a string to connect pieces of my life

Saturday, May 31, 2008

two movies

Jinli and I went to see "sex and the city" last night. That showroom must be the most women-concentrated place in Ann Arbor at that moment. There were a couple of guys there, who I assumed was either forced by his girlfriend (definitely not wife) or had questionable sex orientation.

The movie itself was fine, if you are not against the show. It lived up to my expectation. I only had one objection against the plot, but I won't spoil it here.

Here is something funny. During the movie the power was down due to the T-storm outside. Then they used the backup power. Since the show we were watching was a digital version, the projectionist needed to find where the movie was stopped. Apparently he or she wasn't paying attention to whatsoever was playing, so he or she just kept going and going. Several scenes beyond what we had seen were shown, but I covered my eyes so that my viewing experience wouldn't be spoiled. At last the audience had to shout "NO, NO!!!", "back!", "more!" and "STOP!!!" to get us to the right place.

After the movie, the weather was terrible. So Jinli decided to crash at my place. Upon my insistence, we watched "superbad" because I had to return the dvd to the library today. It was hilarious, especially the beginning. Those guys are genius. But if you don't find dirty jokes funny, don't bother watching it. :D

Sidenote: We stopped by Red Robin for dinner before the show. How I love their A.1 peppercorn burger! It was so so so good. Thanks Brian for introducing it to me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the Mississippi River cruise (Lock and Dam No.1, St Anthony Falls, & the collapsed bridge)

At first we wanted to cruise around Lake Minnetonka. It turned out that there is no public cruise service on those lakes. So we changed our plan and took a cruise on Mississippi River starting from the Boom Island.
our boat---Minneapolis Queen
A few minutes after our boat sailed off upstream, an old lady tripped over the door barrier. I don't know how serious her injury was, but we had to return to the harbor and waited until the ambulance came to pick her up. Then the boat headed downstream to visit the Lock and Dam No. 1, where the original St Anthony Falls was. St Anthony Falls was the was "the only natural major waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River" (Wikipedia).
one of the major dams making up St Anthony Falls as part of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Navigation Project. This dam is also called Ford Dam since it is owned by Ford Motor Company.

Our boat entered the navigation channel. Before these locks and dams were built, St Anthony Falls was the upper limit of navigation on the Mississippi River.

They closed the gate and the water level started to decrease.

The water was drained pretty fast, but we could barely feel anything.

On the other side of the channel, there is this gate.

It can be opened after the water level is lower than its edges.

After it is fully opened, the ships can go further downstream. The whole process was reversed afterwards for our boat to go back to the harbor. It was quite impressive.

Downstream of the Lock & Dam No. 1 we could see the part of I-35W bridge which collapsed On August 2, 2007. To assist the rescue, the water level of Mississippi was lowered by 2 feet dy adjusting those locks and dams. (The I-35 was actually the highway we had to take most of the time during our trip there. )

Here is an aerial view of the Lock & Dam No. 1 from Wiki so that you can have a better idea.

Monday, May 26, 2008

another 1,500 miles

If you read the news (, you would probably agree with me that I didn't choose the best time to travel to Iowa and Minnesota.

Although the weather was fine during my trips to and back from Iowa, our ride from Minnesota to Iowa yesterday was an adventure. The tornado was always ahead of us, which was much better than it running after us, I guess. We had to make stops constantly to avoid catching up with it since it was moving slower than our speed.

It got pretty scary when the dark cloud was right on top of us, I felt the strong wind pushing my car, and hails of 1~2 cm diameters started to strike from the sky. There was nowhere to hide, since it was in Iowa. You know, they only have farms and farms on both sides of the highway. I decided to pull over the car anyway. There happened to be a house by the highway. So I drove into their front yard and hid the car under their trees. Luckily no one came out to shoot us. We waited 15 minutes for the hails to pass that area.

Other than that, we did quite a bit fun stuff. Had a lot of food. Walked by a few lakes. Shopped at Mall of America. Took a cruise on Mississippi River. Watched "Indiana Jones".

the cute service building in the rest area near the border between Iowa and Minnesota

one snapshot of St Paul

one of the lakes in Minneapolis

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 19-21: 3 days of national mourning

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- "China has announced three days of national mourning as the death toll from last week's devastating earthquake mounted ..."

国务院公告  为表达全国各族人民对四川汶川大地震遇难同胞的深切哀悼,国务院决定,2008年5月19日至21日为全国哀悼日。在此期间,全国和各驻外机构下半旗志哀,停止公共娱乐活动,外交部和我国驻外使领馆设立吊唁簿。5月19日14时28分起,全国人民默哀3分钟,届时汽车、火车、舰船鸣笛,防空警报鸣响。

May they rest in peace.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

NPR's report:Dujiangyan Parents' Search for Child

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Many people used "hell" to describe what it is like now in the areas that have been affected the most by the earthquake. My words are too powerless to describe the heart-breaking scenes I saw from the pictures and reports.

On the other hand, it is uplifting to see the prompt reaction from our government and our people. Although there are some negative voices, the majority has decided to focus on one thing only: offer their help.

Where there is love, there is hope. God bless China.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008


It was proved to me again that I need alone time to restore my spirit.

Yesterday I barely had any time for myself. It was fine. But this morning I woke up with a crappy crappy mood. A friend called me around noon. I was so annoyed by what she said, although it had nothing to do with her really.

Then I stayed at home for the entire day, cooked a little, and took a nap. Now everything looks better.

1. I am still anti-social;
2. There is nothing wrong with it;
3. Know my limit and recharge promptly.

Friday, May 09, 2008


It is probably because I wasted a lot of time yesterday.

Maybe I won't be a happy housewife because I do need a sense of accomplishment from my job.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

eat, pray, love

I finished reading this book. It is very enjoyable. Very personal and funny. It is like reading a friend's blog. I can relate to many thoughts of hers.

I loved the first two parts, where she traveled in Italy and India. She talked about food and seeked God with passion. However, the ending is sort of weak, in my opinion.

It is interesting that although this book was praised for its spirituality, Jesus was never in the picture. How can we fully reconcile with God if we don't acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus?

Btw, I am currently reading "the diving bell and the butterfly".

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

why it is time for me to quit doughnuts

(1) I have been gaining weight;
(2) The cashier at Ugo started to call me "the doughnut lady".

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's my blog. I do what I want.

The microscope I will be spending a lot of time with. It is pretty, isn't it? I can't remember when was the last time I used one of them. I was probably in high school.

Our not-so-pretty-but-effective circuits for the pressure sensor and the pinch valves. Our professor doesn't like to spend money on equipments, so Ying and I have to come up with all kinds of ideas to make stuff work with the minimum expenses. She is very good at it, and I am catching up.

The microchannel. I finally figured out how to properly use my camera. I had been complaining about its incapability to take pictures of small objects, but it turned out I was wrong! (can you believe that?) See how clear this picture is! Please note that the distance between the two lines (or the channel width) is only 0.2 mm.

a little down

Life is fully of responsibilities. I really don't wanna deal with any of them.