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So I’ve had four days back at school – no classes, just four days to do as I pleased.  And I’d like to try to get my keyboard into blogging again, so here goes.

Thursday, January 20, my first full day back. Ate breakfast with my roommate, Brian, then had to meet Matt from SIG about a new website, over in the café in Olin.  Good meeting.  After that, I went over to the engineering quad to try to scout out some of my classes.  Then I went down to College Town, to Starbucks and got myself a cup of coffee.  Following that, I spent a couple hours in the library on the computer – West Wing, and working on some website things. I bought some of my textbooks afterwards, then went over to a music practice room with a piano. Spent a few hours in there – it was a great time; I could spend hours in there! I guess I did too. Ate dinner in the dining hall, then went upstairs did some stuff on the computer, and watched new winter episodes of Community and 30 Rock. 

Friday, I tried to change my schedule, but ended up getting 5 classes in a row – not the most ideal thing, but it might turn out alright.  There was a decent snowfall Thursday night and Friday morning, which gave a nice landscape. Got to see snowplows going around too! Had breakfast/brunch with Barrett, which was great to catch up. After that, I went back to the dorm a bit, and up to the mall to do some shopping. Stopped in Borders, then went to Target and Tops to stock up on some dorm snacks.  No mall pretzel though, it was closed! That night, also went upstairs, was on the computer more than the TV, but I saw the last episode of Keith Olbermann (by accident though). 

And Saturday was spent mostly trying to study for Chinese, brushing up on what I learned last year. Got a nice seat in the library though – and I could see kids sledding down Libe Slope. Wanted to go around, but it was getting dark but the time I left.  Had some good time talking with Kevin on the phone and catching up about deep stuff!

Today, was the last day before class. Spent most of it with SIG – going over Cornell Exchange, then going up around campus to spread out the umbrellas for the umbrella initiative.  It snowed too – I found that going up and down Libe Slope in heavy wind and snow blowing in my face in single degree digits with a negative wind chill is not a very fun experience. I can’t imagine what it was like for explorers to cross mountains in the winter centuries ago! Tonight, I had a good dinner with Stephen and Dhaval and caught up about break. Then relaxing a bit before an early start to 5.5 straight hours of classes tomorrow!

Another 10 days, another bunch of activities! I guess we can pick up after the last blog entry. So the Monday after the last entry, January 10, I believe, was a food day. I got to make homemade popcorn! I haven’t done that since summer, and it was a lot of fun, and good to eat. Then, for dinner, dad cooked steak! It was quite a delicious meal!

Tuesday was a day at the dentist. I drove on the freeway – not for the first time, but for the first time at that distance – in relatively heavy traffic as well!  Afterwards, we got to have take out dim sum, and visited my uncle, where I met his crazy big dog for the first time.  Though on the way back, an indicator light came on when I was driving. It felt a bit like being on a spaceship, like what we’ve been watching on “From the Earth to the Moon.”  Though of course much simpler.  And I was able to pull off at an exit, unlike the astronauts!  That night was family cooking night! We made homemade oven fried chicken! It was good – my part was the dry batter, but I think I may have coated the chicken too much. Oh well, I’ll do better next time! Regardless, it was still a very tasty and delicious meal!  The skin was crisp and had good flavor. 

Then, Wednesday was the Conan taping! That was a lot of fun. I went with my parents and Benson.  We went out to Hollywood, but we got there early, so we drove up to the Griffith Observatory. We didn’t get to go inside, but it was an amazing view, and the outside of the building is beautiful. (Star Trek Voyager!) We could see the Hollywood sign, Hollywood, the hills, hiking trails (and people on the trails), downtown LA, and even out to the ocean! The panoramic view was great – it’s almost like the Observatory is built out on an outcrop of mountain. I’d love to go back sometime!

But anyways, the taping. A lot of it was waiting in lines. But it was really cool to go onto the Warner Brothers lot. Facades and fake buildings, and Chicago police cars.  And trailers! And tripods and so many studios! It looked like the beginning of Harry Potter movies when they show the WB logo! So inside, there was the warm up act, the monitors, the applause sign, and the works.  I think I might have found myself watching the monitor more than the stage though – and trying to correct myself when I became conscious of it! The Basic Cable Band came and played a set pre-show – including “Move On Up” – and wow, La Bamba can sing! And the trumpet guy whose name I forgot… There was also the group of young people with their hacky sack, which had some funny moments. The experience felt different being there than watching at home – I felt like I received the jokes differently and whatnot.  But I could tell a lot more easily when jokes went over well or badly than when I watch at home. And the studio looks smaller in real life! I had never realized how many people there are behind the scenes! Dozens of people with cameras, and people (interns maybe?) who did crowd control.  And Conan even sang the End of the Show Song at the end! That was really cool to hear it in person! But it was cool because when I came home I saw myself (not much more than a little dot though) on screen!

Thursday was a Rowland trip to visit the teachers who I didn’t get to see last time. I had a nice talk with Mr. Koyfman, quite an interesting time in Ms. Chu’s class, and dropped in the ASB office to thank Mrs. Phillips. Thursday night, we watched the last episode of “From the Earth to the Moon.” That was a bittersweet moment. It had been a great family experience watching the whole documentary, though the ending wasn’t quite satisfactory. But we watched the bonus feature documentary which seemed like a better ending to the series (maybe more of an epilogue!).  Nevertheless, it was a great and high quality series which was a pleasure to watch.

Saturday was the CASMP gathering in Los Angeles, which was nice. It was a small but intimate gathering in Culver City – a great venue at the Culver Hotel (and good appetizers too!). Candace came out from New York, and I met a lot of interesting people which was really worth the experience.
Sunday was a haircut before I left, and I also saw the Green Hornet with my uncle and cousins. It was a pretty good movie. Didn’t watch the 3D version, but the action scenes looked good without it. I think it wasn’t that deep, but without thinking too much about it, it was pretty fun!
Monday was pretty amazing – I found a family video from 1992! I had to download some codecs to watch it, but it was so surreal seeing a 19 year old video of things I have no memory of. I think if I saw a video from when I was around 8, it wouldn’t have been so surreal.  That night, was the Cornell Club Music in TV and Film event in Hollywood! It was pretty amazing to hear all that information about the industry. I had not realized just how much business negotiating happened behind the scenes.  Afterwards, we had a good conversation with Ellen Perlmutter.  It was a little scary driving back at night (first time on  the freeway at night!) but it ended up alright!
Then Tuesday was the flight back to school.  The first part, to Newark, was good, but there was no free TV (cost $6!). But it was free when we were on the ground, so I got to watch a good chunk of Jimmy Fallon! Though I couldn’t hear a lot of it because of the PA announcements.  I guess the free blanket made up for it. But I listened to the music from “From the Earth to the Moon” from the Freedom 7 Flight video on the takeoff, which was amazing. Like living a real life movie with a soundtrack in the background! Got into Newark around 6am EST/3am PST. And ate a McDonald’s. Because I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep and my circadian clock was all messed up! My plane to Ithaca was supposed to leave at 8 but it was closer to 11. At least it wasn’t canceled! At first there was no plane, because the incoming flight from Syracuse was canceled. Then Ithaca flights were backed up. Finally, our little 37 seater prop plane came, and we were off, right? No. There was an aborted take off (that was a little scary).  They had to test the props, which was a little scary too, because the plane shook a lot! But then they said it fixed itself, and the flight was a little scary since I don’t know what prop planes should sound like, and it sounded to my untrained ear that they were cutting in and out. Plus the low cloud cover and turbulence, but we had a safe landing! Then I was back at Cornell and had dinner with Jason that night.
I’m already missing the sun – it’s a bit bleak here, with gray skies. But the snow looks absolutely beautiful at night!

This blog entry is dedicated to all the people who are still awake for school tomorrow.  Hopefully though if you’re up now you have better things to do than read this. Though if you’re looking to procrastinate (which I am not promoting or endorsing!) I suppose you’re welcome to keep on reading.  So three or so weeks back and another week and a bit to go, I feel like it’s time to take a moment to reflect a bit on my winter break. Many grade school kids have to write their “What I Did Over Break” essays in August, maybe they will have to do the same tomorrow. I feel that I should do something similar. And I haven’t blogged in a long time. Plus, I didn’t take as many pictures over winter break as I usually do, so a verbal, or I suppose a written retelling shall have to do. Like a troubadour. But without the actual voice or the music. Though you could check out my latest music composition. Like that transition? Anyways, time to dive into the next chapter in this long ongoing novel. 

December 15, 2010 was my last day at Cornell.  There wasn’t too much snow on the ground in Ithaca. Though it was nice not to have to take a red-eye flight for once! My seatmate turned out to be a Cornell student (well 70 percent of the plane was probably from Cornell) from NorCal. Had a layover in Detroit. Been there enough times that I’m getting pretty familiar with the place! It does have some great architectural value though. Met some other Cornellians headed to LAX on the same flight, and hung out in the airport with them, going to Taco Bell for dinner.  Then the flight to LA. Helped a girl from Cornell but her bag up in the overhead bin, and buckled in. Not the best flight ever. There were a lot of young noisy kids around me. But there were TVs! So Mythbusters helped me get through my flight.  But overall, it was a nice trip. No surprise meetings or run ins at the airport like last time I flew to LAX, but I got home after 14 hours and over 3000 miles. 

After I got in, it was nice to sleep in a larger bed and have a private bathroom.  Friday morning I had breakfast with an old band friend at Denny’s, which was really nice. Had time to catch up and have a good long talk. His mom gave me a ride back to Rowland, where I spent the day. Saw many of my old teachers, and all the younglings! It was great to see friends and current students, as well as catch up with a lot of my teachers. It was a little strange to not have all my old friends there and see all these new people – they seem to get younger every year! Though I wish Rowland had more things to do when classes are in session! Ah well, some of the highlights of college life – there’s always something on campus going on! But returning to the alma mater is always a fun trip.

We had an IB reunion dinner at Souplantation. It was a fun reunion with the group again, sharing a lot of memories. Lots of testosterone as usual, and it was great sharing college stories with a close group of friends. Though Souplantation didn’t seem as good to me as it used to. Maybe I should make a return trip!  It was a shame that not everyone could be there though, it would have been great to see everyone from the class. But it was a fun night, felt almost like summer again.

The next night, I believe, was a Christmas party and secret santa with an old group of friends. Good times, except maybe for the spilled soda? Watched Easy A and some of Star Crash. One movie was definitely better than the other. The gift exchanging was quite fun though.  And a little bit of Rock Band at the end which was fun. It was great to see everyone as a group – especially in person as opposed to a picture!

Overall, I came home to a lot of rain. Almost nonstop until Christmas.  I may have misjudged the weather a little. It could have been Ithaca where I was! I don’t think I used the shorts that I packed. But after the rain, it was nice to have sunshine and pink sunsets. Not many pink sunsets at Cornell.  Overall it has been nice to enjoy seeing the sun and not just a sky awash of complete gray for 3 months.  My family had dinner at Denny’s one night. It kind of felt like that scene from the Santa Clause – probably because it was around Christmastime. (My parents can cook though, unlike the movie!)  We also went out for dim sum. It was nice to have authentic Chinese food, especially authentic dim sum.  I also drove on the freeway for the first time on that same day. It was both quite exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It felt like an airplane taking off on a runway. Or a spaceship ready for launch. USS California, ready for launch! No, I’m not that nerdy…

Anyways, it was Christmas time! Decoration of the Christmas tree. I had a couple guys come over to help a bit. I didn’t decorate as expansively and intricately as much as other years, partly because of how my mom was this year, but it was still lots of fun, and fairly festive still.  I’m not sure I felt the complete Christmas spirit this year. Maybe that’s because I listened to too much streaming KOST Christmas music before at Cornell.  After a while, the same songs over and over get boring. Or maybe I wasn’t listening to enough at home. Or lack of snow! Christmas eve was with family. I had boba, thanks to my uncle.  And got to ride (and drive for a mile) in his sports car. Speed, power, and adrenaline! Lots of fun with family and in-laws, and in-laws of in-laws which made for quite a hectic, yet fun and entertaining night. During Christmas Day, I got to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special on BBC America! I’ve forgotten how much I missed Doctor Who!

The day after Christmas was a breakfast get together at IHOP with 3 band friends (I think we might have done the same thing over the summer) on a crowded Sunday morning. I had to park over by the furniture store. Though I think if I got there 5 minutes later, I could have had a closer spot. Then we walked over to Toys R Us – I suppose we could have driven, but there’s something about walking – to get a pair of headphones. Then we drove up to Pathfinder Park. Apparently I drive relatively slow, since I left first and got there last. Some nice talking up at the park, but I ended up being deliveryman for a gift, and ended up as taxi driver as the loser in a game of take-the-guy-without-the-car-home chicken. Not that I minded. It was an adventure! And I was happy to deliver the gift for a friend!

So I was home for a second week, with a lot of free time on my hands. Sunday night, I started to make plans. I had a last minute scheduled lunch with a friend on Monday (thanks for driving me!). We went to Guppy House and had shaved ice, along with popcorn chicken, that turned out spicier than we expected – I thought we ordered mild!?  But anyways, it was a nice fun long talk for a few hours, that covered everything from academics, to relationships, to life, to random things!

Tuesday was lunch with another close friend. And I put my driving skills to practice as well! We ended up at Coconut Bay. Thai iced tea! It was a good time, especially when the waitress took a long time to get our order. And a discussion on pointing.  I hope I didn’t lament too much in our conversations. We ended up talking for a long time, up and down the strip, and ended up at Burger King for another couple hours – just about until sunset. Another fun afternoon with an old friend which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Wednesday was family dim sum, which was nice to see them all again. Though I started to get mini-sickness, a slight fever, but luckily only for a couple of days. Unlike when I got sick at school after Thanksgiving!

Thursday was the clarinet sectional. Brett’s house was amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many Christmas decorations at once before! Plus his miniature houses put mine to shame! Amazing models and legos – plus what I think of as Santa’s high tech workshop. Thank you to him and Lauren for inviting me back, and I had a good time going to see old friends, meet new faces – I only wish I could have stayed longer!

For New Year’s Eve, I had some friends over, which was pretty fun. A lot of Martinelli’s went around! There was a stuck Lost DVD for a little while, and some light painting. And we played Clue Secrets and Spies. Which is nothing like regular Clue. And took forever to learn. Though after learning it, it was somewhat enjoyable. Then some fun talking and good times. New Year’s Day was the Rose Parade on TV, and the ever reliable day of sunshine. 

After the first, I had 2 friends (one from quite a while back) over for the afternoon and evening.  There was Halo – which I am not good at. At all. We had an interesting dinner. But Clue was fun. And Monopoly! Plus the quick die! Or fast game die. Or whatever it’s called. Made it go by faster! Which makes sense I suppose. So I did lose the first game. But won the second (with a strategic partnership). But an eventual win! Oh so satisfying redemption! That was a fun day and night as well. 

It was a quick week after that. Had to go get shots! Not as bad as I thought it was – like always.  Glad I got them though, better in the long run. Thursday night I had a bunch of semester people over, since quarter people had to go back to school. There was so much food! Monopoly Deal – which I now thoroughly enjoy. Except for the fact I didn’t win! Unlike a certain someone for the whole night… Lots of “traditional” games that night as well. Uno stacko, Monopoly Deal, Cards, and even wooden blocks for a while. Seriously. And playing memory with cards – one hand, one card flipped at a time – was much more intense than I thought it would be! Great and gifted group of people, I was really glad I got to see them all.  Ended up talking in a friend’s car afterwards for a while, which was nice, refreshing, and felt a bit like high school again! Did some house stuff this week too – helped my dad cut down some branches from a tree. Helped him with the rose bushes a couple weeks too.   Went to Costco on Saturday with my parents. Samples! Always fun.

I had a last minute little get together with some people Saturday night after dinner. Surprised in the order in which people came! But I had some good life talk at the beginning! We split an apple. Darn diets they’re all doing from New Year Resolutions!  Oh well, it’s for the best I suppose. We did the Office version of Clue, and a game of Risk that didn’t really have a proper ending that justified a certain player’s almost assured victory. Then a long talk outside (life talk again!) in a circle next to the cars. That’s what college kids do, right? Talk next to their cars, because they’ll have cars? And reminisce? And talk about life?

On the TV front, I finally finished my West Wing rewatch from the second season, which I started over spring break in my senior year of high school. Though I’ve started back over again with season 1. Though I realize that people don’t speak like President Bartlet anymore! Go Google some quotes. Well maybe in National Treasure (isn’t there a line about people don’t speak like this anymore?). But I think I like the West Wing better. My parents and I have been watching the documentary From the Earth to the Moon. It’s a really good documentary from Tom Hanks, and we’ve had good family time watching it together. I also think the opening and closing music is amazing, and the documentary as a whole is an uplifting piece about the nature of human exploration and why we should pursue it.  On a sadder note, SyFy did not pick up Stargate Universe for a third season. Maybe something good will happen. Though it seems after the cancelation of SG1 and Atlantis, the fan base movement has run out of a bit of steam. It’s been a good run though.

On a personal note, for a while, I felt a bit unsure of where I was in life. Though I suppose that’s normal. A combination of where I’m going in life, school, what I’m going to do, who my friends are – all the big questions! I think most of all is that I’m missing that sense of deep friendships while I’m at school – but deep relationships take time! It’s just that being at home reminds me of what I don’t yet have at school. On a lighter note, I’ve been having fun with Roller Coaster Tycoon 3! I was trying to make a large city. Making all those buildings takes a lot more tiem than I realized it would! There are a lot of other things I wanted to do over break – stories, Legos, music, scripts – all of which have progressed with various stages of completion.

And as the Christmas season comes to an end, and the decorations come down, this blog entry must come to a close too, for meaning can only be found past an end. This looks like it will be a busy week or so until I have to leave. So, until the next blog entry, I shall await for you in the future.