Year ends, for me, are just excuses to write humongous blog posts that goes on and on and on about life, the universe, and everything. It feels quite soothing, you should try it some time, too!
I don’t think more could have happened this year for me. In no particular order or hierarchy or sense –
Graduation, well, I totally saw that coming, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise. For some reason, I didn’t really feel like it’s a big deal. Sure, it’s nice to be out of school, but I’ve felt the same every time a semester ended. Moving on.
Epic trip to Chicago, Boston, New York, Niagara Falls, Taiwan. It was quite nice. I haven’t been to the east coast in quite some time, and it was refreshing, getting to see a few big cities, with very different culture and architectural styles. Also found out that Harvard’s campus is exceedingly unattractive, and should be denied entry into my list of schools considered for grad.
Robocup 2013, Eindhoven. It’s my first time traveling to Europe since I was born (my mom traveled there while pregnant with me, so it’s technically my second time, but first time since I was born). Cool cities, cool people, cool robots, and yummy goat milk. It also marked my firing of myself from Thunderbots, which actually felt like a much bigger deal to me than graduating. 4 years. It was time to move on to something else. Doesn’t make it any less sad, though. Still love you, guys! and girls! and unicorns!
Starting work full time. Also not that big of a deal. The only difference I really noticed was a bigger paycheck, compared to co-op.
Avigilon is a really nice place to work at with a bunch of extremely talented people, very nice HR, good food (?!), good location, and challenging work. It’s also not a field I was already familiar with, and definitely learned quite a few things. That said, it’s not really something that I can get REALLY excited about, and with so many other opportunities out there, it’s very hard to make any long term decision. Sure, it’s a very exciting company financially speaking, and we are getting paid on the high end of the Vancouver engineering pay scale, but it’s still not nearly as high as say, California, and since I don’t have family here, there is not that much of an incentive to stay here, when there are so many cool opportunities elsewhere. Vancouver is a nice place, but is that worth 20-30k less in salary? It’s not like California is hell, either. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Eventually I decided to look into grad school. That was quite a stressful experience actually. Having to read up on 10-20 schools and their programs, figure out all their deadlines, write all the required essays, study for and do the GRE (I studied for about a week and did pretty well… I guess luck is on my side), request letters of recommendations from 3 profs, keep reminding them (most @#%@#%@#ing frustrating experience ever), fill out 15 pages application forms, all in about 2 months. It’s all done, just waiting for results now. Applied to 3 schools for Master in CPSC. All 3 schools are very strong in AI, which I am planning on specializing in. Fortunately for UBC, I did not apply to UBC. It was a pretty hard decision since UBC does have a lot of research in AI and I was already in contact with profs that were very eager to keep me at UBC, but I wanted to go elsewhere. Been here for 10 years. Time to move on and check out other places. Will see where my future lies in couple months when the results come back. Not gonna disclose where the schools are yet, but it goes as far as UK :).
Flying. Got my license last year, so no more training. I want to get an instrument rating eventually, but will probably do it in the States due to logistics reasons.
Still flew a bunch, though. I have since visited about 10 airports in BC, and plan to visit quite a few more before I leave, if I do leave.
I tried to fly at least every 2-3 weeks to maintain proficiency, and took passengers on most of those flights, and it’s awesome! I don’t charge money for short flights since I would have made them anyways. Well, it proved to be quite popular (who doesn’t want to try flying an airplane for free?) and I have already flown about 10 people so far with more promises un-fulfilled, yet.
I can seriously do this all day if I had the money. Taking people up, give them 20 seconds of instruction, and watch them try to fly the airplane. Most fun in the world, and in a good way! Many of my passengers were so good on their first try, it’s amazing. I’ve had a few first timers that were able to hold altitude within 50 ft for >10 minutes on first try. I sure wasn’t that good when I started training.
Hmm. Maybe I should become a flight instructor one day…
If I do move to the states one day, I’ll probably volunteer with Civil Air Patrol (civilian non-combat branch of USAF) to fly search-and-rescue and disaster relief missions. Free flying while helping people and doing good, how much better does it get? Unfortunately I believe in Canada SAR is all handled by the Canadian Forces and not open to civilians.
Musicals. Les Miserables the movie at the beginning of the year was EPIC. I am STILL kicking myself for not watching the musical version when it was in California AND I happened to be there, too. Argggh!
Haven’t watched any musical in person since Wicked last year. Was planning to go watch Evita in Seattle around this time… but that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons.
Watched Miss Saigon on YouTube, and have had the music playing on my phone like every other day since then. Really really good music! Especially Lea Salonga’s singing (she also sang Eponine and Fantine in Les Mis, Mulan in Mulan, Jasmine in Aladdin, and like 50 other famous works). Plus, she is just an awesome person in general, if you check out her interviews, etc.
Also looked into Love Never Dies, which is the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. It’s a very weak sequel compared to the original. There’s some nice music, and Sierra Boggess’ singing is awesome as always, but the musical as a whole just feels… lacking on so many dimensions (Sierra also sang Christine in a production of the original POTO, but not in the original production, which was sang by Sarah Brightman).
Recently started listening to Chess. It’s quite good. The story is OK, but the music is phenomenal! Probably also helps that Idina Menzel sang the female lead in the production I watched, and she is awesome.
You and I is absolutely heart-melting, but some of the livelier and more humorous stuff earlier on is awesome, too – Nobody’s Side, Mountain Duet, Chess (DAT FLUTE SOLO!).
I just cannot seem to not be learning something new at all times. It’s official. I have started studying the viola.
I have always wanted to play a string instrument since my orchestra days many years ago. Just another dream coming true, and taking an unhealthy amount of my time!
Love? Dunno. I’ve used the “too busy” excuse for way too long. Time to find someone maybe? But hey, it’s actually pretty hard now that I looked into it! Who would have guessed!
Not sure how that happened, but the 3 things I am into – engineering, aviation, and martial arts, all happen to be extremely male-dominated.
Where the @#$#@ do you find nice girls that aren’t taken, not married and have kids, also likes you, and doesn’t just keep ignoring you?
Maybe it’s the smell. Hmm.
Be happy and eat a squirrel!