Monday, February 28, 2005

Wingsday '05 The End of Eudora

Tonight I took out my dad and sister for dinner at the nearby IHOP as we discussed Diana's paper regarding the class system as portrayed in the Great Gatsby.

After dinner, I had to swing by the Kohler Art Library to get some research materials for my term paper. Be it a fairly quiet and snowy night, the Green Team and friends decided to join me to celebrate a Wingsday and the beginning of the end for the support of the Eudora email client at DoIT.

The night began as we convened at Lucky's (formerly the Oakcrest Tavern) on Regent Street. Adriana, David, James, and I got there early to put in an order to start the night. Golembiewski showed up a bit later followed by Jenica after leaving waterpolo practice. Wingsday had officially begun.

When Metzger and Greg showed up later with Kevin tailing a bit behind, we formally toasted to the end of Eudora at the Help Desk. At the end of his shift at work, Brent stopped by for a drink and some classic french fries.

The heated discussion topic of the night came as we debated the superiority of a Superman versus Batman match-up. As you may already know, I'm on Superman's side.

In the aftermath, our Wingsday charting had moved up to just 1 wing shy of 3450 and nearly half the way to 4000 wings. Heroes for the night included our new closer, Golembiewski, who took one for the team and knocked out 20 wings. Next in line was the machine, Kramer, followed by Fei, a trailing third.

The missing link to tonight's Wingsday was a promise that Caitlin would stop by to have a Sun Prairie reunion with Mr. Kramer. Alas, she did not come and missed out on one obnoxious night of wings. As for a Kelly appearance, all hope is lost.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Wingsday '05 The End of Eudora
Gallery | Chart

Wingsday '05 The End of Eudora

dialog from the movie Rush Hour

Carter: Damn, Chin, this is some greasy shit. You ain't got no better food, like some chicken wings, some baby back ribs, some fries or something?

Lee: Chinese food, no soul food here!

Carter: I didn't say nothin' 'bout no soul food, I said you got some better food. I don't want that greasy shit. How you gonna sell a big box of grease?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lesson with Kiyota Sensei

I went shopping with my little sister Diana yesterday at East Towne Mall. Although I was not looking for anything in particular, I enjoyed looking around Barnes & Noble and found Kiyota Sensei's Shambhala Guide to Kendo. I didn't buy this version of the book but instead I elected to purchase Dan Brown's Deception Point and Digital Fortress.

Work was pretty slow last night. I spent hours voice chatting in iChat with Alice on her new iBook. At some point I was just casually listening in the background as she was watching the movie Rounders.

Leaving work, I got a call from Steph about meeting up at Genna's. She had already been out with Max and Mollie earlier in the night. I stayed for a few drinks and a shot but I had to take off early so I could get some rest for today's Hot Topics meeting at DoIT. As the meeting got out, I met up with my cousin Chi to show her how to backup DVD movies using DVD Shrink.

Heading into Kendo practice, I quickly got dressed and went upstairs to gather Kiyota Sensei's bogu and shinai. When he arrived Mark and I were just in the middle of a warm-up. After a quick kirikaeshi, Sensei called me in for a round of jikeiko (sparring). Before we began, he leaned over to tell me that he thought I moved fairly fast and wanted me to keep up the speed and form as I attacked. I did so of course and missed my hits on several occasions because Kiyota Sensei is so quick. He taught me a few new attacks and then had me do some in-fighting with him. I thanked him for the good lesson and hope to get another chance in the future.

Once I was showered up and decent, I took Laura out for dinner at the Edo Japanese Restaurant before heading into work. I was not scheduled to work tonight but I'm covering for Metzger who has an exam tomorrow. It's Green Team, we're family.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Weekly Horoscope: 02-27-2005

You are very keen to explore new horizons at this time, Fei, and to connect with those from other countries. If you should happen to be going on vacation, you will have a mystical and exotic time that will make you truly happy. You will need to be careful on Tuesday when Mercury squares Pluto as you could find yourself quarrelling about legal issues associated with your job. Power struggles and the desperate need to be right may ruin any hope of a solution, so you will need to know where you stand. If you can diffuse the situation without it becoming too much of a problem, you will have done really well. Mars in your opposite sign of Capricorn squares Jupiter in Libra on Thursday, which might mean that you don't quite see eye-to-eye with your partner over family matters. You may be able to compromise, or find a unique way to satisfy the desires of both of you. Friday, Venus conjuncts Uranus, indicating a need for space to experiment with new ideas and dreams. It could also bring an interesting meeting your way - one with philosophical implications. Mercury also moves into Aries on Friday, and you are keen to talk to those who can help your career progress.

Friday, February 25, 2005

iPod shuffle

My room is getting to be a mess again. I started cleaning by doing laundry early in the day. While the clothes were in the wash and dry, I started on a slow workout while watching the Apprentice on my TiVo. Later in the day, the iPod shuffle arrived at my house via FedEx. Excited to get a new toy, I immediately took it out of the packaging and started loading it with music. It's not the same iPod experience that I've been accustomed to but it's so small and will be a great accessory for running.

At work, we ordered out from Sukhothai and the call volume was slow enough for us to enjoy dinner while watching the Japanese movie, Zatoichi.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 2

Imperial Garden with Kiyota Sensei

I love how the Green Team family covers each others' back. I was scheduled to work last night but thanks to Greg and Brock, I had most of my shift covered so that I could go out to dinner with the UW Kendo Club.

We had our celebratory tournament dinner at the Imperial Garden in Middleton and I brought along Kelly and David as my guests. It was a good time to socialize outside the dojo, celebrate our achievements in the Kendo promotional exam and enjoy dinner with Kiyota Sensei. As usual, Sensei asks if Kelly is my wife. Another humorous tidbit is that tonight was my first time exchanging business cards with Kiyota Sensei as is the customary Japanese tradition. This is also the last dinner with Tei as a member of our UW Kendo Club as he prepares to move to Detroit for work.

Of course no dinner is complete without drinks as David, Kelly, and I tried their specialty drinks including the Singapore Sling and the Jade Monkey.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Imperial Garden with Kiyota Sensei

It was natural for a warrior to be rebuked for not taking respectable care of his sword. Likewise, human beings must be urged to cultivate an attitude of polishing themselves and achieve tempering from facing hardships. The warrior aspirant incapable of such disciplined evolution will never become an exceptional sword.
-Masaaki Hatsumi

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A Link to the Past

I spent the morning hanging out with my mom. It had been a while since we've done things just mom and son. After running a few errands, we stopped in at a US Cellular store to pick up a new Kyocera SE44 Slider phone. The lady rep. was very nice and decided not to charge me for the activation of the new phone.

Today, Prof. Dale lectured about Venice. Unlike the surrounding cities that had a past linked to Roman antiquity, Venice was founded by refugees that were displaced by the Lombard invasion. As a result Venice had to seek its own past which it linked to the city of Aquileia. I thought about how this parallels my studies in Asian Art History because I too am seeking my past. As a child I left the continent of China and so with it a grand ancestral history.

It's no wonder why I am akin to the comic book hero Superman. Identified as Clark Kent from Kansas, his true past is that of Kal-El of the planet Krypton. Escaping the destruction of his own world he arrived on Earth to find himself alone and the last son of the lost Krypton. He spent his teenage years observing super powers and discovering his legacy and birthright.

Feeling a bit tired after class I caught a quick nap before going into Kendo practice. I spent a good amount of time with Jungkwan on improving jigeiko (combat practice) and footwork. After a shower I decided to take my dad out for a steak dinner at the Northwoods Bar & Grill. Diana was finishing up some homework at a friend's house. Finished with dinner, I met up with my sister for a little shopping and hanging out.

It was good to spend this day with my family. They are my link to the past and the most important thing in the present.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 2

Christopher Reeve took on the role of Superman from 1978 to 1987. In a 1995 accident, Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down after being thrown from his horse. Up until his death last year he had fought hard for research in the recovery from paralysis.

Super man.

Christopher Reeve: Super man.

He made us believe a man could fly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Concept of Kendo is...

as laid out by the AUSKF - All United States Kendo Federation

To Discipline the human character
through the applications
of the principles of the Katana

The Purpose of practicing Kendo
To mold the mind and body,
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through the correct and rigid training,
To strive for Improvement in the art of Kendo;
hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,
associate with others with sincerity,
and to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able to love his country and society,
To contribute to the development of culture
And to promote peace and prosperity among all people.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 2

Lake Monona from O'Keefe Middle School

Beautiful Life by Fisher

Hey Child
Up And Go
Big World
Is Out There Waiting For
Us To
Live In Every Day

You Will Find
There Is Love All Around You
Takes You
Makes You Wanna' Say

That It's A Beautiful Life
And It's A Beautiful World
And It's A Beautiful Time

To Be Here....

Monday, February 21, 2005

Blackout Black Belt Monday

Today, I woke up rested and ready for class. Unfortunately I did not complete any homework nor read for Monday's class in Civic Architecture of Italy. When I arrived at the Elvehjem, I walked into a blackout that was forcing students out of their rooms. My class tried to continue discussion in the darkened hallway that was lightly lit up by the windows upstairs but Prof. Dale decided to finally draw the class to a close.

Since I had the rest of the day free I took a break from Kendo practice, I started on a host of errands that took me to the west side and the offices of Charter Communications. While on that side of town I dropped by Jon's Black Belt America karate school. I had not visited since the changing of their name from Karate America and the move to the new location on Odana Road. He was in the middle of teaching a kids class and going through the Quest kata that we had learned years ago. It was a bit of nastalgia forever locked away in memories of youth.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Black Belt Promotion

7th Annual Detroit Open Kendo Tournament

Very early Saturday morning, the UW Kendo Team was assembling for the long trip to the 7th Annual Detroit Open Kendo Tournament, hosted by the Detroit Kendo Dojo. Anxiety and anxiousness kept me up most of the night and I didn't get much sleep. I picked up one of the UW vans and Mark got the other as we drove around to gather our half-wake members. The drive down came out to about 7 hours, losing an hour due to time zone change and then some more time for lunch. The Kendo promotional exam was scheduled to take place only hours from the time we were due to arrive.

Checking into the Westin Southfield Hotel in Detroit, those testing had to quickly drop off bags and put on our hakama gi for warm up.

The examination took place at the gym at Seaholm High School. When our club arrived, the Sensei's were still setting up the testing area as well as prepare for the next day's tournament. I made sure to bow to all the high ranking Sensei's as we entered quietly. After a quick warm-up we lined up in front of the Judges evaluating mudansha (one without rank). There were plenty of kenshi testing for shodan (1st degree black belt) and higher ranks with about three dozen people testing for kyu ranks.

In our group there were 16 testing for ikkyu and others testing for nikyu and below. Of the UW Kendo Club Fei, Farah, Edward were seeking ikkyu and Ellie tried for her shodan rank. We all passed of course. In the class of 16 testing ikkyu, 2 kenshi had failed and will have to try for it again another day.

Getting back to the Westin Hotel, we stopped to pick up some beer to celebrate but before we could get down to the partying, we had to get to the Welcome Dinner that Tagawa Sensei was hosting for the participants of the 7th Annual Detroit Open. The dinner was a chance to socialize with the other clubs and get to know our competitors.

My team gathered for beers and cheers in the room until the beer ran out so we went downstairs to the hotel bar, Tango's Lounge, to mingle with the other Kendo Clubs. At one point in the night, Tagawa Sensei had drank too much and his students carried him back to his room. Of course we continued to drink until we got hungry and ordered chicken wings, however, I wandered around the hotel at some point and passed out in the lobby. The team sent Henry to retrieve me and I got back to the bar in time for the final wing. After that I only remember stumbling back upstairs to get to bed.

The morning after was a good wake up and hurry up as we quickly gathered our things and had breakfast before the 8:00a registration. Upon arrival at the school, our club registered quickly and prepared warm-ups. We lined up for the opening ceremony, a competitive spirit pledge, and a kata demonstration by Tagawa Sensei with real katanas.

I was the first to fight in my court and competed against Mark Kaufman of the Michigan State Kendo Club. Mark had tested for shodan the day before but had failed the test. Still a bit tired from such an early morning wake up call, I fought with what energy I had. I tried striking men (head) and kote (wrist) on several attacks but he had blocked them. In one moment I gave him too much of an opening and he was able to strike my men and earn a point. In the minutes to come, I came close on several hits and even landed my attacks but the Judges had not called them because I had not shown either enough kiyai or zanshin. In another part in the match I pushed Mark out of the ring and he was warned but was not deducted a point because it takes two warnings for a penalty. As time ran out, I did not get my chance to even out of the score and he won the match. It's devastating to lose a first match because that would mean that I don't fight again until the team event.

Our club was divided into 2 teams. My team consisted of Dominique, Fei, Farah, Edward, and Ellie. Of all the members in my team the highest ranking was Ellie with a newly earned rank of shodan. We fought the Detroit Kendo Dojo team whose member with the lowest rank was a sandan (3rd degree black belt). While we fought hard and gave it our best, it was no match for the Detroit team. I fought against Noriyuki Sakuma of the Detroit Kendo Dojo and found him afterwards to thank him for the humbling experience and bow to my experienced senior.

Once our tournament chances were lost we quickly got out of there because it was going to be a long ride home. A blizzard had entered Detroit on our way out and it greatly prolonged our drive. At some point, the blizzard turned to freezing rain and later a heavy fog as we neared Lake Michigan. We stopped for dinner at the New Garden Chinese Restaurant on our way and finally made it back to Madison in the wee hours of the night.

Overall we did not compete as well as we did in the Chicago tournament last fall. I felt it a quite humbling experience and know what I need to personally improve upon in my technique.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

7th Annual Detroit Open Kendo Tournament
Gallery | Results

7th Annual Detroit Open Kendo Tournament Gallery

Kendo no Rinen

Through the rigorous practice of Kendo, inner strength and character are developed. Such is the true path of Kendo.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 02-20-2005

Monday may bring an interesting event your way, Fei, as Venus in Aquarius sextiles Pluto in Sagittarius. This may be your opportunity if you have been searching for that lucrative deal or proposition. Stay alert and keep your eyes open - there is certainly something in the air. But don't get too obsessive about trying to get results to go your way - be prepared to go with the flow and see what happens. Mercury sextiles Mars on Tuesday - a positive omen that gives you the chance to talk to someone about another project you have in mind. This one will need to be grounded in fact while fuelled by a sense of vision - but if you want it badly enough you have a chance to make it happen. The Full Moon in Virgo on Wednesday means that your emotions are going to be in full swing also. So if you need to talk to anyone about anything, try not to let your feelings cloud your choice - though this may be quite difficult. The Sun conjuncts Uranus on Friday, encouraging you to listen to the authentic voice within your soul. One revelation may prove to be a lifesaver - you will be glad you took it seriously.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sushi: Edible Art

At work the Green Team decided to give Edo Japanese Restaurant another try. They usually come up pretty good in meal preparation and are decently priced. We pooled our money together and ordered from an assortment of sushi rolls to share. We partook in trying out the Oshinko Roll (a Japanese pickled roll), the Seaweed Salad Roll, the Tokyo Roll (packed with salmon, tuna, and yellowtail) along with regulars such as the Tekka Maki (a tuna roll), and an order of the Avocado Roll. In this arrangement, the sushi order was sorted in a beautiful display and it truly was edible art.

For some of us, like Newbie, it was the first time eating sushi. After a first dip into a soy sauce/wasabi mixture, the piece of raw fish, wrapped in seaweed and rice, left his mouth as quick as it had entered.

I finally feel like I'm getting over the cold although strength in my body is a bit sapped. I have one more practice on Friday and then leave later in the night for the Detroit tournament, arriving Saturday for my ikkyu test. I will admit that the fear of failing had crossed my mind but now, there is only anxiousness and excitement.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 2

Edible Art

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mushin: An Altered State of Consciousness

an excerpt from The Shambhala Guide to Kendo
by Minoru Kiyota

When a samurai faced his opponent, sword drawn, fear was inevitably aroused. What was the source of this fear? The opponent? The sword that was thrust toward him? No. Fear is created by one's own mind. One must conquer the fear within oneself before one can conquer the opponent. How does the kendo practitioner do that?

The conscious mind gives rise to the ego. The ego is that aspect of the mind that takes the self as the measuring stick of the world and ultimately seeks self-preservation. It is the ego that breeds fear. Under this circumstance, the most effective move to make is an all-out "go-for-broke" attack, which is referred to as a sutemi (literally "body-absorbing") attack. It is in this kind of an attack--an attack in which there is no intrusion of the ego-based intellect--that a kendo practitioner is apt to discover mushin.

Mushin is a term that D.T. Suzuki, the Zen master who made the term Zen a part of the Western vocabulary, translated as the "mind of no-mind." Simply put, it refers to an altered state of consciousness, a state of mind freed from an ego-clouded vision that cannot be swayed by external distractions. This state of mind is called the true self.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 1

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Chicken Soup with Rice: February

Excerpt by: Maurice Sendak

In February it will be my snowman's anniversary
With cake for him and soup for me
Happy once,
happy twice,
happy chicken soup with rice

Activity: 1 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 2

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day FeiShakes

My day began when my alarm clock decided not to wake me up. No bother, I quickly showered before rushing to class. CRAP! When I got to class, I remembered that the reason I set an alarm was to wake up early to finish a reading response assignment. Throughout lecture I sit quietly in the back, hoping I won't be drawn into discussion. Of course, I was called upon to comment on the Marvels of Roman antiquity.

After a good lesson in humility, I gathered my things for Kendo practice. Already in a bad mood, I can now feel a cold running through my body. I'm low on energy and breathing comes in the form of conscious effort. My nose has an undetermined mind to run quickly or stuff up, leaving me questioning.

For practice, we began with a light round of kata. Once we began our kendo practice, the whole shortness of breath thing caught up with me. Unwavering, I fought to my last ounce of strength and finally collapsing to the floor when we took a break. With the tournament in less than a week, we all took rounds of shiai where we practice our kendo play for points. I actually won a match.

Returning home, I literally crawled up the stairs to the main door. Dropping off my possessions in the room, I got ready to shower. The alarm clock goes off. Great. :(

Feeling better after a good cleaning, I stepped out to Copps Food Center to stock up on groceries. On sale again were Progresso soups of all varieties. For a good source of Vitamin C to get over this cold, I picked up several containers of Tropicana orange juice, not from concentrate. For my own dinner, I bought an assorted package of grocery store sushi that included rolls of shrimp, tuna, salmon, and eel. With low expectations, the arrangement turned out surprisingly good. To top off my [un]-pleasant Valentine's Day, I came up with the perfect recipe for strawberry milkshake.

Recipe for Strawberry FeiShakes

1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
1 cup of milk
2/3 cup of orange juice
1 1/2 cup of lemon sherbert
1 cup of ice

That's about the extent of my Valentine's Day. Although I don't regret it, I can't help to remember where I was a year ago. Where will I be a year from now?

Tonight I found a suitable chain for my ying-yang necklace and wore it for first time.


Activity: 3 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 1

Progresso Soup and Tropicana Orange Juice

It's impossible to grasp just how powerful love is.
It can sustain us through trying times
or motivate us to make extraordinary sacrifices.
It can force decent men to commit the darkest deeds
or compel ordinary women to search for hidden truths.
And long after we're gone, love remains--burned into our memories.

We all search for love.
But some of us,
after we found it,
wish we hadn't.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Apple iTunes and Pepsi

My hair is growing out. I've been meaning to get it cut.

Rainy days suck. I did some light lifting before going to Kendo practice. I'm sure gray skies is cause for such sloth. My body had shut down. By the end of practice I was physically exhausted.

After a shower, I headed into work right when Metzger was just returning from Topper's Pizza. He got free pizza from them because they ran out of toppings. Topper's, oh such irony. Apparently, Jenica ordered mushroom and they had to run to the store to get more. Then they ran out of large pizzas so they gave us 2 free medium pizzas.

At work we got excited about the new Apple iTunes Pepsi promotion. Basically, 1-in-3 specially marked caps of 20 oz. Pepsi awards a free song track from the iTunes Music Store. Once you enter the free songs in the iTunes program, each winning cap will give you a chance at winning an iPod Mini which Apple is giving away at a rate of one an hour until some time in April. They're approximating that over 1,700 iPod Mini's will be given away.

Now here's the silly part, because Pepsi bottles are clear, you can tilt the bottle to see what it says under the cap. The Pepsi iTunes Cheat allows one to just choose the winning bottles. Winning caps results in free songs and more chances to win iPod Mini's. And depending on your point of view, the only loser will be the person who drinks too much Pepsi.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 2

Apple iTunes Pepsi

Weekly Horoscope: 02-13-2005

Your joint financial affairs are very much your main focus at the start of the week, Fei, which is bringing you many reasons to look at new ways of creating wealth or making a few useful investments. Valentine's Day falls on Monday, which may mean that you decide to celebrate more fully on another more appropriate day of the week. The atmosphere is highly charged and there is an emphasis on bonding or merging with your intimate partner; yet, somehow that deep sense of emotional passion is missing. It may feel like more of a lighthearted encounter even though Venus, planet of love, does conjunct Neptune. Romance is in the air, but it will have an idealistic approach rather than a hands-on affair. But never mind - things may get more interesting later. Mercury moves into Pisces on Wednesday while the Sun moves in on Friday. This encourages you to look further afield for new ideas and emotional support. Perhaps it is time to investigate your beliefs. Are they providing you with the help you need to get where you wish to be? Mars in Capricorn continues to stir up your partnerships, bringing you a chance to clear the air and to tell it like it is. Go for it!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Boot to the Head

Since returning from Vegas, I've been getting generous amounts of sleep. I get up early and have the whole day ahead. It feels good to have a full day's energy to begin the day.

In Kendo, Mark thinks I've made improvement so I will test in Detroit. That leaves one week from now to get all the other things in place such as etiquette, form, and spirit. Not aware that next weekend Max and Mollie are hosting their Murder Mystery Party on the same day as the tournament, I will regret not being there. For that, my sincerest apologies.

After work last night, David and Jenica came along with me to my aunt's new place for a Chinese New Year dinner. Kelly was taking an exam at that time so I made sure to take a plate home.

Once we got back to Madison, the three of us picked up Kelly and dropped by the Essen Haus for a few beer boots. They were on special for $10 a boot. Later Jenica's dad stopped by and sat down with us for a few drinks and peanuts.

In other news, North Korea has come out to say that they have nuclear weapons. An article posted by the BBC welcomes the Year of the Rooster, however, it predicts a conflict in the East by year's end.

In less critical news, James will be 15 minutes late for work. :)
-as notified by Coral

Activity: 2 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What happens in Vegas...

...stays in Vegas.

Like that ever happens. Since I haven't written in a week, I'm dedicating this entry for my Super Bowl weekend trip to fabulous Las Vegas.

The weekend began immediately after Kendo practice last Wednesday night. I rushed home to shower and pack. Justin and Steph came by to pick me up on the way to Edgerton. From there, a limo picked us up for a ride to Midway International Airport.

Once in Vegas, we checked into the Rio Hotel Resort and Casino. Josh arrived a few hours later and I met up with him for lunch. After lunch, I went back up to the room for a much needed nap.

Later in the night, we took a cab to the strip so that I could show Josh a bit of the Vegas that I enjoy. At the Bellagio the fountain water show was playing away to Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. At the Mirage, the volcano was in eruption mode and a walk inside gave way to a visit by the one of Siegfried & Roy's tigers in the White Tiger Habitat. Making our way to the Imperial Palace we dropped into Tequila Joe's for some karaoke. I sang a song for my good friend Stephanie who was feeling a bit sick and stayed at the hotel. The night came to an end with a late night $2.95 bacon and eggs special at the Barbary Coast.

The next few days were mostly for gambling and getting drunk. At the Golden Nugget, I made a quick $175 on blackjack and roulette. At one point, I was on an up and down streak at the Lady Luck for hours until finally cashing in. In a drunken stupor, I had a good time running up and down Fremont Street at the heart of downtown.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship was taking place this weekend at the Mandalay bay. Tito Ortiz squared off against Vitor Belfort in the octagon. I had missed the fight but I was going to put money on Belfort. Ortiz was the winner.

Back at the Rio, I wandered around for a place to eat. Crossing by the arcade, I ran into a couple of girls, one from Taiwan and the other from Korea, playing away at Exceed (a type of Dance Dance Revolution game). I quickly caught up with the music and kept my own. Jolie, from Seoul, blew me away when she picked a dance in which she knew every beat and step as she did turns without looking at the screen.

One morning, I got up early to a beautiful Las Vegas sunrise. Looking out the window, I decided that I wanted to see such majestic beauty first hand. Catching the early shuttle, I headed for Boulder City to get to Skydive Las Vegas. There, I met a few guys from UConn and together we made preparations for our first tandem jumps from 2 miles up. Needless to say, it was exhilarating during the 60 seconds of free fall and the coast back down to earth was amazing as my instructor let me steer, doing turns in all directions. From that height, the Hoover Dam and the city of Las Vegas seemed like small play-things.

Once I got back to Las Vegas, I received a text from Steph about meeting up at the Las Vegas Hilton for Star Trek the Experience. They have this new ride called the Borg Invasion 4D.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I got up early to place my bets before the late crowd even got up. I bought several off-the-wall proposition bets for a few bucks and some big money on the Eagles for -6.5 points and on the under of 48 points. All of us got together at the Keno Salon to watch the game and play a few games of keno. Sadly for the Philadelphia Eagles they came up short for the big game. Fortunately for me, I won my big money bets as well as a few prop bets for $300 in winnings.

On check-out day, all of us got together again for breakfast and then some gambling before heading to the airport. I watched some plays at the roulette table before I committed a crisp $100 bill on an outside bet. In one quick spin of the wheel, I came out of there with $300 and with that last bit of luck, my trip came to an end.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 2

Las Vegas '05

Las Vegas '05

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Year of the Rooster

Getting home late from Las Vegas, I crashed in bed upon coming through the door and had the best sleep I've had in weeks. Waking up to a pile of mail and a long list of things to-do, I decided that they can wait. I haven't worked out in a week and slowly got back into the lift.

Later in the day, I dropped off a couple of New Year cakes for friends and family. Leaving a short shift at work, I dropped by the Kohler Art Library at the Elvehjem Museum. I had to run a few photocopies for class. Once there, I made my way to a table. To my surprise, I glanced over to find a pretty little Engineer studying away. Ha! It was Kelly.

At home, I sat down to dinner with family and some of my parents' friends. By night's end, it finally kicked in that it's a start of a new lunar year and time for new hopes and changes.

The Year of the Rooster is upon us.
And the time for the Monkey is over.

Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai (may you have wealth and prosper)!

Activity: 2 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Monkey Rooster

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A New Wingsday

Once class got out, I rushed over to Dean to pick up a new set of contact lenses before running back downtown for Kendo practice. In all seriousness, I feel confident in my combat but I know I must work on kata and time is running short. I'll be leaving for Las Vegas this Wednesday immediately after practice and returning the following Monday night.

After a shower, I met up with Josh at the Oakcrest Tavern. Metzger and David came shortly after. Once Steph and Sita came, Wingsday 2005 had begun. Once the beers started coming and the wings had been served, Golembiewski shuffled in followed by James. After water polo practice, Jenica dropped by. Terrance from the Gold Team came by with his friend. In all of this, Kelly was no where to be found. Even as we got up to leave, Brent had stopped by at the end of his shift.

It's worth mentioning that Metzger has lost his title of The Closer to Golembiewski (at least for this week). Jokingly, and in the goodness of geekdom, Terrance got us all started on introducing our Help Desk logins. And once again, the topic of the McRib came back to a discussion of it being a victim of limited time offerings.

By the end of the night 50 chicken wings were consumed by 7 participants. That puts us at a grand total of 3384 wings on a given designated Wingsday. Now one might ask why we do this. I say that it goes beyond the scope of mere numbers and it speaks truth to the treat of all people who love chicken wings. Also it is fun above fun and brings us all together to put a little cheer in our lives.

Here's to You, a New Wingsday!

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Wingsday '05
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Wingsday '05

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
-James Allen