Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cats are GREAT!

Getting a toy and playing with it in my bed is one of their favorite ways to wake me up. It's not very fun (although I prefer it to getting my nose tickled by whiskers). So, instead of getting pounced on I decided to play fetch with them until I was ready and get out of bed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Panzanella

Photo on 10-13-11 at 11.04 PM

If I could define this past summer with one recipe it would be the recipe for panzanella. So many things happened the summer of 2011, but what I'll remember is that the summer of 2011 is the summer I learned to make panzanella. And where has it been the previous 21 summers?

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Well, the answer isn't so dramatic. It has been in my life in one form or another. In fact, I attribute my love for mayonnaise to a very similar combination of tomatoes and cucumbers. And there is nothing wrong with the mayo version of this salad. It's just that I'm kind of ashamed of my love for mayo. It seems that it has fallen out of fashion. Aside from deviled eggs (which also seem to be "nicht nicht"), nobody cooks with mayo anymore. I remember seeing a recipe for a chocolate cake with mayo in the list of ingredients. I am too much of a chicken to make it.

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This salad is awesome because it's tasty! (Even Young Weezy wanted to get a taste. Silly Tigger, vegetables are not for cats.) And it takes no time to make. I know it's the middle of October, but Los Angeles has been really hot the past few days. I have no AC. When I get home I can't bring myself to turn on the stove. So, panzanella it is. You do have to turn on the oven to make the croutons, but I usually make a big batch in the evening after it has cooled down.

It's so simple, it seems silly to type out the recipe.

4 cups of tomatoes
2 cups of cucumber
1 small onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 pound bread
1/4 cup basil
salt and pepper

Chop it up, toast the bread, toss it all together.


No one is probably going to make this, but just in case here is a word of advice - if you're the only one eating, don't mix all the bread in at once. I keep the bread separate until about 15 minutes before I am planning on digging in. It does need to soak for a little bit, but no longer than 30 minutes, really. For the love of kittens, don't leave the bread in the salad overnight.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

An Addition to the Family

Meow, meow! I adopted 2 cats from Kitten Rescue!


(from the left: Moosya, Tigger)

Meet Moosya and Tigger. They are both girls. I know, I know. It's confusing I named a girl a boy name. My rationale is that they're really "it"s. They've been neutered. I often say "he" when referring to Tigger. If Tigger could talk, I think she would forgive me.

I love these cats. I've always wanted to have a cat and always knew I would get one when I got my own apartment. When I was apartment shopping I was definitely keeping cats in mind. My requirements were: gas stove, no tiled counters in the kitchen, window in the bathroom and kitchen and vaulted ceilings and big windows for the cats. Apartment shopping was a pain in the ass, but I'm really glad I didn't settle and found this perfect one. It was the LAST one I looked at and it met all of my requirements. How lucky is that? (You might say "meh", but you'd be surprised how difficult it is to find an apartment with a gas stove.)

I am just noticing that I keep saying "cats" as if I knew I was getting two cats all along. The truth is I really wanted one cat. But Kitten Rescue really did not want to give me one cat (unless it was an adult that would rather be alone) because I am at work most of the day. I struggled with the decision for a long time, but I had grandiose training plans for the cat and I wanted to be sure she'd be on board. It ended up working out OK and I knew what I was signing up for, but man, it's a lot of work. I love them both and couldn't part with either one at this point, but it would've been a lot easier with just one kitten.

So, anyway, after reading two kitten books and a ton of online materials I ventured out to look at cats at an adoption event. I originally thought I was going to get tuxedo kitties and I probably would have if they weren't so sleepy that day. I picked these two sisters because they were trying to catch a fly in their cage, and that's just the kind of playfulness I was looking for.



The next week was the WORST! I had to WAIT. After 10+ years of wanting a cat I had to wait one more week?! They're crazy. I kept myself busy by doing various home improvement and getting cat accoutrement. I wanted to put up shelves for them to play on (I read that they like to have a vantage point), JT helped me put them up. They really love the shelves. They can get a running start from the kitchen, hop on the couch, first shelf, second shelf and then the top one. I'd like to put carpet up there for traction. I keep thinking they are going to slide right off when they're going so fast.


I have a lot more to say about cats, but I think this is enough for today. I'll leave you with this adorable picture.

Aren't they cute?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Triumphant Return to Blogging

Hey, there! It has been a while. I'm not good with apologies, so if it's alright with you I'll just skip it. Anyway, HEY! How is it going? Is anyone still reading this? What's new?

Well, a lot is new on my end. Let's start with the obvious.

1) I got a job. I've been working at Final Draft, Inc. for almost 4 months now! I love, love, love, love, love it here. I am on the iOS team (I get to develop on iPad app). I still can't really figure out how I landed such an awesome job. I have the best team. They are supportive, they are fun, and we get shit done. I work with these oafs.
(from the left: HB, J-Money, SB, yours truly)
I don't really know what else to say about it other than how much I love it. I am learning so much here, and couldn't possibly have a better team to work with.

2) I am renting my own apartment in Thousand Oaks. That was a weird change.
What I love:
- I can play music when I'm cooking
- not closing doors
- fridge/freezer space!
- control over lights (not worrying about waking people up)
- my yellow kitchen
What I hate:
- rent is expensive
- can't share food!
- can't cook for anyone (and my favorite pancake recipe makes pancakes for 2)
- lonely :-(

I'll post a picture of the kitchen soon! Stay tuned for the biggest news of all news.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I've Graduated!

I can't believe how much I've let this blog go. I blame the convenience of putting food pictures on Facebook using iPhoto. So, 450+ food pictures (that I didn't put up on this blog) later, I've graduated!

Walking the walk smile!
turning the tassels

It was a very, very exciting morning, one of those mornings you wish you could put in a glass jar to remember the feeling. Vova, A, JT and I got only about 2 hours of sleep the night before. I slept soundly with A in her ivory tower until she nudged me awake at 7:17 am. This was a graduation just for the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. That's why we all have orange tassels. I got to sit next to one of my best friends from high school, Michael S. And one of the coolest people I met at UCLA, David W, sat behind me.

V-Rock and I!AK and I! Best roommate evaaaa

I am so happy these guys came. It meant so much to me. I kept turning around and waving. Magali was also there, but she left soon after the ceremony. (I think she got even less sleep than we did.) I was really sad my parents couldn't make it to my graduation, but I got to call and talk to them while I was sitting down waiting for my turn to walk.

JT and I hand in the fountain

JT and his family were there! We walked around campus and took a few pictures after the ceremony. I did the traditional dip of the hand into the inverted fountain.

I've been in the midst of moving, job hunting, apartment hunting the past couple of weeks, so it still hasn't really sunken in that I'm done with school. I just wanted to thank everyone who came (and mama, papa, and babulya who were there with me in spirit) and cheered for me. It was the best graduation present ever, and I really, really mean it. I love you all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I can't believe I am watching it.


Also, Prince Harry is far more attractive than William. William looks like such a dweeb in comparison.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

I made strawberry shortcake today! This is A eating it.

It was really good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On Interviewing

It is done. Just like that the trip that I was so worried about is over. I am on the plane back to Los Angeles.

Allow me to give you a condensed version of my trip. It was a lot of stress followed by a lot of sleep followed by more stress and sleep. I'll elaborate.

I got to Austin the night before my interview. SmartBear offered to pay for a hotel but I chose to stay with my good friend, N. (N is probably the oldest friend of mine who I still keep in touch with. He knew my brother and I before we even moved to the US.) As a result of the 2 hour time change and excitement of seeing my friend we ended up staying up until 2 am. I was so nervous after i had gotten up, taken a shower and gotten dressed. Suddenly I was sitting in a half dark room all dressed up reviewing my answers to questions regarding each of my projects on the resume -- it became real. I swear, if given a choice of eating a turd straight out of the toilet bowl or proceeding with the interview i would have looked into the first less painful option.

They asked me to come in to the office at 10 but N needed to be at work earlier so I figured I would just get dropped off and wait around for an hour or so. MISTAKE! They took that opportunity to grill me for an additional hour. The first person I met at the office was Will - the guy who interviewed me on the phone. So I felt a little more relaxed. We talked for an hour mainly about the classes I've taken, projects, things I like and not like about CS and such. He explained that we are waiting for Cody to do the technical part of the interview. By the end of the hour I had gotten pretty comfortable. That feeling completely disappeared as soon as Cody walked in. My heart sunk into my stomach and I was ready to run far, far away from Texas.

I stayed though (cause I am tough like that). Cody was a total softy. The actual coding questions weren't all that hard. I was really scared i would get a binary tree question because i am not that great at those. It took me a little while to reverse the linked list but I got it in the end. I had one mistake. The way I implemented it, the while loop condition needed to be head != null but I had it as head.next != null. Oh well. The questions following the actual coding part were a lot more tricky. But I did well, or so they said. They actually prefaced one of the questions with "we've never heard of anyone getting the answer to this before but think about this...". I had an idea and started answering and Cody pointed out a glitch with my method and was like "but you are dangerously close, I got scared for a second". That made me feel good but in all honesty, readers, when they told me the answer I wasn't close at all.

I had an interview with another pair of people (Eric and Tiffany) right after that. That was a little more relaxed. But I feel like I was so drained and relieved that I didn't appear to be enthusiastic. From what I gathered the whole team at the office is 10-13 people. They are all engineers so it would really kind of cool to be a part of such a tight knit group. Tiffany is from Alabama and she was the only one out of the bunch who had an accent. She was absolutely adorable. (Left = "layft", talked about going to the rodeo. You get the idea.)

After that we went out to lunch - the whole team + the manager. Where did we go? None other than a texan BBQ joint. Daggum. That was so much fun. A lot of laughing, good food, southern accent and humor. The manager wanted to drive me back to the office and he told me that the team was pretty impressed with me. I wanted to squeal, get out of the car and run circles around the guy in celebration. He drove me back to N's place where I changed and slept blissfully until N came home several hours later.

The next day I had my phone interview with Google. That didn't go as well but it still wasn't the utter failure that I was preparing myself for.

I am happy to be done (at least for now). I still need to apply to more places. This was a good first experience but hopefully not the last. It's not so scary! Oh, who am I kidding? Interviewing for a software developer position totally is the scariest and the most stressful thing I've done since performing. Hopefully I'll be able to wind down and relax before I start my last quarter at UCLA.

Bye-bye, Texas!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trying to Become a Smart Bear

I'm leaving for Austin, TX in a few hours. Tomorrow is my interview with SmartBear. I'm super nervous or excited -- can't tell.

My suit still fits though.

Friday, March 18, 2011

DIY Tile Coasters

I've been wanting to make these for a while now. I saw somewhere on the internetz a lady made coasters with classic Winnie The Pooh on them. I really liked them and I tried to find her blog to no avail. I made these silly ones instead. There are a million step-by-step instructions out there, and here is another one!

Supplies:
Tiles
Elmer's glue (not washable kind)
Sponge brush
Paper
Polyurethane spray (I used the glossy kind)
Roll of adhesive cork board (optional)
A little patience

1. Wash and dry tiles. Cut the paper to the right size and shape. Water down the glue to somewhere between heavy whipping cream and milk consistency. Apply the glue-water to the tile.
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2. Put the paper on top of the glue and apply more water-glue. Wait for it to almost dry and then apply another coat. I think I did 5 coats, but that may have been excessive.
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3. Admire your soon-to-be coasters.
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4. After the last coat of glue-water has dried completely spray polyurethane on them. I did 4-5 coats of this also. The tiles will be sticky (and your room will be stinky) even after several hours. I was really worried, but the stickiness went away after about a day.
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5. Cut squares out of the adhesive cork board and stick them to the backs of these beauties.


I adore these. I saved one for myself and gave away the rest as presents. (Mine is the green cat one.) I've had it since December. I put 3 cups of hot mugs of tea (sequentially, not at the same time) on my coaster daily and it is yet to show any signs of abuse. I wipe it down every once in a while. That's about it.

Here are some links to other people making coasters:
- cute
- cool

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sigh of Relief

I just finished my finals! This winter quarter I took the following:
  • CS 131 - Programming Languages
  • CS 118 - Computer Networks
  • CS M152A - Digital Design Lab
  • EE 115A - Analog Electronic Circuits
I had 2 finals on Saturday and 2 finals today. Each final is 3 hours, and both days they were back-to-back. I hate tests, but I usually do surprisingly well on them. These last two exams were HARD. So glad it's behind me now. I'm glad that the two Professor Eggert classes are over! I might never have to take his class again. He is a wonderful professor. I love his lectures, but his assignments are time consuming.

On a different note, this past weekend I noticed that Jasmine is blooming again! It's all over UCLA neighborhood with it's wonderful scent. I had picked a tiny branch on our street a few days ago with Amber. Today after the finals I ventured back to that spot to pick a larger branch. Ah, it smells so good!

Jasmin

I wish we had one growing on our balcony.

I am officially on spring break! How exciting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Gift

Vova went to Russia for his Winter break. We've always talked about getting grandparents a computer one day. Ever since the iPad came out (and we saw this video of an old woman using one) we thought we might give them one. Over a few months we've decided that a computer would be a better choice because we couldn't video chat on an iPad.

Naturally we went to Apple products. We contemplated getting an iMac, but making Vova and his gf (E) carry that was too much hassle. We decided to get a Mac Mini! After much hassle at the Apple Store (ugh, bank of america) we finally left with a brand new Mac Mini (but without Vova's driving license and my Chex Mix).

Vova and I set it up with Russian language, got them gmail accounts, AIM screen names, Skype names. I installed English Rosetta Stone, put pictures in their iPhoto and configured their Safari to have bookmarks they would enjoy. In Russia Vova got a monitor, keyboard and webcam. It was all ready!

Grandma cleared out a corner to put a little hacked up desk-like structure. And FINALLY, E (Vova's gf who also went to Russia) took this picture. It warms my heart. I love it! Look at them using that trackpad.

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Today the microphone on the camera stopped working. (Actually, I don't know when it stopped working. I just found out that Vova tried Skyping grandpa and Vova couldn't hear him.) We got on iChat and I requested to share his screen. The mic showed up as an "Unknown USB device". I looked online for people having the same problems and they said to go to Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup. That's just what I did and it looked like the mic was muted for some reason. Apparently Logitech webcam does that sometimes. I got it fixed and was able to hear him from then on.

Screen shot 2011-01-20 at 10.36.37 AM

Yaaay! So glad we did this, Vova.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Los Angeles, You Suck (EE, you do too)

It's the middle of January. I recently purchased a space heater. Got my thick comforter and sweaters out for the winter. A and I were planning on making lots of soups, stews and casseroles. I sewed a soft cover for my heating pad. We were all ready for winter.

We used the space heater for 3-4 days the first week of school. It has been like shave-your-legs weather the past couple of weeks. I waited as long as I could, thinking it would go away and cold will settle in. No such luck. I finally gave in, took care of my legs and I was glad I did.

Today I walked to campus wearing shorts and a t-shirt and I was sweating like a pig. Came back and checked the temperature on our outside thermometer. 86.5 F. WHAAAA? In the words of A, "Are you shitting me?"

I hate this! I want to wear sweaters, thick socks and mukluks. I want to make a hearty minestrone soup! I want to wear my peacoat or down jacket to school. I want to cuddle up with my newly covered heating pad. But nope! LA has us turning on fans instead of space heaters in January.

On top of it all I walked to school for NOTHING! I was struggling with my EE 115A homework and wanted to go to office hours. But guess what? My TA didn't show up. Gaaaaah. Just when I thought I couldn't dislike Electrical Engineers more.

Dirty, dirty, dirty dog.