Vincent Cheung

Vincent Cheung's Blog

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Ultimate Skirt Pictures




More pictures

Pictures from Ultimate Skirts. Unfortunately, the photos are quite limited (us skirts forgot to take pictures) and not everyone is in the pictures. Plus, we forgot to get a group picture :(

The best was when Anna, Mike's gf, called him up the day after and was like "So, you were playing frisbee in a hot pink mini-skirt?" Mike was flabbergasted because he hadn't told her yet. I apparently have a reader in Switzerland ;). The thing is that I tend to blog late at night and with the time difference, she read the post before Mike :).

Yes, I've had enough of linking to Mike Perrow and have decided to go with variety. Note that anytime I link to peoples' names multiple times in a post, they are generally to different (compromising) photos :D.

Here's a random picture from Six Flags Marine World last Sunday. It was 40-something degrees (Celsius) outside (HOT) and Brian left his Starbucks Cup in his car. It used be be a grande or whatever is a big size.

Melted Starbucks Cup

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The end.

CAUTION: This is NOT a Hallway

Please do not knock on the glass
it scares the sea monkeys

Friday was my last day.

The picture above is of my cubicle, or should I say, was my cubicle. It used to be a hallway, but about a month and a half ago, I got e-mails saying that I was in the "Vibe Zone" and that they were going to reduce the vibrations in the area. And apparently their solution to reducing the vibration (from people walking in the hallway, which I never felt) was to eliminate the hallway and fit more people in the cubes. So, in the end, I was actually sitting IN the hallway (not on the side taking pictures). People were very confused, as it all happened over one weekend and would stare at my cubicle, often peering over and staring down at me, sometimes being surprised when I was stared back at them when they peered over. That's also a very high traffic area (outside one of the big meeting rooms where there are several talks a day), which made things worse. I decided, upon Mark's suggestion, to make a humorous sign :). I could hear people laugh as they passed.

If you look through the wall in the picture and over a set of cubicles, you can see the billionaires' office.

It was a pretty chill last day. I saw a "talk" by Leslie Jordan, aka, Beverley Leslie from Will & Grace. It was hilarious. Then, I watched Will Wright (the guy who created Sim City and the Sims) talk about and demo his upcoming game, Spore. Ya, there are some cool (and fun) talks at Google.

The whole exit interview thing was anticlimactic. Any questions or comments? No, I wrote them all down on the sheet. Ok. At least I got a sweatshirt and it's nicer than the one I got from MSR.

I hung around for a while afterwards b/c of the social TGIF. When I finally left, I almost forgot to return my badge. I did so, and got escorted to the parking garage (b/c I needed someone to open the door for me). That was that.

Michele just put these pictures up, and I felt nostalgic.

Typical lunch at Google

Adam and I had a hot dinner date and went for some Pho in MV. I then joined Michele, Jenny (and friends), and Jon in SF at an Asian club. Hadn't been to one of those since Toronto. It's still a novel thing to me. They don't have them in Winnipeg. The first time I had seen one was in Calgary I think when Becky, Alvin, Florence, Ching, and I bussed it over there and somehow stumbled into one. I remember being rather shocked as I wasn't aware that there could be so many Asians in Canada.

2002 Flashback: Alvin, Ching, Vince, Florence, and Becky on our Alberta trip

Last night was AsiaSF, where the "waitresses" are "gender illusionists". It was an experience. It was scary in that the waitresses were HOT. If you saw some of them on the street, you would have no idea. They did some shows on the bar. Periodically the lights would dim and one or more would go on the bar and dance, while lip syncing. I'll never forget the look on Jon's face. Huge props to them for being able to run, dance, and jump on massive stilettos. Mike keeps talking about being flashed from one of the waitresses/dancers on the bar and being teased with a pink feather boa. Oddly enough, I found a pink blob of fluff in the passenger seat today :p. I promised Mike that I wouldn't reveal all the details of what happened to spare Anna ;)

AsiaSF's menu

We hit the bar/club downstairs afterwards. Oddly enough, it was livelier at 9:30 when we were down there waiting for our table than at midnight after our meal.

Thanks to everyone that came out!

Oh, so I don't leave until the 10th. So, I'm not sure if these celebrations were "Vince's last day at Google", "Vince isn't working at Google anymore, so he's dead to us and here's his funeral", or "Vince, leave already". Regardless, these next two weeks will be a continous and sad goodbye. By far, what I will miss most from this summer won't be the free food, the beach, or the warm (?) weather, but rather, all the good friends I made.

I'll now answer the question that everyone keeps asking me (What are you going to do until then???). I'm going to relax and do things that I wanted to do here, but didn't get a chance to. Also, Florence (see above) is coming to visit for a week starting Wednesday, so I'll have company in my explorations.

Friday, July 28, 2006

New t-shirt designs

In response to this comment...

Playing ultimate in a skirt

I played ultimate frisbee in a skirt today. It was actually quite liberating. I felt very free. The scary part was that I was quite comfortable in it.

Don't worry, there's a story behind this and it involves a girl, a bet, and beer.

Kendall bet Natalia that she couldn't get a bunch of interns to watch/play frisbee in skirts. Beer was on the line. Well, he underestimated how crazy us interns are and what people will do for beer.

I was not alone. I was joined by Adam (in his smock skirt), Brian (in his tu-tu), Mike Perrow (in the hot pink mini-skirt), and Jason (in a knee-length skirt). Natalia was the only one with a "normal" skirt. I myself had like a longer than knee length skirt, which I tucked into my underwear to make it a mini-skirt so I could run properly. It was hot. I wasn't wearing anything underneath. If you're gonna do something, might as well do it right.

Beer and ultimate was interesting. After my third, I was starting to feel it, esp. on an empty stomach and while doing exercise. I think I might have actually played better because of it :p. I'm not really sure how the bet worked out though b/c both Natalia and Kendall brought beer. So, seemingly, we wore the skirts for no reason, but hey, it was hilarious and good times were had by all.

My calves are like totally screwed up. In yesterday's volleyball game (game 3, 16-16, rally point to 17, no win by two, and we serve into the net...) everytime I jumped, my calves like cramped up afterwards. Same thing today, but to a lesser extent as I was just running, not jumping. It's probably b/c I've been doing a lot of physical activity this week (everyday since Sunday). Rollerblading to work today probably didn't help. A little under 8 km, and I did it in just over 30 min., but I would have been able to do it in about 25 had my feet not started to blister (new rollerblades), as I eased up a lot in the last 1/2 - 1/3 of the commute. Plus my body was just sore (had difficulty bending over b/c my lower back was sore), and rollerblading around the block last night after volleyball probably didn't help things either.

Charlie's was out of food after ultimate. Stupid visiting profs hogging No Name and significantly reducing the amount of available food. We hit up In-N-Out. Not sure if I was just hungry or I hadn't had grease for a while, but it was good. That place is interesting. The menu is very simple, literally just hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, and drinks, but there's like this whole secret menu where you can get like 4 patties and 4 slices of cheese, hamburgers without the bun wrapped in lettuce, and others.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


It's the magic code that causes people to just appear outside my cubicle. With my lead, the interns I started with quickly started using the Google chat in the internal version of Gmail. By quickly, I mean like the first day. I soon somehow became known as the "food god", as coined by Mark, as I was responsible for organizing people to go for lunch and dinner. As I was the one organizing it and my cubicle was in a rather convenient location, I started telling people to meet me at my cubicle or just outside of it so that we gathered everyone up before heading out to one of the cafeterias.

Organizing everyone for lunch and dinner quickly became difficult and time consuming. I would be messaging like 7 different people and then walking to some nearby ones to talk to other interns. It wasn't scalable.

Then came the era of status messages. In Google chat in Gmail, you can put in a custom status message that appears underneath your name. Michele had the idea of putting "L-1-VD" in my status message and that he'd do it too.

Lunch at 1 pm, meet at Vince's desk.

Once displayed, people will just magically appear outside my cubicle at the right time. Sometimes there is a bit of haggling, because of meetings or other things, but it's been found to be quite an effective means of spreading the word about meals and gathering people together.

The code has stuck now for like two and a half months and is used daily. There are several variations, L-12-VD -> Cafe 150, indicating that we will be going off the main campus to Cafe 150 for lunch, or L-12:45-VD -> Seville, to note that we will grab lunch to go and eat at a talk in Seville. There has been some attempts to change the code to make it more efficient, like removing "VD", as it is pretty much redundant since people always meet outside my cube, even when I'm not there :p. However, tradition is hard to break.

People don't really seem to understand this role that I play at Google and how much time it takes and how much negotiating there is.

One time I had as my status message:

"(On the phone) L-??? Adam is in charge, bug him"

I had like 7 chat windows open and there was a period of half an hour where I couldn't do any work.
  -- Adam after I put him in charge of organizing lunch one time

It's not always that bad, but we were going off the main campus for lunch that time (to one of the 4 cafeterias outside the main 3), so more organizing was required.

I like to think that all my peons have a say in when meals are in our GDemocracy, but sometimes a hard stance has to be taken, resulting in me being the GDictator, which I think is a term coined by the dissenting citizen, Mike Perrow. (I am trying to make it so that when you google "Mike Perrow", you get to that picture :))

It's been more difficult recently to organize everyone b/c several people have moved off the main campus across the street to a new building, plus Mark left, a key member of the original crowd. Today was probably the last of the "classic lunches" as this is my last week and people are leaving tomorrow for weddings and conferences. We even got Heidi out one last time.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The universal language of volleyball

When I tell people that I'm going to go play volleyball and they ask "with who" and I say "I donno, I'm just going to play", they give me this funny look. I guess they aren't familiar with drop-in / pick-up / open gym volleyball. It's where a gym is free to anyone that wants to play and people go there and play volleyball. Usually you have to pay a bit to play, like $3 - $7 usually, and then you play for like 2 - 4 hours.

I like going to random open gyms b/c you get to play with a lot of different people and meet new people. It's not however, generally recommended unless you're at a certain skill level. You can generally tell very quickly (like literally 30 seconds) if someone can play or not. There are many different things you have to do in volleyball and none of them are natural. If you haven't been coached before, it's very obvious. Generally, with good pick-up volleyball, there is little tolerance for bad players. If you don't know how to play, you won't get any sets and you'll get shunned. Call them asses, elitists, snobs, or whatever, but volleyball is very much a team sport and one weak link can ruin it for the other 11 players. You have to play at your skill level. Different pick-up volleyball has different skill levels, play at the appropriate level. You don't invite an illiterate person to a literary book club.

The cool thing I realized Sunday when I played at City Beach again, was the universal language of volleyball. I go on the court, I don't say a word, and I just start hitting in the hitting line (toss the ball to the setter, he/she sets, you spike it over the net). With complete strangers. Actions speak louder than words.

Then, when we're actually playing, a random group of 6 people go on the court on each side and people just know how to play. The defence sets up the same as anywhere else I've played, setters set, hitters hit, blockers block. It's pretty amazing. Complete strangers, yet everything flows automatically.

I remember playing with Irina back in Seattle last year at the Pro Club and it was the same with her. Even though she was from Germany, she knew exactly where to go, what to do, and no one had to tell her what to do or where to go, she just did it. Pretty amazing. I would love to just go to a random place, like in Europe, South America, or Asia, go on the court, and just play with complete strangers. There'd probably be a little bit of adjusting in positions, but I bet that even without saying anything, I could just blend in. That'd be awesome.

I went to the Campbell Community Center yesterday. Saw some familiar faces from the Sunnyvale clinic and City Beach (volleyball is a small community). It wasn't so good though. I got bored. There was one exciting moment though. The middle court was playing 2's (I would have played if I had a partner) and then all of a sudden, one of the guys starts yelling and picks up a chair and egging another guy to have a fight. People broke it up and the guy left, but not without a lot of shouting and profanity. I have no idea what instigated this and I have NEVER seen anything even remotely like that before. People generally have quite good sportsmanship in volleyball. This guy was like totally a basketball player converted into a volleyball player from the way he dressed.

No more garbage posts

Ok, I've modified my encrypted blog text code so that it no longer shows the encrypted text until you click the link. It took longer than I expected b/c I wanted to do it in a way that the scrambled text also didn't show up in RSS readers, which generally ignore such things as css style tags, eg. "display: none".

What I ended up doing was just using the encrypted text as an argument into the javascript function and just using innerHTML to display the encrypted text. Then I came across problems with some of the readers and aggregators that didn't like line breaks in the middle of a javascript function call in a hyperlink, so I had to do more hacking. The one last thing that would be nice would be to be able to decrypt multiple blocks simultaneously, eg. I can write about how much I can't stand *** and how much *** annoys me, and then when you decrypt, it fills in the *'s :)

Anyways, it should be working now and now I don't have to be concerned about how much I blog privately b/c the scrambled text doesn't show anymore and my blog doesn't look like crap.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Belated birthday wishes...

Shit, I sent both of you guys e-mails on your birthday, but forgot to post a blog birthday wish! Such a shame since you two are two of my most loyal readers...

So, without further ado,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN AND SARAH!!! There was something about that exact day on Earth, which created two great people.

Sorry again. I'm going to blame the fact that I did 4 blog posts that night and didn't want to overload my readers, but in reality, I just forgot that I was doing birthday wishes on my blog. Consider all that writing birthday gifts :p

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Striving to live without regret

My greatest regret in my life has been inaction, primarily with respect to my interactions with other people. It's a horrible feeling. I'm always left with that "what if?..." feeling. And worse, there is no one to blame but myself.

It stems mostly from my shyness, which I have been doing much better with compared to when I was younger (I am no longer shy around people and have much more confidence in myself). My inaction is also because of my lack of guts, fear of taking chances, "ruining" things, and creating awkward situations. Other times, I just end up somehow justifying the inaction to myself given the circumstances or something like that. This explains why I had such a "late start".

You know, my actions haven't particularly led me where I want to be (and expected to be) in some aspects of my life. So what better time to change than now? I want to live without regret. I just need to take (or ask) what I want. At least then I'll know one way or the other and not be left just wondering.

You need to be-more-assertive

  -- Indian guy from Yellow Fever

And now, my own personal rant (yes, I know you hate it, but it has to be done this way):

Thoughts on friendship and life

After a wild night at Miyake's (sushi restaurant with loud music, cheap, but good sushi, and sake bombs (drop a shot of sake in a glass of beer and chug it while standing on your chair)) with mostly the same group as last week (minus Mark), Natalia and Adam crashed at my place. I even had Adam in my bedroom ;), but on the floor... (serving as our chaperone)

So, Adam prodded about our thoughts on life, friendships, etc. I tend to talk more with the aid of alcohol. Ordinarily, I am either too shy, can't decide on my opinion, or find the words to express my feelings. It got me thinking...

What am I doing with my life? Why do I feel that I'm not as happy as I could be? I am generally happy, laugh, and am thoroughly enjoying my time here, but I feel that something is missing. And it's been building up. I miss being in a relationship. I think more than anything, I miss the companionship. Why doesn't Google search find me the person that I'll spend the rest of my life with? What am I doing on a daily basis to move towards this?

On the topic of friendship, they found it strange that I maintain so many long distance friendships. They don't really maintain any. I maintain contact with friends I met over 18 years ago in Grade 2 (a few), those from Grade 7 (a few), Grade 10 (a bunch), undergrad (a couple), grad school (several), and internships (a few), despite our physical distance. Funny how right as we were talking about it (and looking up something on the Internet), Mimi (from Toronto and soon to be South Korea) and Chris (in Vancouver) were messaging me online and they saw a picture of Jen on my Facebook (in Switzerland working for the WHO for the summer). Probably the most effective way of keeping in touch with people has been mutual following of each others' blogs. I also heavily keep in contact with people through instant messaging (MSN messenger or GTalk, not this AIM shit that all Americans love). E-mail comes in a distant 3rd (pretty much only John b/c he doesn't go online much, well Florence as well but she reads this, but doesn't have her own blog and doesn't use IM much). Phone is pretty much not used for long distance friendships. These methods are used in between face-to-face contact.

Why do I do it? I think keeping friendships is important. I can't honestly say that a lot of them are extremely deep and I depend on them, but I like to at least keep updated on peoples' doings and then catch up more in depth when meeting in person. I guess that's the other thing, while these are long-distance friendships, I know that I will see most of them soon (eg. Winnipeg friends like twice a year, or people back in Toronto in just over a month, etc.). I do keep in touch with some people that I won't see regularly, but it is true that these are harder without the face-to-face contact except the occasional trip.

So where does this leave us after the summer? It's a strange situation. All us interns come from all over the place and after our passionate summer fling where we see each other like every day, we just go back to where we came from. This will never happen again where we will all be in the same place at the same time. It's very sad to think about since I have made some really good friends here. I will be keeping in contact with the friends I have made and do plan on visiting some of them at one point or another and hopefully have some of them visit me. I think about it and if I come back here like in December, or in a year, or in 5 years, I will know very few people here. Only the few full-times that I am friends with are likely to be here along with the "locals" and those interns who decide to come back for full-time, but it will never be the same. On the other hand, I will soon have good friends littered all over the world. I guess it's similar to say, high school, but it's vastly accelerated and pretty much everyone is leaving town after, unlike high school, where many stay (as was the case with myself along with many of my friends).

I guess you just have to make the most of the time that you have. Enjoy every moment. Acknowledge that it's fleeting, but don't let it get you down, which is hard because the notion of permanence is very comforting to me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fear the Interns!

Went to City Beach in Santa Clara Sunday night for 4 hours of pick-up volleyball! I was so done after that. It was ok, but I wasn't happy with the way it was run. The fact that it had 4 courts was actually a bad thing. 3 of the courts were playing 2's and only 1 with 6's. I prefer 6's. Then, the 6's was like 5-1, rather than the more typical 6-2 that is more typical of pick-up. My team was pretty good, we lost our first game, but then dominated after that winning like 3 or 4 times in a row. I played power and was pounding balls pretty good that day. I was pretty sore after that. I'm still sore.

So a lot of the good players wer playing 2's, which kinda sucked. The guys were pretty good, but I've played with and against better. The girls on the other hand, I was very impressed. There were like 4 or 5 really, really good girls, like some of the best I've seen. I overheard one of them casually saying that she won the grass tournament last weekend and I would guess that a few of them play for Stanford's team. This one girl was hitting like Rachel Wacholder from the AVP. It's a funny hit. They both like don't turn their bodies much, but get a wicked snap on the ball and drill it down pretty good. It doesn't look like it's going to be hit hard, but it is. She and what looked to be her sister, were both really good and cute. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what their ethnicity was, but you know I'm pretty horrible at figuring that out, with my whole 3/18 on All Look Same.

In the Google sand volleyball tournament, my team, Fear the Interns!, won our second game! It was pretty sad actually: 15-1 and 15-2 (old school sideout scoring). Wasn't really fun at all actually. They couldn't pass worth crap. I think I served like 7 or 8 points in a row in both games (serving floaters and my jump serve was actually working). They like hadn't ever played together before. Last week's game was at least much more exciting. We went to 3 games and we were down a lot in the first, but rallied back to make it close, narrowly won the second once we started screaming when we won the rally, and then blew them out in the tie breaker. We weren't playing all that well and we couldn't serve, which makes it rather difficult to get points with sideout scoring.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Girls of Summer

This is my first encrypted post. I definitely do not want anyone reading this. No you may not have the key. No you may not have a pony. Yes, you can have an axe (Googler inside joke).

Encrypted blog posts

This is the old version. Go here for the newer code.

Key (ordinarily kept secret, but shown here for the demos):


Demo 1: Encrypted text shown

Decrypt text


Demo 2: Encrypted text hidden

Show encrypted text

Javascript must be enabled for this encryption/decryption demo

I use my blog as literally an online journal to record my activities and thoughts so I can look back at them later. Writing things down can also be therapeutic. As a side benefit, it serves as a form of communication with my friends and randoms (it helped me get my apartment).

The problem is that I have to constantly censor myself as I do not want other people reading some of my more personal thoughts, especially ones about people that read my blog. I want my blog to be public, but I want to also add some private text.

My solution is to use cryptography. I will encrypt text I don't want people to read, this way the text is not available anywhere (not even on the server). The difficulty is in making it easy to do both encryption and decryption and doing so in a secure manner, i.e. do everything locally.

I turned to Javascript, as it is ubiquitous and it would allow me to do client side decryption. I found this site that uses Javascript to do 256-bit AES encryption and decryption. This encryption was more than enough for my purposes.

I then modded the code to do dynamic text with CSS. The result is the little demo at the top. When you enter the key into the prompt box, it decrypts the scrambled text on the fly without reloading the page! Better yet, it's all done locally, so not even the server ever sees the plain text.

Here's how you can use it for your site:
  1. Encrypt your text (be sure to remember the key!)

  2. Download the decryption Javascript code and include it in the header of your blog/site

  3. Use one of the two following code templates to put the encrypted text and decryption link on your page, depending on whether or not you want the encrypted text to show by default.

    • Show the encrypted text on the page along with a link to decrypt it

      <a href="javascript:Decrypt_text('unique_name');">Decrypt text</a>

      <div id="unique_name">Encrypted text from step 1</div>

    • Hide the encrypted text and only show the decryption link

      <a href="javascript:Decrypt_text('unique_name', 'Encrypted text from step 1');">Show encrypted text</a>

      <div id="unique_name"></div>

    Note 1: "unique_name" is the ID of the div (it appears in both lines of code) and ID's, have to be unique. In other words, if you use this code multiple times for multiple blocks of encrypted text, you have to change "unique_name" to "encrypted", "encrypted2", "encrypted_text_about_bob", etc. because the same name cannot be used twice.

The encrypted text is secure as long as you keep the key secret. The key is like a super-ultra secure password. You can use the same key over and over for multiple encryptions (so you don't have to remember/store multiple keys). If you want select people to see the encrypted text, you can give them the key. You may want to use a set of keys, one for super private, one for the gf, one for close friends, etc.

  1. Is this secure?
    • Yes, the encryption used is very secure.

  2. Is there a back door? Can you read my encrypted text?
    • No. No one without the key can read the encrypted text and I don't know how to make a good back door.

  3. Is this going to install bad stuff on my computer or break stuff? Is this adware crap? Is this a virus?
    • No. I don't know how to do that.

  4. I lost the key, can you help me decrypt the text?
    • No. You lose the key and there's pretty much no way to decrypt the text, that is, until we get quantum computers.

  5. Do you have a quantum computer?
    • Yes, but I don't know how to use it.

Disclaimer: Not to be used if encryption is illegal in your country or used for illegal purposes.

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Nerdiest thing I've done here so far

You thought me enjoying the Exploratorium was fun, well, Janna organized a trip to the Computer History Museum... and we were excited!

It was pretty cool seeing all the old, historic computers that I had learnt about in school (so that's what a PDP-8 looks like!). Is it bad that I have some of the stuff in a museum? It was mainly games (Tetris, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, Space Invaders, Sim City), but I had also used some of the personal computers on display.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mark, you will be missed

Mark liked this photo of us at the Palace of Fine Art outside the Exploratorium because we were all doing our own thing.
Janna, Emine, Sean, Vince, Brian, Mike, Adam

Mark's farewell dinner

More Pictures

Mark has left us. It was a very sad moment. The first intern in the group to leave. Mark, this is your personalized blog post. Adam, stop being jealous.

Here are some of Mark's greatest moments (there are many more, I have just forgotten them):
  • "I was so bad at it that I couldn't submit any more of them to it" -- Mark on why he was marching in the gay pride parade

  • "Is that you holding the Google banner?" -- one of Mark's friends upon seeing the gay pride parade photo on Google's intranet homepage

  • Swimming in Google's ball pit

  • "9 cameras can see me right now *looks around nervously*"

  • "Google Orbital Death Ray"

  • "Turkey ramp"

  • Rengstorff the polar bear

  • "Hey, you should write 'Caution: This is not a Hallway'"

  • The asian squat

  • Hornets from hell

  • "One quarter of all Americans are cannibals" -- quoting a well-informed woman on the MUNI

  • "What??!?!?! You have a girlfriend??!?!?!111one1!??" -- all of us 1 week before Mark's departure when Mark announces that his gf is visiting

  • Mark at breakfast for the first time on his second last day

Before he left, we had "Operation Get Mark Trashed", which was a huge success :). We skipped Miyake because Ari was with us and right as we were going to check if our table was ready, a cop was asked to talk to the bouncer b/c he took someone's ID b/c he thought it was fake. In the end, it definitely worked out for the best.

We went to Nola's and got a private room upstairs for dinner and drinks. We got pitchers of Hurricanes and Margaritas. Like 10 of them. There were beads on the table and pitchers. Where there are beads, there is flashing. Except that it was only us guys that were flashing. Flashing eventually led to the removal of clothing. Jon started it and Adam and I followed. I wanted to see the look on the waitress's face when she came back, but we re-clothed before that happened, though it was close. It was a lot of fun being holed up in our own little area b/c we could just go crazy, as evidenced by some of the photos.

After, we hit 7-Eleven for booze and made the 20-30 min. walk to my place, where it was always just 1 or 2 more blocks away. The walk was rather sobering. We just chilled at my place. Mark, Adam, and Jon had the bright idea to attempt a centurian (a shot of beer every minute 100 times) after a substantial amount of pre-drinking. Mark and Brian shared a fine $8 bottle of wine. I slowed it down by only drinking a beer I had stolen from TGIF a while ago.

Adam got sick and defiled my toilet after 16. Mike and Jon apparently lasted to about 40. There was A LOT of empty beer cans and bottles after that.

Fortunately Fabiola was driving Jon home and also took Brian, Mike, and Adam, otherwise it would have been rather crowded. Mark and Natalia crashed at my place as originally planned.

In the morning Mark was still feeling it and had an "incident" after showering. Mission accomplished. He left Saturday at like midnight, so Heidi and I spent the day with him going for good dim sum in Milipitas and then just chilling at Heidi's new place and then mine.

This summer was a blast!!! Mark, you will definitely be missed. Lunches and dinners will never be the same. Google won't be the same. If you're in Toronto in the next 2 years or so, be sure to give me a ring or I might just come by Ann Arbor. Keep in touch man.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Good Hunting

We had the "MANDATORY" scavenger hunt today for the Google interns that started in April and May. It was A LOT of fun! I had low expectations going in, but it was a blast!

The teams were semi-randomized and we had to run (literally) around San Francisco solving puzzles. Solving puzzles and going to locations led to more puzzles. The whole thing lasted just over 3 hours I think.

I was very impressed with how well organized the event was run (handled by Shinteki), especially the way we submitted answers (very slick), and the quality of puzzles that we were given. I expected us to just be like given a crappy piece of paper with dumb questions, but these puzzles were actually very cool and fun (yes, I consider puzzles to be cool and fun, well, at least some puzzles) while also being very thought provoking. One of the coolest was the one with the thing with the things on it and you had to do the thing with the thing to see the thing and then write down the thing on the thing to get the location of the next thing and do the thing at that thing with the thing. It was thingin' thingtastic!!!

I'm not allowed to go into the details, though I really want to, because the rest of the interns will be doing the same thing (same puzzles) in a couple weeks.

We had a good contribution from all of our 8 members. While I helped to solve puzzles like everyone else, I think my role of runner, navigator, and slave driver might have been even more significant. I was constantly telling people to run and walk faster and it totally paid off in the end! The strategy in distributing work and working smartly was also very important for our team.

In the end, we got 72 points (out of a possible 100) and came in second behind the first placed team with 74 points, with the average being like 50. If only we had done that thing at the beginning where we had to do that thing at the thing with the thing and also realized the thing for that thing, or did this other thing, we would have won, but at least for me, it didn't matter. I had a lot of fun and would have been happy not winning anything, but hey, the satisfaction of beating like a dozen other teams (to a pulp) was very satisfying :).

We each got a pack of Shinteki branded cards and a Google t-shirt. We missed out on the frisbees awarded to the top team.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Exploratorium. Yes, I get excited about science.

Stickers from the Exploratorium

After arriving home just after 8 am on Sunday, showering, and grabbing a bite to eat, my family came and picked me up to head right back into San Francisco. We hit Twin Peaks and looked over the city through thick fog, Lombard for the "crookedest street" in the world, Chinatown, and then the Golden Gate Bridge in fog.

I then met up with Mark, Emine (his gf), Brian, Janna, Sean, Adam, and Mark at the Exploratorium. I think it has the coolest demos of any science museum I've ever been to. Many of which I had never seen before and I actually learnt things! It wasn't so much a museum as there were no big plaques explaining things, just demos and then little plaques explaining the demo, what is happening, and briefly, why. It was very much a learn by doing thing, which was really cool. It was basically like a warehouse and then just all these stations littered all over the place with few, if any, dividers.

Here are my highlights:
  • Sound by bone conduction
    • THE coolest demo ever! You hear b/c your ear drum, a bone, vibrates. In this demo, you put a straw onto a wooden or metal rod that is vibrating, bite it, plug your ears, and you can listen to music!!!! SO COOL!!!

  • Car differentials
    • I actually learnt something here! I didn't know that that was how the motors in cars worked and it was so important to prevent skidding! Ingenius design. I was quite impressed. It was cool how you could stop one "wheel" and the other would speed up and trying to stop both simultaneously was futile.

  • Sailing
    • I always kinda wondered how boats got the sails to catch the wind to move the boat in arbitrary directions. This demo had a bunch of fans and some little cars with sails. Pretty fun.

  • Rotating discs
    • I must have been here for like 10 min! There was a large rotating disc at the bottom of the display and then all these smaller discs and tubes and you were supposed to get these to stand up and "run around" the large disc on the bottom. Choas. So much fun.

  • Google Maps!
    • Some woman apparently asked Emine why all those people were so excited about the map on a computer screen ;). It had waypoints to various things in the Bay Area. Forget what the website was, but it was a Google Maps mashup.

  • String machine
    • Insanely amusing. It was just a motor that shot rope out. The rope was tied in a loop. You could rotate the direction of the motor and you could get the rope to go straight up. Impossible to describe, but trust me that it was mesmerising. Though on the other hand, I am easily amused.

  • Echo tube
    • Really long tube, awesome echos. When you clapped, the echo back was like a gun shot!

  • Ice and polarization
    • This was a two for one deal! Cold glass and then you spray water over it and you could see the ice crystals form over it. Except, that you couldn't see the ice crystals without the polarizing lens! You could also see it through the reflection off the polished stone wall (think about that for a second ;)).

  • Weird plant
    • There was a bizzare plant where sprouts grew along the edge of the leaves. It was crazy. It looked like the plant had teeth. You could see the roots on the little sprouts. Never seen anything like it before.

  • DNA assembly
    • Not uber-cool or anything, but I had never seen a display like it before. You basically go through the whole transcription and translation process, but with building blocks! There's double stranded DNA and as you turn the crank, it splits the double stranded helix and then you assemble the mRNA and then translate it into the appropriate amino acids.

  • Nano assembly
    • They were assembling a nano transistor with all these plastic tubes and balls (atoms). It is going to be a massive display. I helped build a row. The best was when one of the demonstrators was explaining it to me. She was like, we're building a transistor, which are things in a computer, and they're binary. I was like, ya, I know what a transistor is, just let me build.

  • Usability study
    • I got pulled aside to do like a 10 min. evaluation of an up and coming web site for one of the upcomming exhibits. I didn't even get a massage coupon!

The Tactile Dome deserves it's own section. You had to buy this separately and book time for it. It's a dome like the size of a large bedroom. Inside, it's completely dark and there's stuff all along the walls, floors, and ceilings and you have to go mostly on your hands and knees and feel around.

Everyone was afraid for Adam and what would happen to him when I was in a dark enclosed area with him. We could only go in 1s, 2s, or 3s. People naturally paired up b/c of the 2 couples, leaving Mike, Brian, Adam, and me. In the end, Adam decided to go with me. The man doth protests too much, me thinks. He likes it and he knows that he has WAY more fun with me.

It was a BLAST inside. So much fun. The best part was that the girl controlling entry into the dome (we couldn't all go in at once, only a few groups in at a time) had an intercom to listen to what we were saying, and of course, Adam and I were loud, obnoxious, and rambunctious, allowing our inner 5 year old selves out. We took our sweet time, as the groups of Janna and Sean as well as Brian and Mike passed us. But hey, you gotta enjoy it and touch EVERYTHING.

We only made it half way the second time as they had a brown out and had to evacuate us, though we suspect that they just wanted us out of there. I felt so gross after coming out of that as I had touched SO many surfaces and things. I now have like 6 strange bites on my hands, wrists, and one on my knee. They are round and protrude quite substantially. I'm quite sure that they are not mosquito bites, b/c I don't react to mosquito bites like this (I should know, coming from Winnipeg). I suspect that it was from the dome. Not totally sure though. I've been asking around to see if anyone else has similar bites (family perhaps b/c of hiking, Amy and John perhaps b/c of Sat., and these guys if it was b/c of the dome). The one on the knee is the most perplexing as I had jeans on the whole weekend.

Oh well, if I have some sort of contagious disease, I'm taking all y'all down with me!

Yes, I am a science geek. I don't make any attempt to hide it, but you know, you're using a computer, are on the Internet, and read all the way down to here, so you're a nerd. Go get a life and stop reading blogs.

My backpack

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boy I've been sleeping around a lot

I've slept in a lot of different places this summer. Several of these have had to do with alcohol. That is, because I wasn't in a state capable of driving home.
  1. My room in Amy's place in Palo Alto

  2. Camping at Oceano

  3. Michele's in Mountain View

  4. Hotel by the airport

  5. Mimi's Uncles' in LA

  6. John's in Cupertino

  7. Dylan's in SF

As shocking as it sounds, I still have yet to sleep over at Adam's ;)

Happy Birthday Amy!

Amy's makeshift birthday cake

More Pictures

After spending the day in SF with my family at Muir Woods (big Redwoods), Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, and Union Square, I met up with Amy et al for her semi-surprise birthday bash.

First, we had drinks and appetizers at Dylan's condo in SF. Those were some pretty strong vodka and red bull drinks. Next, we hit Mr. Smith's. Crappy name for a bar/lounge/club, but nice place with a nice crowd.

The highlights at Mr. Smith's included bar dancing by Amy and Amber, Amber's subsequent fall onto her back off the bar, me passed out on the couch for who knows how long (my stomach didn't feel good from the al-key-hol), me waking up and not seeing any familiar faces, random cute girl sitting next to me and talking to me while I try and find my bearings, and me hitting my second wind on the dance floor.

Amy, John, and I head back to Dylan's after, where Amy was bright enough to have left her car keys (not that she was in any form to drive back). Dylan had gone back early with Amber after she fell off the bar and had deadlocked the door. Ringing the doorbell and banging on the door for like 10 min. proved to be futile. Amy, luckily enough was on the permanent guest list and managed to get the key from security. I crashed on the couch, they crashed on the floor. The whole time Dylan and Amber were completely passed out. With the assistance of the sun, we woke up at like 7-something and headed back to Palo Alto.

Got back just in time to shower and then get picked up by my family to head right back into San Francisco :)

Google benefits not so beneficial

Google is infamous for its employee benefits. It seems to me that most benefits are oriented around making it so that employees don't have to go off campus to run errands and allow employees to work late if they so choose, i.e. they don't have to go home to eat or feed the dog. There does however, come a point where these things become too much of a distraction. With all these benefits, you can easily spend the whole day at work not doing work.
  • Food
    • 7 cafeterias, 4 of which are off the main campus, which leads to nice afternoon strolls. Not to mention that it's very tempting to just sit and chill with friends out on the patio all day.

  • T-shirt cabinet
    • There's a "t-shirt cabinet" in one of the buildings. Several times a week, the cabinet is just magically stocked with Google t-shirts. No announcements are made, but the t-shirts are gone within like 10 min. This is a big time killer. People constantly go out of their way to check the cabinet. There is a web cam monitoring it, but it no longer works. Once t-shirts have been spotted, cell phones start ringing, instant messages starting flying, and e-mails are shot off. People can be seen sprinting down hallways through tech talk meetings towards teh cabinet, only to stand in line of like more than 20 people. The biggest problem is that there seems to be a uniform distribution of t-shirts among the sizes, while the demographics of Google employees is far from a uniform distribution. Always what's left is like XXXXXXXXXXL and women's XXXXXXXXXS. How about stocking more "regular" sizes?

  • Events
    • Health benefits fair (it was like Halloween! But with toothbrushes, floss, contact solution, stuffed animals, stress balls, pens, frisbees, popsicles, carabiners, and more), Santa Cruz engineering off-site, free movies in the middle of the day (watched an avanced screening of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" at 11:30 am at the nearby cinema), SF Giants baseball game, Ben & Jerry ice cream socials, and more. These are tons of fun and all, but also means you're not working.

  • Doctor
    • I went to the doctor's office this week to get my second Hepatitis A vaccine shot. She was really, really impressed at how smooth it was. That is, how sharp and smooth the needle was (it came in the box with the vaccine that I brought from Canada). Way to go Canadian pharmaceuticals! She was so impressed that she considered switching brands!

  • Google product launches
    • Google releases new products all the time and "beta testing" them can take a lot of time.

  • Tech talks
    • If you go to all of them, you won't have time to do any work.

  • Internal instant messaging
    • Major distraction at the desk.

  • Interns
    • Wandering around to other peoples' cubicles.

  • Pool
    • Mark and Jon used to play like every day. In the middle of the day.

  • Ball pit
    • Sitting in the ball pit is fun. Sorting the balls in the pit is even more fun!

  • Volleyball
    • Evening games aren't too bad, but the full-timers like to play in the middle of the day, which is retarded b/c you don't want to sit in your cube all sweaty and sandy the rest of the day, so then you shower, so the whole thing lasts like 2 hours.

  • Ultimate frisbee

  • Gym

  • Hanging out in the micro-kitchens (more free drinks and food!)

  • Playing with dogs, which are allowed in buildings

  • Massages (both professional and the massage chairs)

  • Hair cuts on campus in the middle of the work day

Family had way too much fun when they visited me at Google. Show Chinese people free stuff and they go crazy. My Mom said it best that she wish she could just stay there for the rest of the day at the gym and eating free food. You can seriously just go to work and have fun. The challenge now becomes ignoring all of these distractions so that you can actually get some work done.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Adam, you owe me a quarter!

By the most recent estimate, the population of Canada is approximately 33 million.

I told you that there was no way that the population of Canada was over 36 million!

I accept checks and money orders.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The constant host

12 hours after Jill leaves, my family arrives...

On the plus side, I finally get to do all the touristy things. They won't be staying with me like they crammed my one bedroom in Seattle (since I'm sharing my place). That was crazy. There was like no room to walk b/c we put out an air mattress in the middle of the living room. 1 bathroom, 5 people (3 of them girls), no fights!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Adam bought us a bottle of wine to share!
Btw, I'm not smoking, that's a bread stick from the wine tasting :p

More Pictures

Jill visited from Winnipeg and here's what happened. If the quality of the weekend is correlated with how little of that you spend at home, I had a pretty awesome weekend. You can blame Jill for me not blogging sooner.

Saturday (Continued)
  • Jill at SFO
    • Jill's flight was late, but fortunately I had Air Canada's number on my cell and called when I got back into the Bay Area, so then I didn't waste an hour and like $1 / 12 min. at the airport.

  • XINH - A Vietnamese Restaurant for some non-Vietnamese, but good food
    • Managed to assemble a decently sized welcoming dinner for Jill in Mountain View - me, Jill, Adam, Mike, Brian, Natalia, and Amy. Mike really liked the calamari. It was like semi-fusion, modern food. Not really Viet. It was good. We also had hot sake

  • Saint Steven's Irish Pub... with a dance floor and a stripper pole
    • Janna and Sean joined us for a drink after

  • "I have a small penis" -- Sean

  • Ditched Michele #3
    • Going to a lounge in SF after surfing and Jill flying in from Winnipeg with early morning plans the next day was not something we were up for.

  • O Canada...
    • With 4 Canadians (me, Jill, Adam, and Janna), we proudly sang O Canada in a phony Irish pub.

  • Monterey Bay
    • Drove down to Monterey Bay with Jill, Adam, and Mike to check out the aquarium, except that there were an obscene number of people there and there wasn't a single parking spot in the city, so we left. July 4th long weekend wasn't the best time to go.

  • Rockin' out to the all 80's weekend!
    • John Tesh provided great driving music :p

  • Ditched Michele #4
    • Obviously he was in no state to join us.

  • Woo! Carmel...
    • We checked out Carmel, the city that Clint Eastwood apparently was the mayor of some time ago. Nice little city. The grass was really soft at his ranch (not sure if it was his old ranch or even if it was his).

  • That is a big cookie
    • We ate lunch at the Forge in Carmel. The ceiling of the area we were seated was all wine crates. The food was good and Mike had us order calamari again. We got a cookie for dessert. It was AWESOME. It said that it fed 2-4 people. Iron pan, cookie/brownie bottom with ice cream, whipping cream, and powdered surgar on top. Yum!

  • Aquarium take 2
    • Returning to Monterey, I parked in downtown, far from the aquarium and took the free shuttle to the aquarium. The line-up had the whole metal fence thing like an amusement park. The line was quite long, but we only had to wait like 15 min. or something to get inside.

  • Wheeling and dealing
    • Jill found a coupon for $5 off the regular admission. I noticed the student price for $2 off. Jill is not a student and Mike didn't have a student ID. I eventually got us the $7 off, so each ticket was like $15 :)

  • Sea creatures freak me out
    • Giant tuna bigger than me. Scary looking jelly fish. Sharks. Penguins. Sea otters.

  • Stop looking at the accident!
    • The only reason we had trafic going back was b/c people were stopping to look at the accident on the other side of the road. Stupid people. Drive already.

  • Ditched Michele #5
    • He ditched us for a "bbq", we ditched him for our own thing.

  • Superman (1978), pizza, and booze
    • Guy's night in my place. Mike kept singing the Superman song, and I conveniently had the first Superman at my place. Picked up Brian on the way home.

  • 25 wines. There was singing. 'Nuff said.
    • Can you say Napa Valley? I got Adam on my rental as an additional driver and he and Janna drove. We picked up Mark on the way in Oakland. Jon didn't show up.

  • Ditched Michele #6
    • He didn't call.

  • Follow that car!
    • Ok, seriously, when you're lost and don't know where to go, just follow the other cars. Works every time. Trust me on this one, the car in front of us is going exactly where we are going. What do you mean you don't think that the 80 year old couple is going to the club?

  • Detour!
    • Pretty big accident on the road on the way there. Adam attempted to not have the car fully stop throughout the whole thing and did quite remarkably. We eventually took a detour, only getting semi-lost. Fortunately, we were able to follow select cars to get us there.

  • Domaine Carneros
    • 6 wines at the first winery. I was a little concerned about them not washing the grapes. The fact that they stopped pesticide use 5 years ago and ferment the wines for 6-8 years was also very comforting. Mmmm... dust, pesticides, and bugs. This was the only place we went to with sparkling wine (it's not called champagne unless it's from Champagne). I did not like their red wines - tasted too much like oak.

  • Buena Vista
    • 8 more wines! They had bread sticks. I had like 3 packages :). Adam and Jill bought a bottle each. Adam is looking forward to having the wine on a hot date (with me).

  • Magic tricks!
    • Mike the magician began doing magic tricks for us (in the other car) with his lovely assistant, Brian while driving between wineries.

  • Robert Mondavi
    • 10, count 'em, 10 wines! I think the lady liked Adam. She saw that we had 5 people sharing (Mark, Janna, and Sean were holding out), so she was pouring us more than the usual 2 ounces. Plus, she gave us 3 extra samples (reserves that were accidently opened). Jill bought another bottle and Adam got 2.

  • New terminology
    • I learnt many new terms: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, sherry

  • #25
    • Never had so much wine in my life and suitable that in one day, I had one for each of the years of my existence. #25 was had at the restaurant in Napa, where we actually bought a bottle of Chardonnay.

  • "Umm.. I don't think she's old enough to buy you a drink" -- Adam
    • This is Adam's telling of the story. Do not believe his lies. We are waiting for the fireworks in the Napa Country Club. I am lying on the grass looking up in the sky, rather buzzed after 25 wines:
    *I get hit by a volleyball*

    Me: Whoever hit me with that volleyball owes me a drink
    Adam: Umm... I don't think she's old enough to buy you a drink

    *I suddenly become very interested and pop up to see who she is*


    Adam: This guy wants to know how old you guys are
    Them: 15, 16
    Me: Age of consent in Canada is 14
    • One of the girls was pretty cute and she obviously plays for her school team or club - nice form, good ball control.

  • Mark is built of lies

  • Singing!
    • O Canada! Oh, say can you see... Kumbaya my lord... If you're going, to San-Fran-cisco...

    • People just aren't very festive and didn't join in on our singing. It was just me and Adam all the way.

Tuesday (Independence Day)
  • Caltrain!
    • Mark crashed at my place and we met Adam on the Caltrain to San Francisco.

  • SF Zoo
    • Lions and tigers eating large, white rabbits. Yum. Penguins eating fish bigger than their heads. River otters hunting down goldfish with insane efficiency

  • Jon, you need a cell phone (Part 4)
    • Jon lost his phone after like only 2 weeks. The guy who found his phone was asking for a $40 ransom. The guy called Mark to tell him to tell Jon that he was at a picnic, so that's why he couldn't answer him. Then he called me (just going down the list of missed calls), and the conversation went something like this: "Hi Jon's phone captor. You mother f*ckin' b*stard, Jon is a f*ckin' monster and is going to tear you to shreds when he gets his hands on you!" Note: these are not my exact words.

  • Ditched Michele #7
    • He didn't wake up in time to join our SF festivities

  • Golden Gate Bridge
    • Finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge! Mark was happy to walk across and back for his 4th time in 2 months.

  • The Pier
    • Went to a restaurant somewhere on the pier and after 50 phone calls, found Michele and Jenny at Pier 39 in Fisherman's Wharf.

  • Synchronized fireworks
    • The fireworks show was pretty cool. They were lighting them from two places in SF, but the show was identical and synchronized, though we could only see like one and a half of it. Hearts, happy faces, cubes, and a cool one where it was just exploding all over the place repeatedly

  • I am seriously disgusted with the lack of singing after the fireworks!

  • Just don't roll the bus over
    • Crazy amounts of people leaving. Not sure how we got onto a bus that was going right to the Caltrain, but we did and lucky uus b/c it was a long walk and there were insane numbers of people on the street. Managed to catch the 11:00 express train back, which saved us 15 min.

  • Mark, thanks for being our tour guide! Lunch is on me!

  • I guess I eventually had to go back to work

  • Jill came to Google for both lunch and dinner.... shh... don't tell anyone

  • The ball pit has been sorted
    • After dinner, Mark, Jill, and I played a game of pool and then chilled in the ball pit. Mark jokes that I should put all the red balls in one corner, green in another, and blues in another. I start doing it. Mark and Jill give me funny stares and then Mark is like "Shit, that looks like fun!" We proceed to do this for like 15 min. and we get a quite good sorting of the balls :). Too bad we didn't have a camera on us. I'm going to try and take a picture tomorrow morning.


This is the pre-Jill weekend blog entry.

  • Volleyball with the locals
    • Finally went to an open gym volleyball. Went to Wilcox High School in Santa Clara b/c City Beach was closed that week. Quality wasn't great, but I was smacking it pretty good. Cute girls on my team :). Though they looked rather high schoolish. One was there with her brother (who couldn't play) and their parents were watching.

  • Ditched Michele #1
    • I was too tired to go to a club with a Playboy bunny in San Jose, plus surfing the next day.

Saturday (Happy Canada Day!)
  • Went surfing at Cowell's beach in Santa Cruz
    • MUCH easier than Pacifica. You could actually get past the waves, wait for a swell, catch the wave, stand up, and ride it! Much better for learning how to surf, although there were way too many people. I found it quite easy to stand on the boards we got (big styrofoam boards) and it was rather natural to control it (like a snowboard). Water was still frickin' freezing even with a wet suit.

  • O Canada...
    • Since it was Canada Day, Adam and I sang O Canada out in the water while waiting for a wave. It was awesome. We sang the whole song, then caught a sick wave and were standing side-by-side surfing. I went to give him a high five, but he thought that I was trying to push him over, so he pushed me, but he fell over. Later on, Natalia and I were able to surf side-by-side and we accomplished the high-five feat while surfing!

  • Loud crashes and Mike's awesome morning face
    • You'll have to ask Adam about this one. He went to go wake Mike up to come surfing, but Mike was not nearly awake enough.

  • Ditched Michele #2
    • Stupid Michele, Jon, and Jenny stayed up until like 4 and got 3 hours of sleep, so they didn't come surfing. Also, with Jon crashing and burning at Michele's, Mark had no way of getting to Santa Cruz. Went with Natalia, Adam, Brian, Janna, and Erik (who lives in SC). Michele, Jon, and Jenny eventually met up with us, but I had to take off to pick up Jill and Janna wasn't feeling great. Mark almost made it, but he just missed the Caltrain, so the poor SF dweller was stuck in the city.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Places to eat and things to do in Toronto

This is for you Nusraat. I didn't have much time to do this (Jill is here). The most important section (food) is the most elaborate.

Places to eat:
  • Over Easy (amazing breakfasts)

  • Mel's Montreal Deli (good breafast)

  • Richtree Market (used to be called Marche, really, really good food and cool environment, go for dinner)
    (there are several locations, but be careful, some of them are not the full restaurant, the one at BCE, listed here, is really nice)

  • Korean Town (One block west of Bathurst and Bloor). I recommend Seoul Restaurant
    (Not sure if I got the address right or if it's called Seoul Sam Mi, the sign is this big orange sign on the south side of Bloor that says Seoul)

  • Pho Hung (Good Vietnamese)

  • Goldstone Noodle Restaurant (authentic Hong Kong style nooodle house - very good)

  • Nataraj (Good Indian)

  • Greek town

  • Little Italy

  • Sushi (all over the place, but several locations on Bloor between Bathurst and Spadina, some places in uptown have all you can eat sushi!)

  • Caffe Demetre (AMAZING desserts)

  • Greg's Ice Cream (very rich ice cream)

  • Bubble tea
    • Ten Ren Tea
    • Tea Shop 168
    • Bubble Tease (I love the fresh and fruity's, which are like healthy slurpees)

Things to do:
  • CN Tower

  • Canada's Wonderland

  • Science Museum

  • Bata Shoe Museum (Jill liked it)

  • Centre Island

  • University of Toronto (ask Kevin for a tour)

  • ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

  • African Lion Safari (Safari Zoo's are the best - take a rental car ;))

  • Niagara Falls

Places to shop:
  • Eaton Centre

  • Yorkdale

  • Yorkville (posh shopping)

  • Bloor St. between University Ave. and Yonge St. (some flagship and posh stores)

  • Queen St. between University Ave. and Spadina Ave. (Much Music is also there)

  • Square One (in Mississauga)

  • Chinese supermarkets (has good authentic Asian food products in a North American style supermarket! i.e. they're clean, don't smell, and accept credit card)
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