Juans. Due to a mixup on my part we ended up getting there in the afternoon and didn't have much time to see anything in particular. The sunset was gorgeous though, and wao took a picture of it here, which I am using as the desktop background for one of my office computers.

There are a lot of friends to catch up with in Singapore - my family's interested to know how owning a car has changed things (or whether it even has) and a lot of my friends are going through changes in their relationships towards the next level. If I do decide to get married, I would like to get married at Lime Kiln Point in the summer. :P
nyankoframe: (I rock.)
The last few weeks have been really busy (so much so that I didn't have time to post). I've been really busy with work mostly (dealing with servicing can be quite immersive), but among other things that happened:

- [livejournal.com profile] meerkat also came up to Seattle for the Veterans' Day weekend and we had a good weekend together - I finally went to the Space Needle for the first time even though I've lived here for almost 2 years! We also swung by the Cornish College of the Arts, went to a Seattle Symphony performance at Benaroya Hall, Ernestine Anderson's 80th birthday celebration at Jazz Alley and watched (or started to watch, rather) A Taste of Tea. Which reminds me, I should get around to finishing that...

- I went to several karaoke bars and killed my voice made other people deaf had a pretty good time, trying out some new songs that I didn't know I could do, including Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (which makes me think of [livejournal.com profile] saraphina_marie even though she doesn't live in Chattanooga) and Sara Bareille's (sp?) "Love Song" (I'm not going to write you / a love song / to stay ~ ) as well as (I am somewhat embarrassed to say this) Lil' Mama's "Lip Gloss" from the Xbox 360 game "Lips" as a duet with someone else, in which we each scored over 4 million points. Um I mean.. ^^;;; *hides*

- I met a friend in Seattle who has a pretty interesting goal in life - she wants to be an organization consultant (and is currently doing that on the side). Basically her clients hire her to deal with things they've been putting off, or messes that are too much for them to even think about, and then she provides suggestions about how to organize their homes (and what to buy to get things sorted out). So far we've gone out twice for coffee/chocolate and dinner and felt like we've had a great time both times, but that's all I'm going to say on the subject right now. :P

But more currently, I just got confirmation that [livejournal.com profile] wao is now in the state of Washington, and is probably going through immigration right now. I shall be leaving to pick her up shortly, and I'm sure the month that she stays here will be full of happiness, joy, going places, and cats.

Lots of cats.

Even Especially [*] in the snow.

[*] (c) 2004- [livejournal.com profile] testing4l. "Especially in .+" is a registered trademark of [livejournal.com profile] testing4l and may not be reproduced without [livejournal.com profile] testing4l's permission. Or else the zombies/wumpii will come get you.
nyankoframe: (I rock.)
I haven't posted in a while, because I have been way too busy with work and other things, but here's a quick update:

- [livejournal.com profile] meerkat is coming on Friday for the weekend!! This makes me *very* happy and I've been planning things for both of us to do over the weekend! (as well as frantically cleaning up my place)
- [livejournal.com profile] wao is coming in December for a month! This is great news because I haven't seen her since February and she's been very envious of Belle and my general cat-ownershipness.
- Speaking of Belle, she's going to be getting a big sister tomorrow! I am adopting Lillian from the King County animal shelter in Bellevue (near the post office!) and bringing her back home tomorrow. It'll be fun getting both of them used to each other's presence!
- I bought an 8GB Zune on Monday. It's a nice blue color and I really love it! The interface is definitely much improved from the first and second-generation models.

I also have a lot of photographs to post, but I am just going to be lazy and link you to the Flickr sets individually.

Cherry Blossom Festival )

Sheep and Tulips )

Woodland Park Zoo )

Fanimecon 2008 )

Seattle Mariners baseball game )

Hypericon 2008 )

The Grand Canyon and Arizona )

HeroCon 2008 and the San Jose Sharks )
nyankoframe: (Accidentally in love)
A brief rundown of what I've been up to over the past few weeks, in no particular order:

- Saw Ahmed Jamal perform at Jazz Alley live, which was definitely worth the money (though maybe next time I should try and go with someone :P)
- Attended the CoX meet & greet at PAX, where I met [livejournal.com profile] naeko and [livejournal.com profile] wolfieboy, among other people
- Drove up and down between my apartment and the Seattle Convention Center several times over the PAX weekend
- Actually went to the second day of PAX and sat in on the NCSoft panel, as well as randomly wandering around the exhibit hall and getting a sneak peek at Gears of War 2 as well as Lode Runner for XBLA (!!!)
- Went for the opening night of the Seattle Symphony's 2008/2009 season at [livejournal.com profile] meerkat's suggestion. It was totally worth it! Also, I loved the impromptu rendition of "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" both singers performed as the last item, as well as Aaron Copland's "Simple Gifts" and "I Bought Me A Cat". It is too awesome to describe in a single post, so I'll just have to leave it at that. :D
- I helped [livejournal.com profile] itsacz move from one blob to another, and helped another friend pack up his belongings as he prepared to return to Singapore for good. While it was a lot of work and my arms are still a little sore, I feel good at being able to help, and got some things out of the bargain, too.

I still have about 6 months' worth of photos to post, but that'll have to wait until I'm at home.
nyankoframe: (Default)
I have just been very busy with work and trying to sort out various things. I promise I will update before the end of the year soon.
nyankoframe: (Default)
I finally have a little time to breathe and update my LJ now, after the crazy action-packed Friday and Saturday nights.

On Friday, [livejournal.com profile] summercomfort was in Seattle on the last leg of her road trip, together with her friends, and I met them for dinner in the International District. It was quite convenient for me since the 545 ends right at the ID (5th and S Jackson) and Ichiban was about one block away. We ended up eating at a Cambodian restaurant, though, which was quite surprisingly good. We also had bubble tea and then retired for some karaoke, during which I somehow managed to sing several songs without losing my voice in between! (I think the sake might've helped too)

Saturday night was mostly bar-hopping with my friends and me suffering from having too much MSG two nights in a row .^_~ I totally didn't do anything today, and am about to sleep now.

Looking forward to next weekend with [livejournal.com profile] meerkat and [livejournal.com profile] testing4l though!
nyankoframe: (The rest is still unwritten)
I've never been to one before ^^;;; But a friend of mine who lives near San Francisco, and who I've known for about 4 years, mentioned it to me a few weeks ago, and I didn't think twice before going. Yes, I know it's New Year this Sunday, but frankly no one booked my time with anything, and it's not like I can't meet up with them any other time. I'll be having dinner with her and a friend of hers on Friday night, and then take the BART (also for the first time!) to [livejournal.com profile] testing4l's place, where I'll be staying the weekend and doing other things in the night. I'm planning on visiting the festival on Saturday during the day, and depending on how things go we may go again on Sunday.

Another side effect is that it'll give me a chance to take some time off from work. Since I'm planning for a somewhat long vacation (about 18 days or so) in December, I'm saving up all my vacation time from now on towards that. This means that I'll only be able to take time off during the weekends or public holidays, and probably not too far (though I may go to Virginia again to meet [livejournal.com profile] cheyannew and say hello to her kids).

Also, I'll get to wish [livejournal.com profile] gemlikeflame a happy birthday in advance and hang out with her! :D

Karaoke~

Apr. 1st, 2008 11:40 pm
nyankoframe: (mpittened)
I sang White Rabbit tonight (after being primed with some drinks and food ^^;;;; ) at our monthly Karaoke @ Microsoft social event (it was at a dive bar in Kirkland this time :P) and it actually went off pretty well - the original was sung in a female voice, so I obviously couldn't match it, but I tried my best and it was pretty good. I don't have any photos though (I forgot to ask my friends to take a picture XD). The funny thing was that when I sent in the request for this song, I was reminded of [livejournal.com profile] mewryuu who introduced it to me almost 7 years ago. That seems like it was a really long time ago and I wonder what she's been up to since then...

It was pretty fun, and everyone tonight sang really well. It's a pity that [livejournal.com profile] itsacz didn't want to join us, but maybe one day I'll get him to sing too >o
nyankoframe: (*sigh*)
I'm typing this entry from work, and looking outside the window at the pretty falling snow... in March!!??

I think [livejournal.com profile] itsacz already went home (since he has a longer journey than I do), and hopefully I won't have any problems cycling home...

I wonder what this means for plans tonight, though; I was planning on watching 21 with some friends and then hanging out at my place, but if it's snowing this much they may not want to drive. I guess we'll find out later tonight?

EDIT: It turns out [livejournal.com profile] itsacz hasn't left yet, and he didn't drive to work (I think he took the bus). I still hope he has a safe journey back home though...

EDIT2: It looks like it's stopped snowing (for now?). Yay~!
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: (*sigh*)
When I went back to Singapore, the first thing my mother told me was that I'd put on weight, and she kept telling everyone about it. Even my friends noticed. ^^;;

Judging by my bathroom scale, it looks like I've gained somewhere about 10 pounds or so in the year since I came to the US. I think cycling to work has partly compensated for it (otherwise I'd have really put on a lot by now), but it's still something to be concerned about. Perhaps I should start working out in the gym again, which was something I didn't do for a while now because of being busy at work as well as some personal reasons... though part of me is secretly happy that I'm no longer bony and poky and that I could look more appealing to girls in general?

On a lighter note, I picked up a meme from [livejournal.com profile] princesscurly and I thought I'd share it here too. It's kind of amusing to think of what people might answer in response to this. :P

What would you do if you could spend a night together with me? )
nyankoframe: (Default)
I had a short stay in Singapore, and didn't manage to get some things done that I wanted to, but overall it was really enjoyable. ^_^

Touch 2008 was really good and by itself was definitely worth coming for. But equally important was meeting up with friends and relatives, and having a good time.

Though I was shocked to find out that the piano at home is pretty much a gone case now. T_T But maybe I'll buy a piano in the US...

I'm landing in the US on Monday morning (March 3rd), and will be going back to work the day after.

Off I go to the gate now~
nyankoframe: (I rock.)
I got my first-ever tax return W-2 form in the mail today. ^^;; It looks really complex right now but fortunately as part of my relocation package I get one free consultation with a tax professional. Now I just need to remember how to do it. :P

I also got some unexpected news (which was good, though) at work just before I left. ^^;;; It will definitely make the year ahead much more interesting...

Still need to post pictures and a write-up of my trip to the San Juans as well as skiing, which I'll do probably once I get home tonight or maybe tomorrow depending on how sleepy I am.
nyankoframe: (Default)
Started posting this from Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport in Ohio (though what's international about it, I don't really know...) and continuing from Grand Rapids, MI, and then eventually at my cousin's house. What a long post. ^^;;

Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb )

I came back from Whistler pretty thrilled about it, especially since I had a lot of delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream. ^^ Things were pretty quiet both at work and in terms of social life, although it did snow quite a lot on December 1st, to the point that it was a winter wonderland:

Ooh, pretty snow~! )

I went to San Jose for a work weekend, and met [livejournal.com profile] testing4l, [livejournal.com profile] gemlikeflame, [livejournal.com profile] relsqui and [livejournal.com profile] zigdon there and much fun was had over Fluxx and Mongolian BBQ. Though I must say [livejournal.com profile] relsqui and [livejournal.com profile] testing4l are pretty good at changing the rules to suit themselves. ;)

One of my friends was going back to Singapore the following weekend, so we organized a trip to a gun range for her, since she wouldn't be able to do that in Singapore. And so it was that I fired a weapon for the first time (since I never did in NS), even if it was a 9mm pistol:

At the gun range )

Snow and Shooting

I left for Michigan last night to spend a few days with my cousin, and so here I am. :)
nyankoframe: (Default)
Yes, this is a long overdue post...

Boston )

New York )

I'm rushing for dinner right now before my flight to Michigan, so I'll post part 2 shortly (perhaps at an airport somewhere)~
nyankoframe: (Default)
To everyone who celebrates it, at least.

And it snowed here again ^^;

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