Monday, May 28, 2007

Back in Tdot!

And so, I just checked in to the airport and am waiting for my flight back home. Although this businesss trip was more of a technical boost, somehow some of the things we already knew got to me this time. I was more than ever more convinced that one of the sayings that we all know is true and will help make us a better and stronger person: "Don't speak for the sake of just speaking, and don't just go somewhere for the sake of going." This is so true. Someones we find ourselves caught in the web just just blabbering on, starting conversations that we never meant we wanted to. Of course, there's no problem in using phrases to stir up a conversation. But it really amazes me that how many people just... talk, for the sake of it. Austin is a little town, and I had expected some really snobbish people before I headed this. Mainly because it is the 'new' silicon valley of the west with lots of talented people, home to headquarters to many world corporation, and rich CEOs with 40million houses. However, after I got here; I didn't expect to notice that the people here are very down to earth, and peak with their hearts - something harder said than done. No hiding, not saying just for the heck of it, and just being sincere. Of course, there's good and bad people everywhere as my colleague says there may also be some very racist people here as well. But, my getneral impression of Austin was that there were more 'sincere' people than in bigger cities. Ok, don't get me wrong; i still very much enjoy the life in bigger cities where there are more activities and events - but we have to stay true to ourselves and speak from our gut, talk when we mean to listen, visit somewhere when we really want to know, and just be true to ourselves. Some shots on my ride back to Toronto... Gosh, really brought out the little boy in myself, always marvelled at the aerospace industry...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Roadtrip to Houston and NASA

I always had been a close follower of the space program, and so this weekend I headed out to Houston in search for the Houston space station. It was a 3+ hr per way) from Austin but that didn't stop me. I woke up early at around 9:30 (tough during the weekends), packed up some light belongings not knowing if I want to spend the night in Houston if I'm tired, or if there's some really cool attraction. Grabbed a quick bite along the way and arrived in Houston around 1 o'clock. The downtown was smaller than I expected with only a handful of skycrapers, the Chinatown was also small - well, I just got back from Asian countries so it wasn't much of a comparison. I did found the highway structures pretty amazing though, along with those T-shaped oil-drills that looked huge from a far distance already. Anyways, toured NASA facilities and it was pretty cool although I had been to Floria NASA earlier. However, most of the exhibits were based on old technologies that most of us are aware already. The only exhibit with new news was only verbal explanatoin but was interesting itself. For some of you space program followers out there:
- The fleet of shuttles will be decommissioned in 2010 where there will be a new design coming. The new project, Constellation will be basd around lander capsules (Orion) and being propelled by reuseable fuesealage rockets.
- People aged 3-20 currently will have a chance for the beginning of spacetravel regularily.
- Currently the ISS (int'l space station) is having its new solar panels readjusted so that the panels will follow the sun at any moment. Instead of of turning the station, the 240ft long panels will rotate itself to absorb solar energy.
- ISS revolves around the Earth at an amazing speed of 17500km/hr, meaning astronauts aboard the station will see 26 sunrise/sunsets in one day!
- The next moonwalk planned in 2020 and a marswalk in 2030.
Hearing all these news of future plans really made me feel excited yet... old. Anyways, after touring NASA; headed to Galveston which as another hr drive from Houston. A small ocean city to the east before heading back to Austin.
BTW, the Mazda6's Cruise controls are pretty sweet. I think it's even better than the controls on my dubber. It was one of the features I highly used on this 8hr total roadtrip. Anyways, here's some pics!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Car review...

And so I bi7ched and complained... and it was worth it. As mentioned earlier, I was lucky and got a new Mazda6 as a rental car here. I have put around 900kms in 2 wks on it already, ho... It's a pretty nice car yet torque was a bit lacking mainly cuz the gearbox wanted to simulate a smooth Tiptronic transition as a family type sedan, so at times it was lacking power to overtake those endless trucks down here... ha ha. Speakin of cars, there's a new concept Audi for 08/09, and most likely i will get it as my next car... doesn't it looks good? Talking cars, there's also roadtrips of course! And over the weekend - went to Fredricksburg, the mountains were nice and there were lots of turns along the way. Can't believe that there were so much people - mainly visitors at the small town; and atmosphere was pretty lifely. The locals there were polite and merchants were still nice despite I was just lookin without buying. Kids were sitting around enjoying ice cream, dogs on leashes were out, and there were sidewalk sale everywhere.
I also went to another small town named Roundrock on Sunday, well - mainly to check out its' outlet mall... ha ha, anyways; highly lookin fwd to the next weekend. Anyways, another story for another time... i'm back to watching the Phoenix-San Antonio game now, and of course i'm cheering for Phoenix as that was a pretty bad harsh foul by Horry.... no way to play a game.

Monday, May 07, 2007

San Antonio Roadtrip....

The past weekend was a nice one... Firstly finished a TVB series (HK drama) so that freed up some of my time, finally got a card reader down here, met up with a cousin who lives in Austin (the hyde park fries was an Austin specialty with original batter recipe), and drove to San Antonio. Yup! it's around 1+ hr drive, but since i was having fun with the tiptronic to the new car and stopping to take pics here and there; it was a bit longer for me.... But it's all good, I guess i'm just like a small kid - really into cars. With the new ride, I was pretty hyped up to drive around the neighbourhood - I guess it does take a toll on ones' mentality :) San Antonio is big but the skyline can't really compare with other cities like LA, TO, SH, etc... I can't believe that the outskirts and the downtown was just separated by several blocks - not to say it's a small city; but the architecture between these areas was very different in only a small distance away. The main attractions include the Alamo (which actually was relocated off another location), and the riverwalk which was an artifically-channeled river flowing into the middle of the city. It's alright but maybe i've seen similar things in Venice and China (ZhouJiang) which were not as commercialized, so I didn't really find it that appealing.
Speaking of roadtrips, I'm planning a Houston trip to look at NASA since i'm a close follower of the space programs (Houston, we have a problem...), and Fredricksbery. I learned from my cousin that the ladder is a small German town located west of Austin and featured small shops and distinctive architecture styles. Somehow I can relate to a game I play back in Toronto - feeling like a character going around searching for unknown towns, too bad there's no trophies or artifacts. Anyways, as promised - here's some pics that i finally can post up after downloadin it off my card reader... ;)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

In Austin Texas..

Since I haven't been updating - but as most of my longtime readers might know already, i'm in Austin. Austin is a small town in Texas US between San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. The city is blossoming with big R&D companies even now and can be compared to the likes of a miniature Silicon Valley. Work brings me here and now i've been in this south-central America location for 2 weeks already. The things at work are tiring, and very hardcore technical (it's crazy... i feel tired trying to catch up at work); but I guess it's something I want, before i head towards the mgmt direction. The food here comprises mainly of hamburgers, grill, mexican, BBQ, and steak. Comparing to Toronto, Shanghai, Taipei; there really isn't that much of a variety, but I do still try to keep myself eating healthy foods despite there's so much high-cholesterol foods out here. The downtown - 6th Street along Congress - is pretty small. It's just a short 2-3 blocks of bars and small shops and nothing really special. The people I met so far are actually pretty nice, maybe less prejudice and snobbish as people one would find in larger cities like New York, Toronto, etc... And so, there's not too (too) much to do here. Just some sightseeing and looking at wilderness (I somehow like city landscape more) with lots of outdoor activities. Oh, and did I tell everyone that I exchanged my rental car today? I exchanged the super big Dodge Stratus for a Mazda6 which is quite a good ride... No pictures yet, as I forgot my CF read back in Toronto - so please bear with me with this all txt posts until I lay my hands on one... ha ha

I'm back!

I'm back! Thanks for all those readers out there that's still visiting my site despite that I haven't updated it in a long time. Mainly because I feel that there's nothing special to update about.
Was there a time when you were unsure of yourself? Feel tired, not sure what you want to pursue in life, and start to question if this is where you want yourself to be? These were some of the questions that I have been pondering since I returned from Shanghai... and still am. Career-wise, it's a cool position to be in but it just feels like a 'job'... Socially, i do have lots of good friends I know will be there for me - but sometimes it's sad to see that many friends are distributed around the world (HK, US, and whatnot...) and it's hard to gather all the people in one place just to catch up. Family-wise, i'm on good terms with parents, relatives, and siblings; Toronto is still the place i choose to settle mainly because everyone is there. Romantic-wise, there's some better-than-normal friends here and there and I'm happy to be still single as I really hate to rush into things and regret over it later. Seeing that everything seems fine... but somehow the passion, the energy isn't there anymore. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining, since life really couldn't be better and I cherish highly of what I have right now... Maybe, it's just that time in life.... and all I need is time to see what we really want and how we want to pursue it for the rest of our lives.... Just a strange thought.