Monday, December 27, 2010

Pu'er Favorites the Second Time Around

I enjoy trying new things unless I'm feeling exceptionally grumpy, and sheng pu'er is no exception. But, it's comforting to continually explore the same tea: I usually notice different notes that went previously undetected. Over the past year, I acquired three bricks of the Xiaguan Baoyan, which I plan on letting age, one bing of the Kunming Guyi 2006 JingMai, three bricks of the Yiwu Yongpinhao 2007 Fall Harvest, and one Xiaguan Baoyan tuocha. Right now while I try to make time outside of work, I'm slowly chipping away at each bing and brick with the exception of two Yiwu Yingpinhao bricks and the Kunming Guyi bing.

My final thoughts on the Yuannian 2008 JianCheng 1094-I originally noted some muscatel and malt flavors about a year and a half ago. This has subtly changed with the malt fading away into a rustic sweetness in the background and the muscatel becoming muted. As of now, the flavors mesh wonderfully with each other, but there's nothing special about this decent tea.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Surviving until the holidays

Hopefully this weekend I can catch up on sleep and exercise, but I'm really looking forward until Tuesday when my vacation time starts. 9 days of rest and relaxation, here I come!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dryad carving

I'm almost done with my dryad woodcarving. Hopefully I'll be able to post pictures once I clean it up. As for right now, it's really just a "first draft" carving. I've got another piece of black walnut that I'll use to make another carving and learn from all the mistakes that I made on the first one.

Friday, November 26, 2010

If they didn't have Christmas, they'd invent something else

Performance Bike was having an early bird special so I went to their Raleigh location to see what I needed. After going through their clearance rack and seeing that only larges and xxl sized jerseys and bibs were left, I decided to look elsewhere. I went through the whole store and settled on a bike stand to use with the front tire when you're using a trainer. It cost a whopping $8.60. I brought it up to the cashier who looked disappointed when I put it on the counter, and after spending 2 minutes checking to see if I'd ever shopped at one of their stores, commented, "That's it? I mean, 20% off all purchases..." I replied, "Yeah, but this is all I need." He rang me up and I waited for my dad to finish with his purchase while I watched the other people stand in line with items costing less than $50. I know that if we didn't have Christmas, department stores would create something else to inundate us with some sort of cultural obligation that would require us to spend a small fortune to enjoy the created holiday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So far woodcarving has gone swimmingly. I still need a bunch of tools but I expect to slowly amass enough to complete a wide gamut of projects. Certainly the most valuable lesson I've learned so far is patience. That's patience for becoming proficient at carving, for finishing a piece, and attempting to make do with what you have. Hopefully this December will allow me enough time to create a couple of jigs so I can hold carvings in a variety of places, along with attempting to make furniture solely by hand.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tranco Pire!

Last night my sister and I watched a movie from our childhood, "In Search of the Castaways." I found out that the crazy Frenchman that we remember as being a goober and constant source of bumbling gaffs is actually the French singer Maurice Chevalier. Weird. But the one thing I couldn't stop laughing about is a native Chilean sporting a wicked buttcut hairstyle going into convulsions like he was afflicted with tetanus in his garbled attempt to convey the native word for earthquake. Fast forward to 1:45.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Great Dismal Swamp Cycling

The Great Dismal Swamp is a unique biosystem consisting of three foot long mosquitoes, angry black bears, venomous water moccasins, black hornets, bees, and high humidity. And yet I still ventured into it Friday morning after a filling breakfast at a local eatery. Why? Because this certain stretch of the Great Dismal Swamp near the VA-NC border has a stretch of paved road, remnants of an old highway, that runs through it. This makes it a prime candidate for running, cycling, and walking which I took to full advantage when a couple of gents from work and I hauled down to the swamp to ride our trusty, dusty carbon fiber steeds. 28 miles later, and I'm convinced that I should ride that stretch more often. A continuous path with no traffic to worry about, although the car barriers are a nuisance to steer around, and nature completely surrounding you. I was mostly quiet during the ride, busy smelling the honeysuckle and other foilage that reminded me of back home, while feeling stress slip away from my body. At the end of the ride, I packed up my bike, knowing that whenever the opportunity would present itself I'll make the drive back down.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Yesterday when I was visiting my grandparents and chatting with them about what I've done, I reflected back on the day. The one part that stood out for me was walking by the river and hearing all sorts of life coming from the trees above me and the mud banks to my right. It was very different from the hum of huge diesel engines. A strange feeling crept over me until I realized that I wasn't thinking about the next thing that needed to get done or my plans for the following day. I was completely relaxed. There's bound to be lots of state parks in Virginia where I can go running and canoeing. I think I'm going to chase that feeling for a while.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summers in Norfolk

Well, looks like I'll be spending most of the summer in Norfolk instead of out to sea. At least I'll have plenty of time for biking, wood carving, and attempting to perfect my violin skills. Tally ho!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's the Weekend

This week was ridiculously long despite not having work on Monday. It kicked off with me trying to go biking with a guy from work on Monday and getting taken to three different addresses by my GPS so by the time I got there, we only biked 6 miles and most of it was in the dark. And that pretty much set the tone for the week. Each day I got up at 0500 and left work at 6, 7 o'clock. The first time I saw the sun this week was yesterday when I stepped outside to get to a machinery shop and was blown away at how bright it was outside despite the sun being behind clouds. Yesterday my boss started bashing his noggin against the bulkhead which made me think, "This guy is a helluva lot smarter than I am. If he's at the point of trying to do himself in, maybe I'm at the point where I'm absolutely crazy and no longer capable of rational thought."
But I survived. I'm looking forward to warmer weather when I can get out and start logging two hour rides a day and longer ones on the weekend. But that's with the expectation that either things will calm down at work or I'll start getting people to work more efficiently. Either way, I need to start setting aside an hour each day for lifting weights and running or biking which means I'll be getting home later than usual. As it stands right now, I've been pretty good this week about weightlifting, but I haven't felt up for biking since I'm tired by the time I get home. I use my Scattante inside on an Ascent fluid trainer, but it's not the same as being out on the road.
Sometimes I wish people would just do their job. But I suppose my job is to make sure that people are doing their jobs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This is a new year and I'm working on creating a new me. My new year's resolutions so far are:
  1. Learn to fly. I tried to teach myself this morning by running across my room and flapping my arms like crazy. I fell down and hurt my back. Perhaps my arms didn't have the right angle of attack. But this just leads me to my next new year's resolution.
  2. Failure. I will not accept failure of any kind. Especially the non-advantageous type of failure.
  3. Scale Mount Everest. I will Scale Mount Everest while singing all the hits of Mel Torme. Without oxygen.
  4. Lectures. I'm seriously concerned about the lack of education in this country. So I'll stand on the street corners and recite free lectures for all the passersby about everything I know. They'll probably be really short.
  5. Art. I'll try to explore the subleties in the textures of concrete and debut in an art gallery somewhere.
  6. Performance Art. I'll scream at the top of my lungs for an hour while people pay me to do it. And they say there's no money in art!
  7. Advocate for Human Rights. But secretly I'll be spying on them for the Human Lefts.
  8. Brawling. I'll attempt to fight my way out of a wet paper bag this year.
  9. Pi. I'll learn all the digits of Pi out to a thousand places so I can recite it when I go to parties. I also plan on going home alone and crying into my pillow.
  10. Music. I plan on writing a symphony for a 300 piece orchestra. The only musical instruments will be pots, pans, forks, spoons, and blenders.

And there you have it. Look out world, here's the new me coming through!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Tonight for supper I successfully made something that smells like kimchi and looks like brown snot.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Upon my return from vacation, all my fellow coworkers and I will attempt in the most manliest contest known to mainly manly men. Say that three times fast. The contest? To grow the best (and worst) mustache within regs known to mankind. The rewards for undertaking such a task? Immeasurable. I'm secretly hoping that I'll grow a mustache so manly that when I shake other people's hands, they'll collapse to the deck and yell, "Sir! Your mustache is so manly that it makes me cower in shame!" The reason for undertaking such a task? I'll have to turn to a quote by Sir Edmund Hillary (who had a decidedly bushy mustache), "It is not the [mustache] we conquer but ourselves."
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