The End of Bleach

I don’t blog manga and anime anymore, but here I am giving some quick final thoughts on Bleach, the popular and long-running Shounen Jump manga that ended this week. I’ve followed the Bleach manga since when I was still in college study in the late 2000s, and it’s sad to see the series, which in its heyday contended with Naruto and One Piece for popularity, go out with a whimper in such a half-ass hurried manner. Tite Kubo could always design his characters very well, but it looks like his creativity ran out when it came to the story. The whole Yhwach story arc at the end was pretty bad, as it consisted mostly of throwing out new characters and everybody getting random power-ups which somehow almost always disappointed. The hurried-up ending certainly didn’t help. I think many would agree that Bleach was dragging its feet ever since Aizen’s defeat, and the series probably should have ended at that point. At least the series up to the showdown with Aizen was pretty enjoyable though.

That’s just my two cents.

TJ’s Guide to RPI

It’s been two years since I’ve graduated with my PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. When I graduated with my bachelors from the University of British Columbia, I wrote a little guide to the university just for fun, now I’m finally going to do the same for RPI. I enjoyed my four years as a graduate student. It was a very different experience than my undergrad due to the difference between the schools, between the cities they are located in, and the fact that I was a grad student instead of a naive undergrad. Like my “guide” to UBC, this post has some general info on RPI, but it’s mostly focused on things that I found relevant, interesting or fun during my time there. More information can be found in RPI’s website, Wikipedia, and the other links contained in this post.

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Summer Outings

It’s been about two months since my last outs and abouts post, and in this span of time I managed to go on a few more weekend adventures. No big or extended vacations, but enough fun to add some spice to my otherwise boring life. Pictures and summaries after the break.

Chimney Rock State Park
What a view.

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New Smartphone: LG G4

I recently bought a new smartphone in the form of a LG G4. I decided to get it because my old phone, a LG G3 Vigor, was lagging and running out of storage. I bought the G3 Vigor from my wireless carrier in a rush because the iPhone I had before broke and I needed a working phone. Soon afterwards I regretted the decision because the G3 Vigor had crappy hardware and only 8GB of storage, but I decided to wait until I paid off the phone. Long story short, I finally paid off the G3 Vigor, and decided to get the G4.

LG G4 black leather
LG G4 with the black leather back

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New Theme for 2016

It’s been 4 years since I worked on the look of TJ Online, and it’s about time that this site got a brand new look. This new theme is based on the Sparkling theme, and it has some elements from the two previous WordPress themes I used for this site. For example the header and footer bars contains a graphic from my first WordPress theme, while the heading font is from the second. Another feature of this new theme is that its accent color changes everyday by cycling through a list of different colors. If you visit this site a day later, the accent color will be different. This is an idea that I incorporated from my now defunct anime/manga blog. In my old anime blog, the color changing, which is the loading of supplementary CSS styles, was done by JavaScript, but now I can do the color changing with PHP as I have full control of this website. Right now there are four accent colors in the cycle (red, blue, orange-yellow, and green), but I might add more in the future.

I haven’t done any web design for a while, so making a new theme was a fun exercise to refresh my memory, and I also learned a few things along the way. For example, I learned that my webserver now caches CSS stylesheets for 5 minutes by default. I didn’t know at the start, and this caused a bit of frustration because I would change the style, upload it to the server, but the changes are not reflected when I refresh the page. I eventually figured out how to turn server side caching off for the time that I was working on the theme. I’m mostly done with the design, but I still have to get some good background images to match each of the accent colors. I’m thinking of creating artwork for the background images as a way to get myself back into drawing once again, but that might take a while :lol: . Hope you all will like the new look.

Adventures Here and There

I haven’t posted anything in about two months, and during this time I do a few fun things. Nothing like the big Florida road trip in February, but a few weekend adventures here and there. Here is the round-up with the photo highlights.

Charlotte Hornets vs Washington Wizards
Watching the Hornets take on the Wizards inside TWC Arena

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Florida Road Trip

My parents came down to visit me a little while ago, and as part of their visit we drove down to Florida for a family road trip. It’s the first time that any of us really visited Florida (ignoring that one particular conference trip where I stayed in the Orlando Airport the whole time), and we had a great time. We picked a really good time to go as NC was having a cold spell but Florida was still warm and sunny. Read on for highlights of our little family road trip.

Savannah Forsyth Park
The elegant fountain at Forsyth Park

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Holidays and a New Year

The holiday season has passed, and it’s now 2016. I hope everybody had a happy holidays and a Happy New Year. As for myself, this was the first winter holidays that I didn’t spend with family. I didn’t have much vacation time and had work to do. The last month has been a bit rough too because of some health issues, and hopefully the new year will be a turning point for me to become healthy again. This is not to say that I didn’t do anything during the last month or so. I celebrated the holidays with friends, and I tried to make the most out of my free time to explore. The latter was helped by unseasonably warm December weather, and so here are some photo highlights of my little adventures.

Duke Lemur Center
Seeing two Coquerel’s sifakas hang out during the tour.

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New Dash Camera: Transcend DrivePro 100

Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed us by this year. I didn’t do much Black Friday shopping this year, since I don’t think I need to give anybody presents, and there aren’t that many things that I want on sale. The only item I bought was a dash camera for my car. I picked up the Transcend DrivePro 100, and here is what I thought of it so far.

Transcend DrivePro 100 Box
My newest gadget.

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Fall Foliage Round-up 2015

The fall season is almost over. It’s not too cold down here in North Carolina, but a lot of trees have shed their leaves already. Over the last month or so, I’ve been out enjoying the beautiful fall foliage that NC had to offer, and here’s a collection of photos from my autumn adventures.

Pilot Mountain State Park
The distinctive Pilot Mountain.(click to enlarge)

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