Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup: USA vs. Ghana

The players mark their position on the field with an X. It's a distinctive shadow, four lines radiating out from the footballer in the center. A white dot of a ball bounces around from player to player. Ah, football! I usually don't watch Major League Soccer games as a rule, but the World Cup is a different affair altogether. It's amazing how much more fun this game can be to watch when the players are actually good.

I'm currently watching the USA-Ghana Round of 16 match. I just saw Landon Donovan tie the game with a brilliant penalty kick. And now both teams are in the hunt for the go-ahead goal. Will one team break the tie in regulation? In extra time? Or will we go to penalty kicks?

It's a bit sad that either the US or Ghana must exit the tournament at this stage. USA may be the home team from our perspective in the States, but Ghana, as the lone African team still in the competition, is the tournament's home team. And while I do want to see the US pull out the win, it's unfortunate that it would have to be at the expense of Africa's last chance at winning the tournament.

As I finished writing this, regulation time just ended. We're going to extra time. This should be fun! :)

Update (1:28): Ghana just went ahead 2-1. USA need some magic and good football now.

Update (2:01): Ghana wins. Well played by Ghana. Bad luck for the USA.


Saturday, June 19, 2010


When I woke up this morning, I started singing Disney songs. Initially, it was "A Whole New World" and other Aladdin favorites like "Friend Like Me". Then a bit of "Under the Sea" with a chorus of "Be Our Guest". Here's a bit of my morning in YouTube videos:

Awesome, the Christian in Christian Dior. And damn they don't make 'em like this anymore. Good thing we now have Pixar. I'm looking forward to Toy Story 3 unleashing another wave of nostalgia :)


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Do We Read?

Yet again I found myself awake in the wee hours of the morning, a bit earlier than I had planned. And once again I felt compelled to write. Perhaps this is an indication of when my mind is most unencumbered and free to create.

What was I pondering today? Why do we read? What are the motivating factors? And as I formulated an answer in my half-sleeping mind, I thought that I should write it down.

I read for two reasons. The first, and most obvious one, is to learn about something new. This is the reading as pure information transfer view. When I read, I am, at least ostensibly, interested in what the author has to say. There's usually some nugget of information that I would like to glean from them. I can even classify reading for enjoyment under this branch of reasoning. There the information I collect from my readings has an intrinsic fun value to it.

The second, less obvious reason, is to learn how to write. And this is really one that can help you salvage an otherwise poor reading experience. Because even when the informational content of what I'm reading proves to be a dud, I do still notice how the piece is written. Word choices, turns of phrases, idioms, these are all things that you can really only learn through repeated exposure to them in the written word. A neat little phrasing here, a tight sentence there, like a scavenger, I keep what I like and discard the rest. Indeed, even essays completely lacking in information content and rhetorical devices can still teach you something: how you don't want to write.

If you don't already read to write, I'd encourage you to try it. At the very least, it'll make boring passages slightly more bearable if you have an ulterior motive for reading them. And it may even make you a better writer!


Tuesday, June 08, 2010


What's new since the last time I was at Google? They now have a danceplex! And throughout the week they have tons of classes in a variety of dance styles. Super cool!

Today, I dropped in on a Capoeira class. Capoeira is a type of Brazilian dance form that doubles as a martial art. And let me tell you, it's harder than it looks. Actually, it looks pretty hard already. But from the first day at least, it seems even harder than that :)

I exercise fairly regularly, but I still found Capoeira refreshingly difficult. I showed up in a t-shirt and jeans, which I now realize was a bad idea. Within minutes, I was sweating freely and my shirt and jeans began sticking to me like tape. 

There were some moves that required you to do handstands or cartwheels which were a bit challenging for me. But it was still a pretty enjoyable experience. It really augments my daily exercise routine in new, exciting ways. I think Capoeira could turn into a very useful cross-training program for me. 

And while it's a good workout, Capoeira is still, at its heart, a dance form. There are moves and steps that are coordinated to the beat of music. And all the figures can actually be done with a partner. Just as in other types of dancing like ballroom, your moves mirror your partner's. Some of the moves are even reminiscent of figures from other dance styles. For example, we learned one simple side-to-side two-step that's very much like the basic step in Samba.
I'm excited to learn more about Capoeira and I hope I'll be able to stick with it over the summer.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Year in the Life

Since I didn't blog much over the last year, I thought I'd just share the highlights of what happened:
  • Last fall, I joined MIT's ballroom dance team. Over the past few months, I've had a blast learning 19 new dances ranging from Standard-style dances like Waltz to Latin-style dances like Rumba.
  • I learned how to cook. The first thing I learned how to make was an omelet. Over the past few months, I've actually gotten fairly good at making several breakfast foods like omelets, french toast, and pancakes. And I've also experimented with several types of pastas and stir-frys. But I've only just begun my culinary explorations and hope to try out more dishes soon!
  • I learned how to bike. The last time I had tried to bike, when I was about five years old, I never quite got past the training wheels. What was different this time around? Google has free bikes all around campus :) By now, I'm actually good enough to partially bike to work.
  • I finished all the requirements for Course VI at MIT.  My favorite classes of the year were 6.003/6.011: Signals & Systems and 6.828: Operating Systems.
  • I went to New York City for the first time. Thrice. Once for Ballroom. Once for my Google interview. Once with The Tech. The city is amazing and I'd love to go back there again.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


It seems that I'm always blogging during moments of transition. Start of a semester, let's blog it. End of a school year, let's blog it. Start of a summer job, let's blog it.

My theory -- or at least the one I like to tell myself -- is that I'm too engrossed in the day-to-day act of living at other times to actually bring myself to step back and blog about it. Transitions offer that natural break in the flow of life that encourages reflection and pondering. The rest of life is seemingly relegated to a stream of tweets. (Though, I don't tweet that frequently either.)

Still besides obvious transitions, aren't there any major life events to chronicle? Or does one week just bleed into the next? It often feels like that during the school year. But with the start of another summer, I'm hoping that I'll be able to blog more often and really capture those moments in-between transitions. That's the plan at least. Let's see how it goes :)