Atta Ikede

May 30, 2008

Soccer update

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 6:50 am

My new season started 3 weeks ago and guess what: i’ve scored 2 goals already! One in each of the last two games. They were both rebound kicks where I snuck into the goalie area and strategically put in a kick while the goalie was distracted by my teammates. hehehe. I owe it all to my new Diesel shoes.

I liked the shoes and went into the store to check them out and found that they’re having a 30% off sale on shoes! I bought them immediately. Best $65 i ever spent! hehehe. Anyway, the reason the shoes help is that they’ve got a thin leather upper, which is similar to how real soccer shoes are. I’d been playing with running shoes until now, but I realized that with thinner shoes it’s much easier to get the feel of the ball. With my new shoes, i can actually feel when i kick the sweet spot vs the edge, and i can control it much better and point my toe better because there isn’t an inch of foam padding and “boingy” material between my foot and the ball! YES!

Along with my newfound ability so score has come a newfound ability to pass effectively. More people are passing to me now because they can be confident i can return the pass and keep the ball on our side. I still have to steal the ball a lot from the other team if i want ball time, cuz i’m still a very weak player, but hey, I’ve scored goals! I’m an asset!

I think what happened is that my skills have been getting better, but once i got the new shoes and could actually feel the ball, suddenly i was able to put my skills to work and actually pass and kick properly.

I am definitely going to go to a park this weekend and kick the ball around a bit to practice. Now I have a reason to practice!

Two internet tv services reviewed

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 6:37 am

Fox and ABC both have streaming video services which let you watch full length episodes of popular tv online legitimately. Both services are supported by ads.

These services came out a year ago (in ABC’s case at least) but I wasn’t able to use them in Canada because at that time they had IP address filtering or something preventing non-American residents from watching the content.

Anyway, here’s my review of those sevices:

Fox- called Fox on Demand. It’s an excellent service!! Too bad the newest season of House sucks so bad i can’t bear to even WATCH a whole episode. It’s like the writers randomly cut and paste things from previous seasons and made no effort to even tidy up the story lines a bit. Even the new characters have been reduced to cariacatures of the original ones. So sad. Anyway, the services has an excellent full screen mode, the video quality is excellent and although video ads interrupt the programming occassionally, it’s seamless. This service effectively recaptures the TV watching experience. Turn it on, zone out, fall asleep. In fact, I like this service so much that I might go and watch a bunch of Prison Break episodes. That show was great until the gang busted out of jail, only to end up in another jail, which they now have to bust out of. Recyling much? Must be a plague going around Fox writing studios or something. Anyway, if i ever have some insomnia or am bored and sleepy on a weekend morning, zoning out and napping in front of the computer while prison break is on might be a good option.

ABC – it’s at some url like go.abc.come or something. This service is inferior to Fox’s service but i’m … addicted to desperate housewives and visit this site every 3 weeks or so to catch up. The “full screen” mode just makes the player full screen but the actual video stays the same size. Sucks. Luckily I have a 24 inch monitor, so it at least keeps the video viewable when i sit on my couch but overall I find myself squinting at times to get a good look at Gabby’s shoes. The video quality is excellent and, like Fox, ads are played intermittently in the same breaks as on tv but, unlike Fox, the video player makes you go back and click a link to return to the original programming after the ad is over. When the show is interrupted, they put a little counter saying “return to original programming in 3, 2, 1” etc. If you don’t notice the link to return to programming, you’ll continue watching the ad. Sometimes the ads are funny cuz they’re pitches for other ABC shows like Jimmy Kimmel. Other times the ads suck because they’re the same boring car ads you see on TV. Either way, it’s pretty annoying that the user has to lean forward, fumble for the mouse and click that tiny link 10 minutes after settling into the drama of Desperate Housewives and continue to do that every 10 minutes thereafter! Unfortunately, the convenience of this online service makes me think i’ll probably keep using it. I dont want to waste my bandwidth downloading something i can watch in decent quality using streaming video!!

Hmm….

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 6:27 am

it’s 7.14 am on Friday morning. An amazingly interesting thought popped into my head earlier as I was washing 3 day old dishes and I was seized with an urge to blog.

Unfortunately, now that my hands are dry and the computer is revived, … my mind is completely blank.

Hahaha!

Did I tell you about how I went to a bar alone a few weeks ago and made some friends there? Well .. it’s true! I started having hockey withdrawal, fueled mostly by my friend “picnic buddy” txting me from canada with hockey news and reminding me she couldn’t play online puzzle games with me until the game was over. One day, i decided i had to watch hockey. I found a nearby sports bar, confirmed that they show all major sports on yelp (cuz nobody watches hockey here. they’re into baseball :S) and went over there one sunday afternoon. Alone. They carded me, then i went and sat down on an empty stool and started watching the game. Well… since the bar stools were all taken by riotously drunk people, i sat back at a table. There were already people sitting at my table! I said hi, and told them i was just a canadian suffering from hockey withdrawal. They said it’s cool, and in fact it turned out they’re both from the north east as well! The dude is from the US niagara falls and the girl grew up in illinois. Anyway, we ended up chatting throughout the game, and when they left we exchanged phone numbers. The conversation was great! We talked about sewing machines, Obama, chiropracty, and various other topics. Fun!

She texted me a few days ago and asked if i wanted to hang out. i said sure, and we met up last night at a local bar. It turned out to be fun! she brought a couple coworkers with her. She works at a local salon called Salon. The owner of Salon also owns a beauty supplies shop next door called The Beauty Counter (or something like that). Her boyfriend, who is studying to be a chiropractor, showed up later too and we ended up chatting for another hour.

the moral of the story here is, clearly, two fold: (1) always talk to strangers and (2) go to bars alone.  :)

May 28, 2008

Miscellaneous

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 6:30 pm

1. <edited>

2. i’ve been experiencing slight nausea on my bus ride to work. I used to read, but nowadays i start feeling sick sometimes so I’ve stopped doing that. When I don’t read, I either play sudoku on my iPhone or close my eyes and imagine i am a monkey using my arms, legs and tail to swing through the trees. It’s like a cartwheel in mid air through the trees. Then I start thinking .. hmm .. if i just fling myself up, i’ll be able to do this cartwheel up over the tree tops! Then I start thinking … hmm … maybe i could drop to the forest floor and pick up bananas too! I find that the 20 minute bus ride goes by really fast when I start imagining the monkey. It goes by really slowly when i’m stuck on sudoku.

3. I become mesmerized by when I see matchy women. I don’t know what it is about them, but they fascinate me utterly! I saw one the other day. I was on an airport shuttle and we were picking up people at her hotel. I watched her board the shuttle. Her color was pale green. Pale green shoes, 2 bags (from different brands), bracelet, and EYESHADOW! Hmm. Now that I think about it, I think the reason they fascinate me is that I start thinking ok .. i’ve seen one matchy outfit … i wonder how many more they have at home! i wonder what sort of closet they have! Are these women the source of the “almost new! Worn only once while i was mostly sitting down!!!” bargain used shoes on ebay? So many questions….

4. There are many times I actively miss Ryan! We used to finish each other’s sentences! I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I miss him when I’m trying to explain something, or trying to put my ideas into words. He always knew what I was getting at! We still keep in touch but it’s not the same.

5. My hair is definitely turning brown. I also turning brown(er). I have a noticeable tan lines now and I agree with Jessica (the rabbit) … tan lines on feet look dirty!! instead of strategically applying sun screen, i’ve been wearing closed toe shoes or different sandals so that hopefully the various tan lines will overlap and be less noticeable.

6. My wireless network has been very flaky. Sometimes i can’t connect to the router, sometimes i can but can’t get data, etc. As a result I have wires all over the kitchen floor in my apartment, reminding me that I am a fake engineer who can’t even get my own stupid network to work!!! Unforgiveable!

7. I watched two studio ghibli movies on youtube recently. I highly recommend them: (1) whisper of the heart. Probably one of the most romantic movies i have ever watched! That movie melted even my normally cold heart (2) Grave of the Fireflies. Really sad. really. The sadness of this movie will undoubtedly haunt me.

Roommate

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 5:57 pm

I have had a roomie for the last week. She’s going to stay until the end of this week.

She’s the korean girl I met off craigslist back when I was looking for an art class on there. She had posted in the activity partners section and her post was really friendly so I figured it couldn’t hurt to reply.

I coincidentally gave her a call a couple days before she was supposed to move out from the temporary housing her school provided her. I guess that dorm was quite expensive so apparently she’d been looking for something else for the next few months. She’s studying english here. Anyway, she said she hadn’t found a place, but would probably, but sounded stressed out, so i *volunteered* (why am i such a sucker) and said oh, well if you’re in a pinch you can stay with me for a few days.

i got a call from her a couple days later saying she was taking me up on my offer! She was very sheepish about it though, and took me out to dinner, and so i figured it was fine. Less than 10 days… no biggie.

Overall, I have to say she’s a nice girl and it’s been interesting having her around. My conclusion is that …. this is making me remember why I promised myself never to have roommates!! It’s ok having her around, but there’s no doubt that it puts a damper on my style and introduces a psychological overhead that was previously absent from my life. Nothing’s been specifically annoying — on the contrary, she cleaned my apartment and washes dishes even though I told her to leave them! It’s just .. i prefer being alone. Yes, looks like i’m anti-social. So be it!

May 16, 2008

Japan

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 10:50 pm

It’s really hot here and I can’t sleep. There’s some kind of heat wave going on here. There’s a drought too, and some people aren’t allowed to water their lawns and I think Los Angeles is starting to recycle water out of sewage because they’re so desperate.

A friend and I have a weekly ritual to play online games on skype on Friday nights.  Yup, I actively reschedule other plans every week so i can come home and play online puzzle games on Fridays with a friend in Ontario! If I win most of the games, I always feel exhausted afterwards and go to bed immmediately cuz my brainpower is so severely depleted. If I lose most of the games I usually just feel twitchy afterwards and go to bed to agonize about all the stupid moves I made.

Anyway, I lost today and it was too hot to sleep. My china post reminded me about Japan so I thought i’d mention that.

I can’t remember if I mentioned anything about my Japan trip? It was ok. The overwhelming memory I have from Japan is one of silence. I’d probably be more chatty if I was alone in a forest than I was in Japan. The thing is, if you’re alone in a forest it’s ok to talk to yourself. But when you’re in Japan, and don’t speak Japanese, that’s it. You have to be silent because the people around you would think you were crazy if you talked to yourself.

English is not commonly spoken in Japan, at least in the places I went (tokyo, kyoto). I could understand a bit of japanese cuz i’d read a language primer and had learned some words from watching anime, but the vast majority of everything that was going on there just went in one ear and out the other. no clue. My entire trip there basically boiled down to silently going through various polite rituals involving smiling and bowing, and speaking occasionally only to mumble polite japanese phrases like excuse me and thank you, and i understand. since my friend and I were both sick at different times, we ended up spending a lot of time on our own and so that made the trip seem even more silent!

Anyway, I went to Japan town last week to check it out. It’s small .. just a block or two, and most of the stores are inside a mall. I wasn’t expecting it to be that great so I was really surprised when it turned out to be authentically Japanese! There were lots of typical japanese stores and most of the people in the mall looked typically japanese too! In fact, the whole vibe was so authentically japanese that I must have gone into my Japanese silent/polite mode cuz after browsing in the mall for half an hour and buying a few snacks, I started walking home and suddenly realized that I hadn’t spoken a single word since going into the mall … not even to reply to the cashier in the store when he spoke to me in English! Then I suddenly remembered bowing to the cashier in the store!

China

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 10:03 pm

One of my friends told me she was annoyed I stopped putting titles for posts. She told me that she gets attracted to the titles like “bees to honey”, apparently. hehe. Well, she is one of my good friends so here! This is for you picnic buddy .. the titles are back!

I recently read a couple books about economics. I believe in the free market and the books I read were kind of tilted that way. I dunno if reading those books has coloured my viewpoint or what, but lately i’ve noticed a lot of people around me, even seemingly educated, compassionate people, making the most obnoxious and offensive statements about China!! Here is a selection:

1. “Our passports are printed in China!! US Passports!!! The world is probably flooded with fake US passports! They probably make 2 passports for everybody and sell the dups on the black market!!”

I dont even want to discuss how dumb that is. All I can say is that the Gap closed a store in downtown Oakland a few months after it opened because the amount of theft by employees and customers at that location was so great that they couldn’t run the store!

2. “My daughter never buys anything made in China after hearing about the pet food scam.”

Well, it’s great that your daughter is so rich she doesn’t shop at walmart and so bored she has time to read the label of every piece of food she buys at the store. I hope she threw out her laptop, cuz that was probably made in china too. It’s a bit sick that despite being so rich and bored, it took this person until the PET FOOD scam, of all things, to decide to not buy chinese. I suppose she was unmoved by the humanitarian stuff there? the environmental stuff? the brutal oppression of journalists? Yeah, who cares about other people in other countries, but make a move on her little shitzu and she gets all in arms.

3. “The chinese are polluting the world’s environment”

Good point. Might want to keep that in mind next time you’re surfing in your own shit in the bay. Cuz guess what! There’s still raw sewage going in there, especially when the system gets overloaded! That’s what I call unforgivable, especially considering we’re in like the most liberal, environmentally friendly place in america!

Anyway, i’m getting a bit annoyed just remembering all these conversations!

Sigh. time for bed.

May 15, 2008

Post 45

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 9:05 am

The soccer captain shared yet another crazy recipe with us yesterday! Apparently you make a package of brownie mix, and get rid of half of it, and add in the same quantity of black bean mush!

I believe the part where she says it’s way healthier, but I don’t believe the part where she says you can’t tell the difference. I’m not compelled to try this recipe. The pop cake one was easy so i had to try it. But where do I buy black bean mush? do i have to mush it myself? Sounds intense. I’ll just close my eyes and do a thought experiment instead. You could do the same.

In unrelated news, I am on the cusp of joining the fanciest gym in town. By SF standards it’s pretty expensive, but I think gyms are one of those things that are expensive in Canada relative to the states, so the price i’ll pay here is probably about the same as what I would have paid at sports clubs of canada or something. I could pay a lot less here and join a more “pedestrian” gym, but I scoped it out and most of those gym companies make you sign like a 3 year contract in order to lock in the tantalizingly low price. If you don’t, the price is only somewhat less than the fancy gym, and when I thought about the good points of the fancy gym compared with the relative dirtiness of the normal gyms, my decision was clear. Now the only remaining thing is to test out one of the yoga classes the fancy gym offers. If it’s decent then i’m sold!

The good points about this gym are: (1) Yelp reviewers overwhelmingly agree that it’s the cleanest place in town (2) it’s small and has no mirror or glass walls to facilitate egotistical preening (3) it’s in a converted stock exchange building- the change rooms are where the vault used to be!! (4) the corporate policy is to manage memebership. I’ve been in there at peak hours and it’s only half full (5) it’s about a block away from work (6) the head honchos from NYC apparently come down once in a while for quality control.

In further unrelated news, a coworker’s wife is getting her PhD next week. She has some kind of important presentation to give, and if that goes well, she’s pretty much in. It’s the final hurdle. He was asking me what I thought a nice grad gift for his wife would be. I thought about it, and my immediate suggestion was an alarm clock, cuz workers have to get up early whereas students can laze about all day. I figured this would be a useful and thoughtful gift. He rejected this idea. My second suggestion was a pair of overalls. lol. I mean, is there ever a time in your life when you least expect a pair of overalls as a gift? It’s surprising and symbolic! Unforgettable! He thought this idea was even worse, and warned me that i’m gonna have trouble in a relationship if I really thought these were good ideas for presents!! My response was that i’m a girl, and it’s usually the guy’s job to impress a girl with good presents! Hehe :)

 

May 13, 2008

Post 44

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 4:13 pm

i ran into my coworkers that organize the kickball league and separately told them the truth about why i don’t always show up for games (see older post about how they’re too cheerful).

The first guy rightly believed the story and suggested perhaps i’m being too cerebral about it.

The second guy thought I was pulling his leg, until I said “would I seriously make up something that sounded this weird??”. Then he kept questioning me about it in the kitchen until I had to get away from there, saying I didn’t want to talk about it anymore!!

May 8, 2008

Episode 43

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 3:09 pm

My soccer league playoffs were last night. My team made it to the playoffs. GO ROVERS!

…. not quite.

The league was a round robin. We played all the other teams and beat them all except one, who creamed us (they were SCARY!) and another one, with whom we tied. We were in second place going into the playoffs. The scary team (aptly named the Thundercats.. that just sounds scary) were in 1st place and the team we tied with, Rogue, was 3rd. The league had 8 teams in total.

We played Rogue. They beat us 3 – 2 and went on to play Thundercats.

You’re not going to believe this, but Rogue only scored one of their goals. My team managed to score the other two for them!! Unbelievable! Here’s how:

Goal 1: In the first half, somebody made a shot on our goal. One of my teammates tried to deflect it with a kick and managed to deflect right into our net. Our goalie (not me) was probably just caught off guard cuz he didn’t even try to catch it! The ball just sailed in!

Goal 2: In the second half.. we were already down 2-1 (due to our previous idiotic goal)… somebody made a shot on goal, and it was chaos. The goalie dove for it, but so did two of my teammates! Somehow the teammates got to it before the goalie, and managed to push the ball into the net! Idiotic! It was horrible! The goalie had to be comforted! He was pissed …

So yeah! We came back with a goal in the second half, and it was amazing cuz we were down a man (had been yellowcarded for some heckling on the field. seriously .. i can’t believe how dramatic these games can be) and managed to score anyway, but overall we weren’t playing too well. Those two goals we scored on ourselves really hurt.

I kept getting ordered to run to one side of the field or the other, and was totally confused what the strategy was. In fact, I don’t think anybody knew what the strategy was.

This was the first time where I observed that good passing really counts. Those guys passed the ball all around us and so we ended up just running around all over the place, getting sweaty, while they calmly passed it around their own team and waited for openings to take shots on goal. Even when we intercepted and got the ball, 1 runner can’t take the ball up the field the whole way (even though the field is so small), so always lost the ball when we tried to pass it, cuz our passing skills sucked. It just felt like one horrible 1-hour long game of Monkey in the Middle. Sigh.

Luckily a classmate of mine was in town on business that day so we met up for dinner later on. At least that was fun!

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