Friday, September 26, 2014

Random updates while filing emails away

My shoulders and neck has been feeling extremely stiff lately. I've signed up for a couple of massage sessions in hopes that they can help me relax the muscles there. I think I just need to work less. I have this big submission that is finally getting down to the wire in terms of needing to push out a submission. I've even taken over the living room at home with drawings and such. My roommate is away this week in Australia. The table at home is actually bigger than the table at work.

There are two public holidays next week, on Wednesday and Thursday. But I have a big deadline on Friday. It should still make the week better though since I can come into the office whenever I want on those days. I really think having a more flexible schedule would make me more efficient. I do my best work between 7-9pm. Whenever I have a difficult problem, I leave it until those hours and solve it then. Anyway, hard to have a really flexible schedule when you're coordinating things with other parties.

My work has upgraded to Microsoft Office 2013. The color scheme is really lacking! You can only chose between white, light gray, and dark gray. Honestly don't know what the designers were thinking. It's really hard to see with everything so white and not enough contrast. How hard could it be to just let people chose?? There seems to be a lot of complaints about this on the forms. Hope they fix this soon.

I finally redeemed my book prize of $300 HKD with Page One from writing an article after an AGS site visit. I got a Lonely Planet book for Korea and What Color is Your Parachute. The Korea book is kind of slim but I guess that makes it good to carry around while traveling. It even has a section for North Korea. I think it would be cool to do a train trip around South Korea using their rail pass. But the book says that the rail system is not that comprehensive. I guess not everywhere is like Japan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Team BBQ

Long days at work again. One deadline after another. At least this latest one is for my own project and I feel like I'm doing enough analysis and research to justify my design. This latest project is one that I feel like I'm really the engineer for the project. I've been looking after it since the beginning and I've made the important decisions for the project so far. The construction works will start early next year so once we've finalized the design, it's going to happen really quickly. There's not much time to make any changes other than those that happen during construction.

I've been thinking about applying for ICE membership (UK chartership) for this spring. I would need to submit two reports, one summarizing all my experience so far and another that goes in depth for a project. I would also need to pick a project to do a presentation. It's pretty hard to choose since I feel like there are pros and cons among the projects I've worked on. Maybe once I write the broader report (or start to write it), I'll have a better idea of which project to use for the chartership exam.

In other news, I'm now a licensed engineer in Texas! There's a long story to go with why I'm doing this. Hopefully it all works out... In the meantime, I'm getting my stamps for CA and TX made at a local stamp shop. They are pretty fast! 4pm next day service.

Last Friday, I helped organized a team gathering event that consisted of BBQ and playing around at a golf driving range. The location is kind of out of the way but it hard to find a location that satisfies everyone. I think it was still too hot to comfortably have a BBQ. Actually, it's a lot cooler this week than last week so maybe we should have had it this week. Anyway, one of the attractions of this BBQ site is that you can order a suckling pig to roast. We ordered a pig and a duck. It took us about 4 hours to roast them. It might have taken less time but I don't think we knew what we were doing for a while. They were really fat and really good. But I think we had a lot of leftovers because everyone was full from all the other food.

The duck

The pig

Salad for lunch this week to make up for eating all this roasted food. Hydroponically and locally grown!

Totally unrelated but I'm a big fan of these cakes

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy mid-autumn festival! I went out to dinner with a couple of Yalu's friends who are here for their internship. One girl is from Dalian and she took us to a Dalian restaurant out near Austin MTR station. I've only been to this area one other time in an attempt to find Vietnamese sandwiches. I think I've blogged about that in this blog post. The area is laid out in a grid and feels like an old neighborhood with small shops and family run restaurants all along the streets. The place we went to was also very small and run by a family. All the other patrons at this restaurant are from the Dongbei area. 

It was a very chill day in general. I managed to finish off this one project that has been sucking up all my time on Friday and can finally start on the project that I've been neglecting. I went into the office on Saturday for a little bit to wrap up some stuff and then had a easy day on Sunday. On Monday, I decided to go to the CPS site to see the first step of the destrutting for the excavation that I have been working on these last few years. We thought it would happen in the morning but all the preparation works took a while and so they didn't start until the afternoon. Everyone wanted to go home early so things happened pretty speedily. Nothing major happened but we did take measurements after every major cut. We're actually very lucky that BD had required strain gauge monitoring. I really don't think other private projects have such extensive monitoring records. It would be really interesting to do back analysis and possibly publish a paper somewhere.

After I stood around for a few hours watching this whole thing happen, I felt pretty gross from all the sweat and grim. So I went home to shower instead of going into the office. I checked email and then headed out for dinner at this Dalian place. I got stuck in traffic after deciding to take the bus and go to the dinner place about half an hour late. Anyway, the food was very good and we had a good time chatting. The food is heavily spiced (unlike Guangdong style food) but not spicy. There's a lot of grilled things on the menu and we got lamb and chicken skewers along with grilled eggplant and corn. They sliced up the eggplant, drizzled it with oil, and added a lot of garlic and spices. It was really good. 

The two friends had been wanting to hang out but I didn't hear from them for a week. This was good for me since I was really busy last week. But it turned out that they had been in a really scary boat accident. Their boat was tugging a banana boat (a boat where people saddle on for fun) and the rope broke, came flying back to their boat, and hit them in the face. Luckily, they were both wearing sunglasses, which saved them from any eye injuries and they came away with bruises and small cuts. No stitches needed. But I think they were in bad shape the whole week. They said that the accident was totally preventable because the boat guy saw that the rope was frayed so he cut it and tied it with a knot. The knot slipped. I'm glad they're both okay except for some really bad bruises and superficial cuts. 

Anyway, had another chill day today (Tuesday). It's a public holiday here since it's expected that everyone had a late night with family dinners.