Thursday, October 23, 2014

My little Kingdom

Start to realize why I have been welling to spend enormous hours in School of ITCD, soon to be know as School of Computing and Design.  It is my little Kingdom. Small, it is just a little building, with 35 employee and 600 students.  I built it, expanded its territory, got rid of the old regime when I was still just young man.  Hired a cadre of strong generals, Dr. N, Dr. S and General C.  I have a set of loyal and capable court support, chief of staff A, weapon chief K.

Although there are often disgruntles, most people benefited from my realm, each general got their growing territory to handle.  Each one has something to be unhappy with me, as any monarch.  I report to no one directly, but like any leaders, I have answer to the nebulous "people". As long as we are growing and the industry is supporting the people "our graduates", everyone respects me and follow my decisions.  Occasionally they speak badly behind my back when I can't provide them more resource, but they at least showing support most of the time in public.

But the old King is now getting frail and older. In a few years, I need to step down and let a new ruler move the kingdom forward and continue to take care of the people :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

East Coast College Tour 2014 - draft

A LONG-PLANNED MEANINGFUL TRIP

Brought the JJ and DD to a long awaited college tour of the east coast.

We started in the current US capital, DC, trekked back the country's political and educational journey. Going north and back in Time, we visited DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

The university we've toured, Georgetown, Princeton, Yale, MIT an Harvard.
During the last day, we walk the freedom trail, It was a glorious sunny day, the 300 years of history was passing through under our feet in merely 5 hours.

It is not only a trip for the them to know the universities of the east coast and, to inspired them to work hard, to have a passion to be different, and to be a leader.  It is also for me to enjoy the time with the fast growing DD and JJ.

JJ has matured to be an intelligent, hard-working, focused and beautiful young woman.  With her intelligence and passion, she will  go far.  She needs to development a sense of service, not everything is about her own benefits.  It would  be difficult concept for her to learn.

DD is growing up to be more caring.  He is for sure smart, but spending most of his open time on games reduces his exposure to common senses, which worries me tremendous. His lack of interest in almost anything other than video game troubles me tremendous.   Hopefully trips like this will open his mind and inspire him to do more. 

HUNG’S PLACE AND DC

We met Hung Hung's place on Sunday morning, whom I love to see more.   Her lovely family is also growing up, mirroring the age of JJ and DD, we also face the same challenges. 

With a surprisingly nice rental Toyota sienna as our transportation for next 7 days, we started a red eye flight from SFO to BWI.

We tour the Georgetown University and Capital with Hung's family.  All of us were in awe with the grander of the capital.  The country had a big and noble dream, and from the early stage, it worked hard to achieve those dreams. “Out of Many - One” That should the motto of any group.  Even the school of computing and design which I lead.

The Georgetown was no ton the main menu but since it is close to Hung’s place, Hung booked it for us. We were pleasantly surprised how well organized the info session and the tour is.  Georgetown put together a good show, the information session is in it best, well appointed auditorium, with more than 2 hundred participants, it was well organized and presented.  The tour guides, a pair of boy and girl, were passionate and well rehearsed. 

Other than the history and building, the tour guide is the only channel for presenting the university.  Very important, I should make sure our tour guide is well trained.

The status of Sun Yat-Sen in the international building startled me, he is the one that I admire and try to model from and went to the Sun Yat-Sen University to learn how to serve the people and the country of China.  It is still just a dream, fading but not dead yet.

Georgetown is also where Song Chu-Yu, prominent politician in Taiwan and a distance family friend receive his doctorate.  The location is wonderful, across the Potomac river from DC, where many US president gave speech regulars.  Bill Clinton was a undergrads before going to Yale Law.

A strong service and Jesuit tradition is both the strength and weakness of the campus.  Every students are required to take several religious class, even thought the guides downplay it, it is still a requirement.  JJ is very interested in Georgetown, it is a great school, but not sure it worth the efforts and money, compared to the bests of UCs.

SHORT MEAL, WALK AND HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

Philly played an important yet short role in the country’s history and our trip.  And B Franklin has been a name often mentioned in our book reading so it provide additional meanings. We stay downtown, tried to be close to independent square.  The night we arrive we search for the best Philly cheese steak sandwich.  It is a working men’s town., we drove thru some dark and “sketchy”, accruing to DD and JJ.  The lady run the street side shop was clearly tired and had no desire to serve.  The sandwich is mediocre, a bit over priced.  Not a meal or a trip that we will treasure.

We took the early morning walk to the in dependent square, let DD, Captain “Too Sharp”, lead the way, help us thru the two hours of navigating the downtown Philly street. The museum is fine but not remarkable, maybe we had too little time for a proper tour.  Visiting the east coast and Philly again in a snowy winter might be interesting

ISOLATED STUDIOUS PRINCETON

Princeton is in a picturistic little town where DD enjoyed a lot, Maybe because the tour guide is an Engineering major.  He did a OK job showing us around campus, but compared to the well trained Georgetown, he is clearly not prepared for the tour guide and for a public speaker.  But the campus and outstanding curriculum make the tour enjoyable. and memorable.  

We met JJ's outstanding English teacher Grumman at the gate of the campus, who brought her daughter to the campus, what a nice surprise!

EXPENSIVE HIGHWAY

While I remember and expect there are often tolls on the east coast, we are still surprised how often we have to pay for highways and bridges, $13 for entering NYC, ouch!  The GPS was a wonderful invention, without it, it would be almost impossible to navigate the narrow streets of east coast cities.  But it often can't be trusted, so I turn the GPS and my phone's GPS on at the same time, they behave like a pair of arguing spouse and I had to be the judge every other turn.  It worked but was dizzying.

NYC Experience

Finding the vacation home at Hamilton Heights of Manhattan was a challenge, but we managed it well with the GPS.  Finding parking for two days near was a nightmare.  I drove the big van around the block for over an hour, finally had to double park on a long street and wait for another people to leave.  I was about to give up and drove 3 miles to a garage, pay $50 a day and take a taxi back, someone on the end of 142 street just stroll slowly and drove his SUV away.  Perfect!

I found the vacation home on AirBnB, very useful site.  Compared to the $400 price tag of a typical business hotel in downtown, this vacation home is spacious, with free internet, kitchen and half price.  Even the parking was an issue, I was rather satisfied.

We walked for miles on the

- Les Miserables
- 911 memorial
- Kefi restaurant
- Meeting Mike at "Good to Eat"
- Taxi and subway
- Downtown and uptown 

YALE

- JJ's friend
- Pizza and beer
- building
- student housing

BOSTON Experience

- Plain hotel
- Looking for beer
- Freedom trail

MIT

- Music minor/concentration
- Hacker

Harvard

- Extra curricula activities

Reflection on elite colleges

- Financial package and quarter million price-tag
- True value
- Best of the mediocre vs Mediocre of the Best?
- East and West
- Enlightened poor vs uninspired affluent
- The productive nigh at airport


Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that. ...