Sunday, October 31, 2004

Okay! I'm back tonight...

Flight UA 1112 leaving ORD at 21.00 arriving YYZ at 23.37!

Looking forward to be back home!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

As a "good Chinese tourist", of *course* I have to visit all universities. Jase is pursuing her doctorate at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal (about 45 minutes away from Urbana-Champaign). The campus is about the size of UW, *except* that there is abundant student housing:

This is Waterson Towers, a student residence with a capacity of 2000 students!

Jase took me around Peoria, another nearby city. Here's a picture by the riverfront.

Yes, quite a windy day!

Friday, October 29, 2004

I've arrived at my friend's house in Bloomington-Normal, about two hours outside of Chicago!

I met Jase (short for Jaselyn.. I really like her name) at Urbana, when we were put into the same small group. It was really cool... I guess we were "older" than the rest of the undergrads in the group and I guess we have similar personalities that we got along.

I'll be home on Sunday night though... =)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh... mourning the loss of my UW email and hosting account. =p Guess it was bound to happen!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Yam goes midwest...

In deciding what to do during our only weekend here, we thought we'd go to the mall, seeing that there isn't a whole lot to do here otherwise. Originally, we were going to go out at 11, but my coworker had to get some other work done, so we pushed it back to 2-3pm.

..which was great because I had 3 hours to "see the city" on my own. So I headed out to see "O"...not the Cirque de Soleil show, but "O" Street.

Downtown Lincoln consists of a square of area bounded by about 9th Ave to 14th Ave from the west to the east, and "K" Street to "Q" Street from south to the north. Our hotel is on "P" Street.

I feel like I'm in kindergarten. On one hand, the lack of imagination of this city's planners is somewhat mind-boggling, on the other, at least literacy must be at a decent level because everyone *must* know the alphabet, and probably don't need to sing through the "ABC" song to figure out whether they need to advance to the north or to the south -- especially if going backwards in the alphabet. Okay, I'm mean. =p

But seriously, quick, how many blocks and in which direction should you walk if you want to get from P Street to L Street? No singing! Haha... It's not that easy!

It was a beautiful sunny day today, a stark contrast to yesterday's incredibly windy yet warm and humid weather -- midwest twister weather? Perhaps.

So I headed out towards the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery on campus. It was one of the few attractions that I cared to see in my thorough reading of the "Lincoln" tourist magazine, which we read in detail at the airport while waiting for our third team member's hour-delayed arrival on Monday.

The gallery has a number of outdoor installations and three indoor galleries. I liked the David Ireland special exhibit... otherwise, nothing else really caught my eye.

The installation on the steps to the entrance, however, will not be missed by *anyone's* eye:

It's called "Fallen Dreamer" by Tom Otterness.

During my visit, I talked to the reception guy, who looked bored out of his mind because who really goes to the art gallery on campus? I asked him about about other "attractions" in Lincoln; the other main thing I wanted to see was the Nebraska State Capitol. Apparently it was within walking distance so after completing the gallery, I took the 15 minute walk through the quiet Lincoln downtown.

Apparently, the Nebraska State Capitol is an "architectural masterpiece that embodies the union of art, architecture, and humanism." Too bad it wasn't open until 1pm -- I got there at 12.30pm. Instead of waiting around, I thought I'd head back to see more of the university. Besides, I'd took my pictures like a good Chinese tourist:

On the top of the tower is a "sower", illustrating the importance of the city/state's agricultural background. In fact, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln's campus map, in the "East" campus, there is a "tractor testing track". You don't see those at all universities. =p

Speaking of architecture, from the little tidbits that I've learned from my friends' architecture classes from U of T, apparently, the "silo" is even an architectural marvel, combining the practical aspect of it (i.e., storage) into different designs. I thought of that because of this, integrating that design into a different (i.e., church) architectural design:

Another design at the university that I kind of enjoyed:

It reminded me of the Leaning Tower of Pisa mixed with Toronto City Hall mixed with the structure in Toronto-Dominion Centre.

On the walk back uptown, I saw "The Cornhusker Hotel":

Just one of the many "Cornhusker"-named entities in the city. =) Back at the art gallery, I took the elevator:

The elevator ride was very uncomfortable. I've seen these type of designs in spaces that attempt to reduce noise, but for people who have (really strong!) astigmatism like myself, it's really bad! Thank goodness it was only a one-floor ride -- I would have gone crazy.

After that, I went back to the hotel to meet up with my coworkers to go to the open-air mall -- kind of like how our outlet malls are, but with normal stores. There wasn't a whole lot there though, we all bought something from Banana Republic, but that's pretty much it.

For dinner we went to "Carlos O'Kelly's", a Mexican food place. We've had Mexican food *four* times this week -- I don't think I've had so much Mexican food in such a period of time. Not complaining though... it was pretty good.

In the evening, we watched "The Manchurian Candidate" at a nearby theatre -- $2!!! Even cheaper than Rainbow Theatres with the exchange! =) The movie was not bad... although I guess I wasn't ready to take in such intensive drama... it was kind of disturbing.

Tomorrow, I plan to go to service and then probably go do some more shopping. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I finally finished the deliverables due for a "night shift" client. So I figure that I can now get started on my real objective for these two weeks of reading through a good chunk of Isaiah.

So what better place to read and study than the local Starbucks. And so I headed out with my trusty Clie in hand (I have the Bible on it ; ) ). Not to mention the coffee shop atmosphere is great for (backlogged) blogging. I'm kind of proud of myself: I *never* go out alone [insecurity issues], but it's hard to otherwise when no one is here! Oh yes, Nebraska!

Can you believe there is only *one* studious student here? Actually, my team and I noticed -- this is a university town, but we don't see any students! We even drove through the campus... and it isn't as if we're in holidays now... unless everyone is studying at home?? Right... What a weird city/town. =p

Back to reading... Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Blog 10.17.2004

On the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, this time for 2 weeks. Fun, fun... My coworker and I were delayed in Chicago for 2 hours! So we are finally on our way at 10pm, Central Standard Time. Looking forward to getting some rest, although I have a feeling I will be quite sore tomorrow from carrying all my bags today.

I can't sleep for some reason, (might be the Starbucks,) so thought I'd blog on my resurrected first generation Sony Clie. At least the cover on this handheld is cooler than any others on the market, despite the handheld itself. =p Wow, I just realized I have on me all 3 Carey Wan items... This was the predominant method of creating my old Hong Kong blog (now offline!) during my work term there, *way* before Blogger even started. ; ) Hey, I've got to make normally non-value-added travelling time value-added somehow. Too bad no phone calls on the plane. =p

The snacks that we got on this flight are called "Plane Cheesy"... Cheese snacks shaped like... you got it, airplanes. Har har har... plane cheesy? Plane cheesy. =p

I don't have anything to study for this time in Lincoln... Hoping to try to cover a chunk of Isaiah since I've been trying to read it for a while. Hopefully I won't spend to many late nights working in my hotel room, typical of most local site audits. My client seems very capable though: He's young for a controller at 31. (We were all deducing the last time we were here, in case you were wondering!) It's hard to imagine he's been through a divorce. The other contact for the consolidated division has been through a divorce as well. What a culture...

Hopefully after 2 weeks I won't gain that much weight. Oh yeah, I think my weight increase after the cruise was 1 pound -- I've been within the same 5 pound range for the past 10 years. However, how it *feels* on me is a different issue, and I won't gross you out with that here. =p

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Thanksgiving dinner was great! No turkey.. just crab... and duck... and chicken... and fish... typical Chinese dinner!

And we did the typical extended family dinner: kids play mah-jongg, parents sing karaoke and/or practice ballroom dancing in the basement -- sometimes both at the same time. In order to do both at the same time, there are karaoke videos which even specify the type of dance of the song!

After some mah-jongg, we were too distracted by Bishi Bashi 2 -- an ultimate party videogame... oh, those crazy Japanese people... =)

Oh yeah, in case you didn't know, Janey's thorough discussion of the cruise can be found here. But beware, her views are biased!!!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Back home...

It's always nice to land in YYZ. Toronto is great. Even though the character of this city pales in comparison to cities like New York or Shanghai, and even though the trip might have been great, it's an unbeatable feeling to come home.

Originally, I would still be in Miami now with the others, but decided to come back early because of some circumstances, and mainly because I wanted to have some family time this Thanksgiving weekend when my sister is back.

And I praise God for always "working things out"... last night, when I was boarding the plane in Miami, I realized that I'd have time to catch the tail-end of Wayne and Jess's banquet, so frantically called around to find out the location just as the plane was leaving. I ended up getting to their wedding by midnight (I landed at 10:30 or so). I've been kicking myself for missing the two of their jack and jill's this year because of circumstances, not to mention miss the wedding proper, but thank God for giving me the chance to meet up with them even as their night was ending. Congratulations!! =)

Family dim sum is quite the event. It's one of the main reasons why I came back early... my sister (she's at McGill) often comes back to make the Sunday morning dim sum. It's pretty hilarious:

1. Technically, it's a dim sum relay. My parents and my aunt and uncle go early at 9:30am because the prices are discounted (in order to retain the "elderly" dim sum going crowd). By 11am, the prices are back to normal for the "normal" Sunday dim sum crowd. But by then, our table is full with food for the entire morning.

My mom is a health care worker and organises her client time around dim sum, so usually she comes at 11am and leaves at 12 to 1 pm between clients.

I usually make it after church at 11am.

My brother Albert makes it after Kendo at 12pm.

My brother Edward makes it when I wake him up after church, if at all.

In between, my uncle sometimes picks up my cousin from home when she wakes up in the late morning.

So from 9:30 to 1pm, we occupy the table with people going in and out.

2. There's a normal dim sum routine:

First, we play the "who can spot the parents first" game in the restaurant. We win when we spot them before the entire table is waving their arms wildly in the restaurant.

Second, we eat the same thing every time including pigs' feet and egg in a ginger sauce, soya milk and fried dough fritter, [mah lai goh], literally translated as "horse-pulled cake", and [baak fan yu], literally translated as "white rice fish".

The trick for [mah lai goh] is that the best piece are the "high" "outer" pieces. And the cake has to be yellow/brown enough. We need to take a look at the quality of the cake first.

The [baak fan yu] is individually slightly fried in batter. The game that goes with this "don't move the fish". Basically, remember the game pick-up sticks? Well, especially if we don't use communal chopsticks, it would be discourteous to touch the rest of the fish with your chopsticks. But the fish are all fried and sometimes stuck together that it's difficult to pick up only one fish -- hence the game.

Third, the family time sometimes continues into the evening when everyone comes over for dinner, and then we have our dinner routine... =) Which I will explain later, haha.


My sister brought her Quebecois boyfriend from Montreal, and I still laugh about her explanation of [tza leung]: "It's a... fried dough that's wrapped in... a different steamed dough. Really, it's just two types of dough."

Haha, still makes me laugh thinking about that. Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Vacation time on the big boat!

Gone cruising with Janey, Ina and some of Ina's friends (not to mention Janey's parents. =p)

And yes... I've got internet.. =p

Friday, October 01, 2004

Your kingdom come, your will be done...
Fifth of a series from Urbana 2003.

I had to go back to search for my last number; wow, that was in February.

That was a beneficial exercise though -- the last thing I wrote about was self-comfort. Sadly, sloth has taken over my initiatives half a year ago. And it is a sobering challenge especially considering my desired future purchases... =p

I was reminded of Urbana because of the theme: Your kingdom come, your will be done.

It seems like every time you turn around, you hear about a disease, or violence... and then more disease... more violence... what a world, eh. =p Sigh... it can be such a wretched place... But it is comforting to hope in heaven.and to hope in the Lord.

Your kingdom come, your will be done...

With such deterioration in the world, I just feel like rapture is going to come soon... very soon... sigh.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord Blessed be your name