Monday, December 26, 2016

KGSP - Multi-Cultural Christmas

So today is Christmas, yay. I really like Christmas. It might honestly be my favorite holiday of the year. Obviously it's not really the same when I'm in Korea, since part of the Christmas experience is being at home with family, eating good food and opening presents and stuff.

Plus there's also the issue with the weather. Having it be a bit colder and have some more snow would be wonderful, but alas, things do not always go according to plan. Despite the amount of work I have, I decided that Christmas weekend was going to be time off for me.

Pictured: Work. The next few weeks are going to suck.

Leading up to the weekend was pretty ok too. Our lab had a lab dinner where we had some non-Korean meat dishes which was pretty good. I also conducted a pilot study for my lab project and finished all of my class work for the semester, so this week was also quite notable.

But the most important part of the week was definitely the weekend. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I went to Seoul to meet up with some friends. After going shopping a bit, I ended up going to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. 

Aww yes. Best vegetables.

Normally in Korea the Chinese restaurants are very disappointing. Mostly because it's not really Chinese food, but kind of a fusion of Korean and Chinese cuisines. But this one restaurant was a giant chain that exists worldwide, so I had some more faith in it.

It wasn't bad. Normally not the same as the stuff you can get at home or in Hong Kong, but it was definately acceptable. I really wanted Choi Sum, which is my favorite vegetable. They had it, but it was so damn expensive. But hey, it was Christmas. Totally worth it.

Decorations in Seoul.

The next day, today, started off pretty well too. This time, I went to a Canadian restaurant. I heard a lot of things about this restaurant before, and finally I decided that Christmas would be the time to go and check it, so I went.

It was pretty nice. The food tasted pretty legit and the atmosphere of the restaurant definitely feels like a place back at home. Having some poutine in Korea was pretty nice. I ended up buying some to go as well because I was heading to a friend's place.

Only thing that was weird was that they were showing football instead of hockey.

Having both legit Chinese and Canadian food in one weekend was honestly super awesome. It's really great cause it satisfied both sides of my cultural identity. I really wish they had this stuff in Daejeon, but unfortunately they do not.

After lunch, I went to my friend's place for their Christmas party. I couldn't stay too long because I had to go back to Daejeon, but I had about five hours of solid fun, food, and holiday cheer. Honestly, being away from the lab and just having fun was a great change.

Started from Daegu and now we'e here.

I gotta head back to the lab tomorrow since I have user studies this week for my lab project. This kinda cut shorts my holiday celebrations especially since Christmas was on the weekend. But hey, it was still really fun. New Years is next week but I don't have any plans yet.

Monday, December 19, 2016

KGSP - The Crunchiness of the Season

Man time is just passing on by isn't it? It's been a while since I've done a Monday post (I think), but yet here I am once again. The last week has kinda been a blur really, my perception of time is really weird now since everything is just kinda fusing together.

It's like how in Final Fantasy VIII they had the whole concept of time compression. I'm still not really sure how that was supposed to work but maybe it feels like this. Time kinda just passes by and there's no real indicator as to where it's going.

I got this package from home sometime last week but it honestly felt longer than that.

It's like time is both really long and really short at the same time. I don't know how to explain it. All I know is that I'm probably spending an unhealthy amount of time in the lab. Days now are pretty much wake up, go to the lab, ??, leave the lab, sleep.

It's actually kinda fascinating because I don't even really remember what I'm doing in the lab. People ask me what I'm working on and I just say I'm working on my lab project. And I am. But I honestly don't remember what I'm actually working on, I'm just droning away.

I also got this package the same day as the other one too.

I end up relying on just looking at my commits to remember what I've done, which is a bit of a weird feeling, especially since things feel like they were done so long ago despite it only being a few days. Honestly this entire thing just doesn't feel right.

But anyways, other than lab stuff, this week was ok. Classes have been wrapping up and so I had a bunch of stuff due. Can't wait for the semester to end, but again, lab work is really the thing that's killing me right now anyways.

At least I'm not ghettoly attaching Arduino buttons to a mouse like this other team in my class.

Outside of school I hung out with some friends over the weekend after lab. It's nice to hang out and be social, but it also takes more energy. That's actually why I'm doing this post today instead of yesterday because I went out last night and was too tired to write a post.

I'm still tired now too actually. I hate crunch.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

KGSP - The Spirit of Christmas

So, we're well in December and you know what that means, Christmas. Honestly, December is probably the worst month for me. I normally really like December because the holiday season is what I live for.

But in Korea, it's a bit different. I'm not at home so I can't spend time with family. It's cold enough that it feels cold, but there's no snow in Korea. And also it's the end of the semester so deadlines are stacked against me so hard.

As stacked against me as the voting to impeach President Park.

So all in all, it's just kind of a miserable time. Obviously I try to make the best out of it, but it's hard when I'm just spending all my time in the lab everyday. I thought I had a lot of work so I was spending a lot of time in the lab.

I was wrong, I have more work than I thought. So I need to spend even more time in the lab working. Which is wonderful you know, pulling like 60 hour weeks in the lab only to find out that you're still behind on all of your work.

Trying to stay festive in the middle of the mess I'm in has me like this.

Not a fun feeling. But who knows. I'm trying to stay optimistic and maybe take some time off in January or February after the conference deadline and just like, have fun. It'll be nice I think. But I haven't had a chance to plan anything yet but that's the goal.

I do have things to look forward to in the immediate future though. For one, I'm expecting some packages. My family back in Canada mailed me some stuff for Christmas, and my friend from Japan forwarded a toy I got shipped to her house.

Gotta try to fit stuff under this tree somehow.

Silver linings right?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

KGSP - Escaping Reality

So normally time just kinda passes and I don't really pay attention to it much. I just keep focusing on the next deadline and next deadline and next thing I know another week has passed, another month has passed, a year has passed.

It's a bit scary in a way, because it just seems like well, time is passing. And what am I really doing with this time? Most of the time the answer is just "more lab work". And this week really doesn't break that mold. However, it was lab work that really hit home that time is passing.

It's also a special week when you have tiramisu pizza.

I had my thesis topic presentation on Tuesday. It's the first of four presentations related to my thesis and honestly in the grand scheme of things it's not really that important. However, the fact that I had to do a presentation on my thesis is already a pretty big milestone.

At the very least it's a sign of things to come I guess. This is really it. The beginning of the end. My thesis represents the culmination of my studies, and the fact that the progress has officially started really does mean my studies here in Korea is coming to an end.

Picture: the end. And no that's not me.

It feels weird. On one hand there's so much work awaiting for me, but on the other, I'm almost done. Hopefully. Regardless, it is a milestone in my studies here so that was interesting. My topic is going to be related to augmented reality, a technology that I personally find pretty cool.

Speaking of cool reality altering things, our lab also got a HTC Vive this week. For those that don't know, a Vive is a virtual reality headset similar to the Oculus Rift. Essentially, it's like a helmet that has two screens, one for each eye, so that you can play games like you're in them.

It also makes you look like a random B movie science fiction character from the 90s.

It wasn't my first time with virtual reality, but I've only ever used the Oculus DK2, which is an older version. This one has a much higher resolution and tracking and so the experience was really cool. Not only that but the Vive comes with two specialized controllers.

The demos I've tried all make great use of the controllers and so you can just kinda play games and experience a completely different world through this device. It's kind of amazing really. Our lab is planning on using it for some projects, but I don't think I'll have a chance to work with it.

But what's more amazing is that these chips exist in our reality.

But that's fine, it's cool that I get to play around with it anyways. Having the chance to just kind of experience something new and have fun was really nice. I miss playing games and having fun.