Vacation Over, Back to Work Once Again

My four week long winter vacation back home has come to end, and so I flew back to the small town where I am pursuing graduate studies. Obviously, I wish I could stay home longer, but I have work to do and classes to attend. It’s the life of a graduate student. I am already fortunate that my adviser was nice enough to let me return home for so long, so I can’t complain too much. My time at home wasn’t quite as productive as last year’s winter vacation, and so I’m sure I have plenty of work to do.

So what have I been up to during my time back in Vancouver? Not much as usual. In terms of research related things, I had some assigned reading to go through, but I don’t think I really understood anything I read. I don’t think I was that productive with my projects either. I mostly just stayed home and relaxed, and I didn’t go anywhere far. I went shopping a few times, and also hung out with some friends from college. Since I was back in Vancouver with its excellent selection of Chinese restaurants, I couldn’t resist eating out. The area that my grad school is in has some Chinese food places and they aren’t horrible, but they are not comparable to what Vancouver has. The fact that I ate more while at home in combination with less exercise meant that I gained around 10lbs during the break. It’s not that I didn’t exercise, but I didn’t exercise as often or as hard as when I am at school. I did play more badminton while I’m back, but that wasn’t quite enough to make up for extra intake. I don’t think my badminton skills has gotten any better or worse than before, and I probably need to train a bit to become better.

In terms of things that I actually accomplished while back at home, I helped my father replace a heating element on my family’s flat top stove. The element burnt out some time during the year and my father didn’t get around to fixing it. I am no handyman, but in this age of the internet it’s easy to find information online on how to fix stuff, and replacing the element wasn’t a particularly difficult task. I also helped my dad’s trusty but aging Toyota Echo pass its emissions inspection. I bought a car diagnostic trouble code scanner back from the States to investigate the check engine light on the Echo. The Echo is getting a bit old and has high mileage, so it’s not really worth it to spend hundreds of dollars to fix anything. The check engine light was a persistent problem though, and I thought the car would have trouble passing even if we turned off the check engine light with the scanner. However, by some stroke of luck, our trusty little Echo managed to pass its emission check against all odds, and now my dad can keep on driving it for two more years.

So that’s all for my boring little winter vacation. Staying at home over the break has been very nice, but I still have a Ph.D degree I need to finish. It’s time to get back to class, get some research work done, and also to work off the pounds that I’ve gained during this vacation.

My First Year in Graduate School

It’s been a year since I’ve left home and started pursuing graduate studies in the United States. It seems like the older I get, the faster time passes. This one year anniversary is the perfect occasion to write my yearly reflections article. Since I had to relocate and settle down in a new place, my first year in graduate school has been quite eventful… when you compare to my years as an undergrad student at least. The article actually starts from the summer of 2010 after I graduated with my bachelor’s. Keep on reading if you want to find out what I’ve been up to in the past year.

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Redesigned and Recoded JP’s Badminton Portal Is Now Online

For the past week or so I’ve been working hard to upgrade my dad’s badminton portal website so that it can take advantage of the features offered by my current webhost. The website has become my first self-coded PHP website, and my second table-less layout after the travel journal website. Of course I read a lot of tutorials and books in order to this, and after working day after day implementing features and ironing out the bugs, the site is finally ready for show time. Obviously being written by myself, the website is nowhere near as advanced as my main site here powered by XOOPS, but it’s enough for the purpose of serving articles. Click the earlier in this paragraph if you want to visit.

JP’s Badminton Portal

This is a completely separate website that is focused on the sport of badminton. I designed this site in order to put my father’s numerous badminton articles online. His articles talk about many aspects of badminton, such as tactics, skills, training etc. There is both an English and a Simplified Chinese version of the website, and visitors can switch back and forth between the two languages. The articles were originally in Chinese, and were translated into English by yours truly. This website has also been recoded completely to take advantage of PHP and MySQL in the December of 2006. Click here to visit.

“Becoming a Good Badminton Player” Essay

This is another one of those essays written for my grade 10 summer school essay writing course. I didn’t post it earlier with the other summer school essays due to the fact that I didn’t know where I put this essay. I wrote this essay because I am (or was) a frequent badminton player. I still play, but not as much as before. This is a pretty general essay about badminton. If you want more in depth information about the sport, please visit the badminton portal. Of course, I got an A for this effort, like all my summer school essays.

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