E-mails

January 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is pretty cool.

Last week Kyson and I went to speak at our Entrepreneurship to Address Global Poverty class at the request of our professor.  We went in for twenty minutes and talked about our experiences with Bamboo Lota and our thoughts on the course.  Basically we were real live, walking and talking testimonials.  However, that is not the cool part.  I mean, it was a little cool to think that we were “teaching” a real university course but after teaching DeCals and being a peer advisor, it wasn’t anything new to be speaking in front of a classroom full of Berkeley students (I am aware that sounds kind of conceited. HEHE).

The cool part was having students contact me via email after our talk, wanting to know more about the venture and my experiences.  Because I am now responding not as a peer advisor, but as a graduated alumnus.  It’s funny because I was one of them too, emailing people who came to speak at my classes and asking them for advice.  In fact, I still do it now too except instead of emailing academics, I email CEOs.

Part of this experience makes me feel really old though.  I’m graduated.  =(  And even if I go back to school, I will be an old graduate student…not a young, fresh undergrad.  The other day when we were having Kollaboration auditions I was hanging out with two of our high school volunteers.  When I asked them if they were having fun they said, “Yeah… but everyone here is SO OLD.”  -_-  And that was when they thought I was still in college.  -_-  -_-

Then again, if I wasn’t “SO OLD” I wouldn’t get to live in a nice apartment that allows cats.  Yes!  Age increase rationalized into a positive experience.

I win. =D

Oh Neytiri

January 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

One of the best things about Neytiri is her curiousity and inquisitiveness.  One of the worst things about Neytiri is her curiousity and inquisitiveness.

I am currently typing on a keyboard with missing keys thanks to my mischievious little babe.  But before I get into how that happened I will reveal some of her other escapades:

  • Sniffing my face and then putting her tongue in my nose
  • Batting at my laptop screen, trying to catch the cursor while I am trying to write emails
  • Knocking any item that isn’t bolted down off a table
  • Coming to me and trying to eat anything I’m eating
  • Watching me clean out her poop and then going in and using the litter box as I am cleaning it…

Neytiri has such a big personality and I love her for it.  She is constantly getting herself into messes though. Currently she is eating my plants as I type.  *sigh* Poor plants.  First Violeta, then Kimchi, and now Neytiri.

Anyway, about thirty minutes ago I was eating a choco-pie and had a cup of water beside me.  Right when Neytiri heard the rustle of plastic, she bounded towards me and started pawing at my choco-pie.  Because chocolate can be deadly for cats, I kept it out of reach until I finished eating it.  However, in the ten seconds I had my head turned, she proceeded to start drinking my water.

Yeah.. thanks Neytiri.  I thought it was really cute how she had her head stuck down the cup though so as you can see, I got the camera to take some pictures.  We were both having fun until she started pawing at the cup, consequently tipping it over.  The water got all over the table, floor, clean laundry, and.. my laptop. =(  I hastily took out some keys to keep the rest of the laptop dry but now I can’t get them back in.

Oh, and in the last five minutes of writing this post she decided that the “s” key was her new toy and batted it across the table.  One of her favorite games is hiding behind my laptop screen, watching my fingers type, and then lunging out and batting them with a paw.  Luckily she doesn’t use her nails so it’s not too painful.

She’s so funny though.  I love Neytiri and Navi both so much.  They’re definitely not the angelic, pettable little kitties I dreamed of adopting but I’m happy nonetheless.  It’s much more interesting this way.  =)

Who me?

Kitty Story

January 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Yesterday we went to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) in Walnut Creek after work and were blown away.  It’s my dream realized!  While I was in middle and high school I volunteered at our local humane society.  It was nice but I always hated that some animals were euthanized if they were not adopted in time.  It was then that I vowed to start my own no-kill humane society one day.  That’s what ARF is!  They go into local shelters and humane societies and take what people call “24 hour animals.”   In retrospect, I can’t believe that all their animals are 24 hours animals (24 hours until they are euthanized).  Their cats and dogs are so cute and friendly and wonderful potential companions.  At ARF, I was amazed by the facilities, service, quality of care, and so much more.  It was like an animal resort!  All their animals were extremely well taken care of and each “animal habitat” had state of the art toys.  However, as I walked through the hallways of the cat rooms, I became worried that we would not find a fitting kitty.  All the cats were a bit bigger than we had wanted or long haired and considering Allan’s allergies, that would not do.

Finally, we reached the last row.  I didn’t expect much and was prepared to go home and start researching more facilities.  However, the second to last kitty was a cute small calico that I thought might be a good match.  I didn’t want to decide on a cat before seeing the rest of the cats so I moved on to the last kitty.  The last kitty was playful and outgoing and reminded me a little bit of Kimchi, the epitome of a perfect cat in my eyes.  I turned to tell Allan but he was already on his knees, fawning over the little calico I had passed.  I told him to come over and look at the last cat but he stubbornly refused and sat playing with Frauline.  I, on the other hand, wanted to meet both Frauline and Jacqueline (the last kitty) before deciding on one.  I also wanted to meet another one I had seen named Anya but after five minutes of playing with Frauline, Allan announced, “I’m going to take her home.”  He had only seen her through a glass door but he already decided that she was the one.

Luckily for us, ARF is incredibly thorough and even before you can meet a cat in person you have to fill out paperwork regarding your pet preferences, lifestyle, and pet care giving experience.   They want to make sure that each animal gets paired with the right humans.  Initially I was a little annoyed because I was so excited to meet the kittens but if I ran an animal foundation I would do the same.  It deters the non serious potential adoptees and helps result in a more fruitful union.  Our cat adoption counselor suggested that we don’t look at Anya because she had some health problems so we just looked at Frauline and Jacqueline.  Jacqueline was really playful and pretty friendly.  After two minutes of playing with Jacqueline, Allan says, “let’s get them both.”

It’s funny how things work out.  For the last four years I had been the one wheedling for a cat and Allan was the voice of reason, bringing up legitimate concerns like how it was against the rules to have a cat in my building, how I didn’t know where I would be going the next year, etc. but suddenly in a swift five minutes, we had switched roles.  I was the one telling him to take it slower and think about it before making a hasty decision.  But I guess it was just meant to be.

Before making a final decision, we introduced the kitties to each other to make sure that they would get along.  And although there was a little hissing and batting, they left each other alone for the most part.  It wasn’t too serious so we took them home that day.

I started writing this the day we got them but because I wanted to remember all the details, I am completing this story three days since the adoption.  So much has happened since then and I know for a fact that my blog will be filled with kitty posts in the future.

To give you an update, we renamed the cats (the aforementioned names were temporary ones that the foundation had assigned them) to Neytiri and Navi.  Neytiri really looks like Neytiri from the movie Avatar and so that name was a no brainer.  However, we considered everything from Xiao long bao, Xiao Mei, Mei Mei, and Nabi for what eventually became Navi.  Allan wanted give the kitty formerly known as Frauline an Asian name (because he thinks she looks Asian) but we finally decided on Navi.  It sounds like butterfly in Korean (Nabi) but is in line with the Avatar theme.

Navi is the smaller, shy one and Neytiri is the big, inquisitive one.  When they first entered the apartment, Navi constantly hid in the smallest spaces she could find while Neytiri clambered on anything and everything she could reach.  The funniest part of their homecoming was when I opened their boxes and they both jumped right into the bathtub.  Neytiri loves licking water from steel faucets.

At first I was a little concerned because both of them didn’t really like being touched or held but now that they’re more comfortable with their surroundings they have become a lot better.  I do have some training to do, as Neytiri is in the habit of hissing and slightly scratching when she’s surprised.  Their personalities have already changed so much (for the better) in the last few days so I’m really excited to see the transformation once they learn to trust us.  They’re already so sweet and playful though that I’m fine if they just stay the way they are.  Allan and I spoil them rotten with toys and treats but I know that will have to stop soon (we seriously feed them 20 treats a day, it’s ridiculous).  Allan is on Cloud 9.  He gets to say things like, “all my girls are waiting for me” (-_-) and has so much fun throwing balls around for the cats to chase.  Someday I have to get him to write his version of the adoption story.  He insists that Navi chose him and that both of the kitties were meant to be ours.

Anyway, that’s all for now!  If you finished the story, good for you!  I figure that this post is mostly for myself so hopefully everyone at least enjoys the pictures! =)

Neytiri at ARF

Navi at ARF

Within their first five minutes home

Not quite friends

I belong in Avatar!

I'm so cute!

People learning things

January 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

People will learn anything when they have to.

Examples: babies in Africa learning how to balance things on their heads at age 1, me learning how to program (Allan and I both thought it was impossible until I actually had to use it for my job), my mom learning how to type.

Who woulda thought?

Kitty Hunt

January 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

Allan and I have gone to two shelters to look for a kitty.  Although we met some nice ones, we haven’t met any that really connected with us.  It’s hard because the frisky, interactive ones are the ones (in our experience at the shelters) who have bitten us while the subdued, cuddly lap cats are not active enough for our taste.  We plan to go to a few more places and have been searching online so hopefully there will be good news soon.

There were definitely a lot of standouts so here are some pictures!

Ace

Ember

I forgot her name =(

There were more but I didn’t have time to take pictures.  Oh new family member, where are you?

Passages

January 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must inevitably be taken into account.

vs.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Figure out what I learned today

Avatar and Atrophied Legs

January 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

I FINALLY went to watch Avatar in IMAX 3D on Friday and it was amazing!  It was pretty much a culmination of everything that I had heard and read (unoriginal storyline, amazing graphics) but hearing about it and seeing it for myself made a world of difference.  The whole time the movie was set in Pandora I wanted a pause button so I could simply sit and stare at the amazing flora and fauna.  James Cameron did a great job of creating a world both similar and different enough for all types of audiences to connect to.

I had read up on the technical aspects of the film to understand the computer animated graphics aspect of the movie but there was still one scene that left me asking, “how did they do that??”  That one scene was when the audience sees Jake’s legs for the first time.  Was it CGI? Makeup?  Sam Worthington’s dedication to his craft?  I had my assumptions but after a few minutes of searching online, I found my answer:

One small but particularly interesting nugget is how James Cameron and his crew made Sam Worthington’s legs look so atrophied. In the film, Worthington plays Jake Sully, an ex-Marine who lost the use of his legs in battle and is confined to a wheelchair. The answer? Not computer effects but prosthetics.

“John Rosengrant at Stan Winston’s studio took a mold from the legs of a paraplegic who had about Sam’s skeletal size, and then we created rubber legs,” Cameron said. “Sam’s actual legs are tucked down through the chair.”

(Credited to http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1629810/story.jhtml)

Now that I’ve finally seen Avatar, I’ve been reading anything that will give me more insight into Pandora and the N’avi world.  I’m also really tempted to buy the 200+ page book on Pandora and start learning the N’avi language but I will resist for now.  Hmm… I wonder what the term for an Avatar geek will be.  Avie? Tarie? We’ll see.  At any rate, I don’t mind being one of them.  Count me in for the next two movies!

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