Piggy in Texas


Piggy was in Texas from the middle of last week ’til Sunday. The main purpose of the trip is a training/crash course for new hires joining the company. All in all, the class was alright, pace was too slow…but the good part is that I got to meet some interesting and different people. And I’m always up for that. By different people I mean that they’re not engineers :P What makes it even more interesting is hearing from these folks outside of engineering arena who had accumulated plenty experience outside. One of them is even a fellow Spartan alumni from Michigan State, woohoo!

View outside of my hotel window.
Meet Buch and Sundance – the beautiful and gigantic Royal Swan inside the hotel!
Austin Downtown
Peet’s piano bar – what a fun place!

So the class ended on Friday in Austin and the same evening I got a rental car and headed to Houston. The minutes about Houston:

  • Due to my ignorance, I was amazed how much bigger Houston is than Austin :P?
  • Their Hong Kong style restaurants were on par w/ the Bay Area. I went to two, only remember one named 金大碗
  • Like LA, I was not very pleased with the traffic there, including the fact that my GPS got confused because of local street running parallel right next to highway.
  • Like LA, things are too spread out…making the traffic problem worse.

Here’s DA space-cow at Houston airport!

Besides Houston, I also hit Galveston, which is where my friend is located. I enjoy the small town feel of Galveston, where seems to have much fresher air and surrounded by nature/water. Due to time constraint, I didn’t get to hit too many spots in Galveston (or Houston) – the fact that I had to drive back to Austin to make my flight on Sunday. I only wish it’s not such a rush so I could take more pictures. Well, next time when I go for vacation.

Pictures taken crusing down Seawall Blvd.
Beautiful builings in downtown Galveston.
Inside Fudruckers

May Zhou’s Suicide – Tragedy at Stanford


Update: A reddit post that includes a comment from a friend of May’s sister that provides more context and perhaps some confirmation to my initial thought, https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/4lshqj/may_zhous_suicide/

Here is a strip of the news of the missing Stanford student:

A body discovered in the trunk of the car in a Santa Rosa Junior College parking lot was identified as that of missing Stanford University student Mengyao `May” Zhou, a Santa Rosa police spokeswoman said late this afternoon.

The spokeswoman said some items found in her vehicle “were consistent with a possible suicide.”

Zhou’s car, a silver Toyota Corolla, was found parked on the campus of Santa Rosa Junior College, the newspaper said.

Notice what was said about her:
Zhou, an accomplished student with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is assertive, happy and confident with her studies at Stanford, said her father. … Zhou was a National Merit Scholar at La Jolla High School and earned perfect SAT scores. She had a straight-A average throughout high school and earned the top score on all of her Advanced Placement tests.

Sad, especially it’s somebody from the same school and the same age as me, and much more accomplished. I got a few words to say… though I have no intent and am not making any judgement. Whether it is suicide, I sense some pain/stress/pressure involved for the girl through out her academics since I was kinda similar, until high school at least… a student always with excellent scores (not perfect like her), with Asian parents. I was certainly not a happy person. I just wonder, yes, we can be driven, she is definitely driven and successful… probably much have to do with the expectation of parents, but how much happiness actually fills the gaps of those time and how much/long can we endure – the constant stress/pressure to be perfect, the constant ever-growing expectation from parents/teachers/friends/peers, and burden that comes in social relations when one seems so perfect, etc…

Hence I became skeptic (again, I’m not judging) when her father says that she’s happy… is she really? Or rather, does he really know that she’s happy or what she feels? Perhaps he thinks she is happy because she is successful in his standard and therefore, she should feel happy. I guess what I want to say is that Asian cultural instinct of high academic requirement in parents has a tendency to cause negligence to the children’s real inner feelings. In other words, they think that, “as long as I teach you so you get a good education/degree, you’ll have a good future, and therefore you will be happy.”

Maybe this is the cause of tragedy…(disclaimer: again I am just hypothetically speaking) that she feels her closest people (parents) cannot understand… no one is reaching her heart… the feeling that she has no one to communicate to and share her sentiments and thoughts in a deeper level… making her very isolated… at least, when I myself realize that the closest people to me don’t really know me nor they care to, it’s pretty painful and I just have to forget about it. It’s the excruciating pain of absolute solitude. If I focus on that pain/feeling of isolation, I may just be angry at everyone and the world constantly. As a side-effect, I will go around causing pain for others, endure it however long possible and eventually, take my own life…

That is, how can we be happy when people automatically assume we are happy, which effectively create a non-understanding, dis-communicating environment around “us.” It’s a suffocating kind of loneliness.

Well, it’s late and I’m just jotting down thoughts w/o trying to organize much. I hope my words make some sense and you get something out of them. Perhaps someone else won’t have to feel what was described after their friends and family read this.

As last words, think about if what you are doing and will do in the future is really worth the sacrifice of happiness, or the happiness of others.

(Photo by Adam Pender)

Simple is Good

I like simplicity, despite its impossibility in life
Although reality is never simple
Although life will not steer away from material
We cannot forget to cherish the simple thingsFor examples… a person, an event, an item, a niche of memory, thought of someone, a smile, or even a small gesture…
There are all kinds, countless…
Without them, we are but meaningless empty shells
They’re the fundamental to us
But they require our attentions, awaresness, consciousness
To discover, to not overlook them
In the moments that continue to fly by…

Original post in Chinese:
兩點半了, 剛看完了愛情魔髮師. 前幾天在KTSF看了一集就全download下來看
劇裡大部分人物都很可愛 (尤其是女主角hehe, 名字好像是曾之喬)
很輕鬆的連續劇, 劇情沒有很複雜, 還有是大團圓結局
比較最近一些其他的連續劇和電影超複雜的故事, 或悲哀的或不好不壞的結局
讓我從現實逃離一下, 適當的調劑
看完了, 啟發了一些感想想寫下

我喜歡簡單, 就算生活裡是不可能的
我們不能望記, 要好好珍惜簡單的東西
譬如說… 一個人, 一間事, 一樣物品, 一點記憶, 一絲思念, 一個微笑, 身邊人一個小動作…
種種種種的…算不清, 數不盡
沒有了, 我們的肉體只是沒意義的空殼
才可以發現, 才可以不忽略

People coming and going

Going back about 2.5 years, I arrived in Bay Area to do my master degree at Stanford. It was then that I landed this small part-time at a local art gallery in Palo Alto. 2.5 years…how quickly time has flown by now that I look back, and everything’s different and changing.

This weekend I found out the girl who’s been working there full-time (started slightly before me) will be leaving the area to return to the mid-west. An indeed nice and cheerful gal I’d say. Although I would not say we’re friends-friends, we’ve always exchanged small fun chit-chats at the gallery. It’s been a good time. Finding out suddenly that she’s going is a bit of a shock and a bit sad.

Prior to this, I did think about how long she will stay or if she’ll move on to another better location/job someday. The art gallery is a nice place, but reality is reality, it cannot be a permanent place for her – a young Stanford alumni also. Hence I’m happy for her departure, venturing into unknown. Brave soul.

Another good note – I will have another tourist guide in Chicago :P

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