Thursday, June 30, 2011

Texas Fourth Week Part 2

Thursday June 23
At lunchtime, I went to Joy Luck Delivery Chinese restaurant with S. This place was one of the few Chinese restaurants around College Station with really good reviews. I checked the menu out, and it looked pleasing, with an enticing lunch menu to boot. The place is really cheap too. $5.55 lunch specials? $6.50 seafood and combo meat? Yeah yeah! It comes with soup (egg drop or hot and sour) and a vegetable eggroll.

Egg drop soup - why so yellow?
The egg drop soup tasted so much like eggs, a little TOO much like eggs. It was okay.

I got the Yu shan shrimp, which is some sweet and sour gravy with shrimp, water chestnuts and mushrooms. This was good, a little salty if you ate all the sauce, and there a was a bit too much sauce. Good spiciness. Glad I didn't get the spicier Hunan shrimp. LOVED the eggroll. I must admit, though, I love a good Chinese eggroll, and this place was fried perfectly, crisp. Delicious cabbage and other veggie innards, with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Yushan shrimp with vegetable eggroll
This was enough for two meals. Very filling. Yup, those other Yelpers are right; this place is a good eat in College Station.

Afterward, I wandered around and went shopping around World Market. Man, this place has some awesome stuff! Their image is that of the exotic and eclectic from around the world. Check out the randomness below:

They have New Orleans King Cake Mix and Cafe Du Monde Beignet mix too! My two Louisiana friends here told me about these and maybe we'll make these one day!

Spotted dick = British dessert. Such a funny name.

I had so much fun going around World Market, eying things to put in my fantasy house in the future. They even have clearance shelves where I bought a bunch of chocolate and some cute, sturdy paper boxes for pastry and confection giving!

Friday June 24
The next day, I got out early again, and decided to go to the mall. Post Oak Mall is the closest one nearby, and houses JC Penny, Dillard's, Hot Topic, Aeropostale, A&M stores, shoes stores, a legit comic book store, and others. I walked through the entire place and enjoyed the store selection. The food court has Chick'fil'A, Taste of the Tropics (smoothies), Sonic, Toll House Cookies, Japanese, and Chinese. I got a mango smoothie from Taste of the Tropics. It tasted weird at first but it grows on you. Only $1.60 for a small too. Cheaper than McDonald's. The smell of Auntie Anne's pretzels was such a temptation, I forced myself to not buy one.

The Puppy Store only sells cute puppies, like these baby Chihuahas

Antoine Dodson: Bread Intruder Video and song:
Tribute to ma' sister!

I ended up buying boots, a raccoon beanie, and a moustache purse from Hot Topic, all on sale. The boots were only $10! Come on; tell me who can buy boots for only $10?

For dinner, we went to Layne's of College Station, a fried chicken finger place. Almost right next door is Raising Cane's chicken fingers, so these two have a rivalry. So, we came, we ate, we left.

What a deal! lol

I really didn't like it.

Maybe fried chicken fingers isn't my thing, but the chicken was dry, the black pepper sauce was weird but you get used to it. I like the thick and wavy shape of the fries, but they're just a little too thick and starchy for me to eat much of it. The Texas toast was yummy with its lathering of butter, but a bit salty. Meh, I don't think I'll come back every. The cole slaw was the one redeeming factor, but not amazing either. A bit much on the mayo.

I think we went dancing again this night. If it was Daisy Duke's or the Social Lounge or Luxe or something, it was really fun.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweet Eugene's Cafe - review

Add-on to Wednesday, June 22
Ash and I got back early, so I asked if she wanted to go work at a cafe with me. We took the bus and trekked to Sweet Eugene's Cafe. I can only start with:

Oh wow.

This cafe is huge and definitely has a character of its own. First walking in, I see slushie machines behind the counter mixing and chilling Butterfinger, vanilla, and chocolate smoothies. Farther down the counter is a display case with cute little donuts, muffins, and other pastries. A little farther down is the cashier with the menu, the drink machines out back, and more pastries (cakes, kolaches, muffins, quiches). On the left is the rest of the cafe. It extends into three open rooms with tables and chairs strewn about. There's this huge, antique coffee mill called the Behemoth or something like that. On the restroom doors, instead of W and M to designate gender, they have a picture of Audrey Hepburn and a picture of James Bond (I think)! Cute!

There are couches along walls. There are enclaves with dimmer lighting and bookshelves to make it feel like something from...the pirate ride at Disneyland! The atmosphere is really mind-blowing here.

I loved the paintings on the walls. Whoever the artist is, she is wonderful. About $200 for the two that I liked, "Fairy" and a dancer one in the bathroom. I want to buy it and bring it home somehow...(Sorry no picture. I figured I'd be infringing on copyright if I took a picture).

The apple cinnamon muffin here was...absolutely ungodly amazing. I have never eaten a muffin with quite such chewy fluffy soft pillowy texture as this one. The apple muffin. Get it. Like, no joke. If you are in College Station, drag your butt here and get this. It's only $1.80 or close to that, and probably good to eat in two portions.

Apple Cinnamon Muffin - to DIE for

The blueberry scone is delicious as well. Huge and filling, about $1.90. Again, warning, FILLING. Great to have a good scone place around here, just too bad it's so freakin' far away from the apartment and that the buses don't run on weekends.

Blueberry scone - looks better at a different angle

Sweet Eugene's also has breakfast, lunch, and dessert crepes. Not too bad pricing either ($4 for simple, $7 for lunch). I want to come here and try a sweet and a savory crepe some time.

Basically, if you're in College Station, don't leave without going here. They even have a variety of java smoothies, fruit smoothies, and typical cafe drinks, which you can all order through their drive-through window! Oh, and two free wi-fi networks, both of which don't need a complicated password like in Berkeley! This place is awesome!!!

Sweet Eugene's House of Java
1702 George Bush Dr E
Ste 100

College Station, TX 77840

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dancer's Thoughts on a Sunday Morn

Just watching "So You Think You Can Dance, Season 8" now. I need to catch up on all the episodes since this season started. I had started with the "Top 20 Perform" Episode, and it was gorgeous. The talent of all the dancers was ebullient throughout the show. Their passion, eloquence, and adaptability to various genres of dance were simply...astounding. Such beauty was absolutely breath-taking. It inspired me to get back to dancing. That was Friday, when I went into lab, and we waited for vessels. Since the guy who brings us our vessels never called TN back, I put on SYTYCD and we watched the "Top 20 Perform." TN actually seems discerning and somewhat knowledgeable about dance, such that he made intelligent comments about the dancers during the show. It's not like I'm used to with other people who watch shows like this, who basically say things like, "Oh, that person looks funny. That person is just okay. Wow! That person is amazing! They're so good!" TN actually noted some technical and expressive points of the competitors.

After watching the LA Auditions and Vegas Callbacks, I have to pay tribute to three women. Patty Anne Miller and the sisters Sasha and Natalia Mallory. Patty is a stunning popper. Till that moment, I had only seen male poppers that were so good at what they do. Patty showed that females can pop and lock it just as good as the boys. Actually, even better I'd say. Opening her audition piece, her movements were perfect increments of pops that it looked as though the video was constantly going, stopping, going, stopping, every millisecond. I was blown away. She can control discrete parts of her body with unparalleled ability. Please check out her audition piece:

Next up, the deadly duo, Sasha and Natalia Mallory. These two girls are more than just good dancers, they actually are two sides of the same coin, peanut butter and jelly, and all those other twin cliches out there! They are adorable; their sisterly interaction seems to brim with trust, love, and mutual understanding that allows them to be like the little kids they act like with one another. I mean, maybe they aren't as buddy-buddy as they are on TV, but, you must remember, I can only speak from a third-person point-of-view.

Their dances together are beautifully choreographed. Both dances seemed redolent of Africa. I believe it is beautiful and artistic to embed vestiges of one's heritage into dance. They move together fluidly and complement each others' movements. I must admit that Sasha may outshine her sister with speed and strength, but Natalia is very powerful in her own regard. Both girls definitely deserve applause for their hard work. I would love to see them continue into dance fame with more duets.

I cannot wait until I get that "care package" from home. My Mommy is sending me some Ataulfo mangoes (those addicting and amazing yellow ones), so I asked her to also send me my bear claw dance shoes.

Bear Claw Jazz Lyrical Shoes
Then, I'll be able to dance more naturally in the aerobic room here at the apartment. On Friday, I had gone in and did some dancing. With my socks, I was able to do a quad pirouette on my right, do my leaps, etc. But it'd be much better when I have my shoes. Can't wait!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Texas: Fourth Week Part 1

Monday, June 20, 2011
I already posted it, but I decided to cook this day. I had made the kale bread pudding.

Tuesday June 21, 2011
Thanks to a 365 deal (kind of like Groupon, but specific for College Station), we got tickets to go see a Brazos Bombers Baseball game. The field was 6 minutes away from the apartment. The deal was $5 for a ticket and a Bombers baseball cap. We were pretty excited, so at 6:30, we got together and drove to the baseball park. NH was nice enough to drive some of us there even though he wasn't going.

Our baseballs caps
We got there, got our hats, and went in. We saw the Cookie Monster walking around and took a picture with him. Waiting in the bleachers, we watched as the Bomber mascot strolled around, playing it cool with the kids and adults. It was cute. Some of us bought some baseball food and ate as the game started.

It was quite boring.

Yes, sorry, baseball fans. Baseball is boring. And both teams, the Bombers and the Dallas Copperheads kinda suck. The Copperheads barely got any straight hits. It was a forced excitement whenever some batter actually hit the ball right and when they sometimes got runs in. The only fun part was watching the random prize games in between pitches. They had two little kids race to the some people, rushedly put on adult business clothes, then drag the huge hand luggage case back to the start. The girl won even though the boy tried so hard. Haha. Another game, a dad and his daughter raced with shopping carts, picking up paper bags off the floor and raced back. The dad was winning so he pulled out his cellphone and pretended his wife was calling him, which the announcer joked was his wife yelling at him that he didn't pick up the right groceries. So the dad's little daughter won. So cute.

We started seeing lightning a lot in the distance, so we left early (plus the fact we were all bored) at the 7th inning.

Moral of this story? Baseball's only fun for the mini-games, the tailgate food, and probably only fun if you're drunk, which is why we see all the adults drinking beer and stuff there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
EB told us about a comedian she met at Blockbuster. This comedian told EB to check out the comic night at Schotzi's, which the comedian would be at. At ten, they went, and I joined half an hour later. I'm really glad I came later. The first act was the comedian that EB met. This lady was not making good jokes, and because people weren't laughing, she was getting belligerent. At the end of her skit, she forced everyone to laugh before she would get off:

Comedian: "Any one of you guys gonna buy me a drink? No, seriously. I mean it, who's gonna buy me a drink. I've been up here this whole time. Buy me a drink now...I'm not leaving this stage until you all laugh. 1, 2, 3, laugh. Come on. I said LAUGH."
Awkward, forced laughter ensues. Comedian gets off stage...

The ensuing comedians were slightly better, but all really sexual and vulgar. The one Asian guy had some funny ones. A Caucasian, a recent graduate from A&M, had even better ones, and less vulgar. Slightly nerdy. A good long poem about semi-frat domination ("Hey, y'see that girl? Slipped a roofie in her drink...Hope she gets a good night of sleep!")

Otherwise, I didn't really enjoy the comedy night. I would have rather gone to karaoke again. Maybe this Wednesday, and if we can stay up long enough, stay until 2 am to try and win that $50 prize.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Third Week Part 2

Thursday, June 16
Aha, bad memory. All I can remember from this day is what I have from pictures, and that's of dinner. LOL, totally me.

So, at dinnertime, I got some of us to go to Crazy Cajuns, just past the Schlotzsky's. It's a Cajun/Creole place. Lots of space inside, with lots of booths, very down country down college kind of thing. Lady comes up, kinda old, but that kind of active "How may I help ya, honey's?" kind of waitress lady. I like her spunk. Anyhoo, the place serves us the classic N'aw'leans (=New Orleans) kind of food: jambalaya, red beans and rice, boudin (sausage), gumbo, and po'boys.
A bottle of spicy Creole seasoning in a Corona bottle.

Awesome meat selection: crawfish, shrimp, chicken, boudin...and GATOR! I HAD to try this one. So I ordered the kids fried gator platter: fried gator pieces, french fries with some seasoning on it, and 2 hush puppies ($6.99 ish).
Fried Gator Kids Platter
It came with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and/or gator sauce. Gator sauce was nasty. I ate it with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and ketchup, alternatively. The gator meat was delicious and a wonderful texture. Not too soft like stewed chicken, not too tough like steak, not dry like turkey. Very yummy. The flavor of the batter was good, or it could have been the taste of gator itself. Definitely try you tastbuds at alligator when you get the chance.

My friends got the etoufee, gumbo, red beans and rice, and shrimp basket. The etoufee was wayyy too salty and didn't seem to have a lot of crawfish. You're better off getting the one from Herbert's Cajun. Shacks always serve authenticity and taste better. Gumbo was very liquidy, but I didn't try it.

They serve various po'boys, which I want to go back and try. They also have a 2 foot po'boy challenge. I told the lady she should invite that "Man vs Food" guy to try the challenge. That'd be pretty cool. But, as I said, I want to try a po'boy. My Louisiana friends here tell me a lot about New Orleans. I want to go so bad. We've talked about taking a weekend trip there. It'd be soooo awesome. Sounds like a party all the time!

Friday June 17
No vessels today, cuz the lab technician misplaced his phone and then accidentally drove over it. Haha, baaddd mistake. I started a MatLab program to automate solving for flow, pressure, volume, and radius of a lymphangion with input flow. The lymphangion is modeled as an electric circuit, and these equations are related and used to solve for those parameters previously listed.

Dinnertime, I FINALLY got G to come with us! Usually, the poor kid is held hostage by his work or his professor (who talks incessantly) and he comes back late. So this predicament and failure to receive my messages on time has prevented him from joining us for our nearly daily dinners. But, after three weeks of trying, I finally got him to come to dinner!

Rooftop patio seating. Nice, but humidity not.
Ah-ha. :)

G eating with us! Huggeee chicken strips crushing some fries underneath.
So, we went to the Corner Grill, which has weekday $5 specials. They have fish taco Fridays, so we went. You can see my full review on Yelp.

Grilled tilapia fish tacos with chips and salsa. All so tasty and fresh.
Sum up: fish tacos = amazing when grilled. Fish tasted fresh and juicy, AND you get a whole filet in each taco! Didn't like the tortillas themselves and the green lettuce could have been subbed for something better, but overall very fresh and tasty and filling.

Then, we tried to go to a dance club in Houston. It looked super awesome online, this place called Hush, but it was horrible. No one really dancing; some DJs and rappers on stage doing what my friend called old Louisiana rap and which I totally was not grooving with, a bunch of drunk guys scouting women to grind on...blah. Very disappointed. Wasted $10 on it. Sucky club. Don't ever go.

But the good thing, was that it said "Dressy attire enforced." So we went to Kohl's beforehand and I got myself (in an amazingly quick shopping sprint) these cuuteee shoes:
Mud heels. Only $19!!! Love Kohl's!
Hung out in Houston with Lal's friend. Oh, and I had bought some banana pudding at a pit stop (Waller County BBQ) during the drive. Yum, but very very sweet. 2 am snack plus breakfast the next day. We slept in, and poor Lal had to drive us back in the morning, then she had to drive to Dallas for Father's Day. She's strong, that one!

Saturday, June 18
Today was a home-day. Laundry, chatting, reading. Got a crunchwrap supreme for 99 cents...yum. I guess that's it for that day. We all needed resting from the night before.

Well, that sums up week 3!!!

Cooking Kale Mid Internship

Yesterday was quite exciting. While baking in the apartment kitchen, we found that some nice guy put all his cookware, spices, and oil in the cabinets for free but respectful use. I was ecstatic and thanked to the air this fella for his generosity.

Undeniably, I cooked today, being as I was, super excited to eat homemade cooked food. Granted, I ate a couple of homemade meals, but lunch sandwiches don't count.

With my trusty kale, sausages leftover from IHOP, bread, buttermilk, and minimal utensils, I headed to the kitchen!

What ensued was none other than this lovely, hearty, tasty Kale and Sausage Bread Pudding - for One. Enjoy, because I sure did.

Kale and Sausage Bead Pudding (serves 1)
2 sausage links, chopped
2 large kale leaves, torn into small pieces
2 slices bread chopped into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 egg
1 TBS Newman's Southwest Salad Dressing
Pinches of garlic and onion powder
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Any other seasoning, to taste

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Drizzle olive oil and some dried seasonings over bread cubes and mix around. Bake on a sheet in the oven until hard. Remove.
2. As bread is baking, heat sausage in medium skillet over med-high. Once slightly brown and releasing some oil and juices, toss in kale, with a little bit of water. Cook a little. Cover, let steam, and occasionally stir. Cook until kale is wilted and starting to crisp. Add some garlic and onion powder, a teaspoon or two of water, and mix around.
3. Beat egg and buttermilk together with southwest salad dressing.
4. Combine breadcrumbs, sausage-kale mix, and egg mix in a large bowl. Pour into a little pyrex glass bowl or other small baking pan.
5. Bake in oven for 30-40 min, until egg is set and bread is crisp on top.
6. Let cool 5-10 min. Dig in!

Note: This is quite filling. If you triple the ingredients, it can serve four.

I do believe I am in love with kale now. Boiled, raw, and especially cooked stovetop - they're all delicious. I've heard kale chips are amazing. I'll have to try that soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Frappe

Help make my frappe drink famous on Starbucks!

Please go here to vote for me!

The drink is a mix of the light coffee, chai flavor, raspberries, with cinnamon and ginger on top. Healthy but refreshing and still tasty! you win anything for this...?

Happy Fathers Day!

To my daddy:

I wish I were home to bake you up something gloriously sweet and fattening to tingle and thrill your tongue (perhaps a carrot cake cheesecake pound cake triple layer dessert??? Oh my, the madness!), but alas I am a 5 hour flight from home. I did bake today, although from premade mixes. I made blueberry muffins and white cornbread muffins. I will eat one in your honor ;P

I want to thank you for everything you are and are not. For all that you've done, and all that you will continue to do and be.

To the father who watched over his daughters, his wife, his family.
Who never forgot about the needy or less fortunate.
He who stays youthful, thanks to a tireless passion for surfing and martial arts;
To the father who shares my passions, and gets excited about technology and science.
Who enjoys the outdoors just as much as I do.
To the dad that gives us what we need and even beyond what we want,
Such an unending love that cannot be encompassed by words.

You've done so much for me, for Cat, for Mom. I always feel blessed for having such great parents, who love me and provide for me without reserve. You've taught me to become selfless, thoughtful, intelligent, and discerning as you are. Faults and virtues alike you've shown and taught me. You truly are my hero, and someone I not only look up to, but strive to do better for. Just the thought of you inspires me to do the best I can, in all that I do.

Thank you, Daddy. For being there for me my whole life, and supporting me in what I do, and giving me advice when I need it. You keep me strong in spirit and body.

Happy Father's Day. I love you a lot.

To Kung Fu Panda. *wink* ;-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Third Week Part 1

Meh, I've been slacking. A whole week left unblogged. To start off, this was a very eventful week, did something nearly every night.

Saturday, June 11
I attended this business seminar entitled something like "Business in a Turbulent Economy." It was sponsored by the Mays Business School here, mostly for A&M alumni, and went from 9-5pm with a happy hour reception afterwards. I attended and wore my business dress. You may be wondering, You are a bioengineer; what are you doing attending a business seminar? No, it was not just for the breakfast and lunch. I wanted to see if I could learn anything about the economy and business from this. I do have hopes of one day opening my own business, be it a bakery, a franchise, or a biotech company.
View from the Universitiy Club, top of Rudder tower
It was pretty good (food was definitely really good, lol). The seminars were interesting and the people were both funny, nice, and talkative. The first speaker sounded like Forrest Gump, no joke. My favorite seminar was this funny one about how many people abuse Powerpoint when giving presentations (click the link). I sat next to this woman who was more excited about playing Angry Birds on her Nook and a woman and man who doodled and constantly whispered and giggled to each other. Haha, I thought it hilarious how these adults were so kiddish at this professional business event.

The whole thing about "Aggies help Aggies" fosters this community atmosphere among these alumni. They were really nice to talk to and told me about resources. At the reception, I chatted with a woman working with IKEA in Dallas, and she told me about a non-profit group there that refits medical devices to be used in third world countries.

The seminar itself was enlightening and allowed me to explore the business world. I definitely enjoyed myself.

Sunday, June 12
Umm, I don't remember much, except that I went to Schlotzsky's again:
The "Original" - pretty yummy
Monday, June 13
Sigh, no vessels again today. So, Tam and I just did more mathematical modeling. I climbed a tree:

Tuesday, June 14
Attended another lunchtime seminar. This time, the REU seminar had a grad student panel, in which we asked about "Life as a Grad Student." Sounds like grad school is the way to go in this troubling economy, and one must be diligent about searching for funding. Not everyone gets funding as a grad student. You really need to constantly look for fellowships and grants.

I can't remember when I did this, but I visited the Cosgriff-Hernandez lab here. Dr CH is a biomedical engineer whose lab focuses on tissue engineering. I asked for a tour of the lab, which one of the grad students politely obliged. It was really cool. They create various hydrogels as grafts for blood vessels if one needs to be removed in surgery. The grad student who gave me the tour showed me her hydrogels and said that they use polymer chemistry synthesis to attach certain integrins to allow for selective binding of cells to the inside of the hydrogel. When the hydrogel is inserted, you do not want all types of cells and biological debris binding to the inside, otherwise it would just clog the vessel and prevent normal function. I got pretty excited and plan to prepare myself for a future in working with stuff like this. I need to take a polymer chemistry synthesis class and continue with my tissue engineering track.

Wednesday, June 15
No vessels yet again, so Tam and I did more mathematical modeling, yay! We met in the afternoon and tried to develop some empirical model of lymphangion response, but we actually spent half the time doing a crossword puzzle. LOL. We finished it though! First one I've ever done!!!
After, we walked to the rec center and I tried some rock climbing. One guy there helped me out a bit by giving me pointers while climbing. I could only do one rock climbing path though. It's tough.

This girl makes it look like she's gliding across the wall.

Nighttime rolls around and we head over to Ash's cousin's place. We play rock band, which is a good return for me after two years. Fun stuff. And then Lin let me borrow "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Mastermind." I watched "How to Train Your Dragon" that night. Sooooo good! I am seriously buying this movie when I return home. The way they made the dragon act and move is very true to animal behavior: the sliding scale between curiosity, love, fear, and defensiveness. The animation was great, and the story was superb. It was not a strained, heavily milked story-line, and neither were the jokes. It did not try to make too much humor, but had a decent amount to aid the story along. The main characters are likeable, although the annoying teen side-characters are the only "strain" on the movie. Definitely a recommend if you haven't seen it yet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

TX June 9-10: George Bush Museum

Day 9: Thursday, June 9, 2011
I need to add some fun stuff about Wednesday night. We went to Paddock Lane and did some karaoke. They have a karaoke competition that starts at 10 pm (actually really gets going around midnight) and ends usually around 2 am. I went with Ash and Lalis and managed to persuade them to sing. It was a lot of fun. I sang "Walk Away" by Kelly Clarkson, "Won't Say (I'm in Love)" with Ash and Lalis, and then "I Will Survive." It was a lot of fun, but we left around 1 am, since we all had to get up early the next day.

So, Thursday, I came in to lab, practiced dissecting and mounting lymph vessels. It was kinda hard, and I think I probably poked a lot of holes in the poor vessel. Plus, I cut it pretty short, probably too short to be effective between two valves. At least I got it on, I suppose.

I also got to see what S was helping out with. She was doing stuff with Phuoc, mapping out the bat wing. Cute! Had to be uber sterile though, because Phuoc is the only one that is inoculated against rabies.

Since I finished at noon, I ate and went to explore near HEB. After shopping round (I caved in a bought some muffin and cornbread mixes and aluminum muffin pans), I waited at the bus stop to get back. I started chatting with this TAMU student next to me. He was really nice, actually from Cali as well, but came out here following his girlfriend and then decided to stay because he really liked it here. He told me about how every month during the school year, TAMU has a Zombies game that students and non-students play. People with Nerf guns are humans and people with bandanas tied around their arms are zombies. It sounds like so much fun. I immediately thought of my boyfriend and Nick and how psyched they'd be about it. I want to play too! The TAMU guy was nice enough to take both buses back with me since he lived nearby. People are so nice around here.

Day 10: Friday, June 10, 2011
S and I went into lab but didn't have anything to do. I persuaded her to go with me to the Bush, Sr., and Barbara Bush's birthday celebration at the Bush Memorial Library and Museum. President George H.W. Bush's birthday is June 12 and Barbara's birthday is the tenth, so I guess the museum decided to do the midpoint of their birthday. We got there and I ate some cake and Blue Bell ice cream (still unhappy that this popular ice cream company uses high fructose corn syrup and many other ingredients rather than a small amount of simple ingredients). Then, we toured the place. They have a heart health exhibit that showcases the red dresses of the First Ladies and special red dresses designed for some celebrities. Look at the slideshow below! I liked the one for Katie Couric the best.

Then here is a slideshow of the photos and presentations inside the museum, all about Bush, Sr.,'s life. They even reproduced his Oval Office there, but you have to pay to take a picture.

For dinner, we went to Jin's Asian Cafe. I got the healthy steamed chicken and veggies with black bean sauce on the side, with the unhealthy fried rice.
Fried rice, steamed chicken+vegs, black bean sauce
Bimbimbap (with lettuce?)
Decent food here. Strange that it serves Thai, Indian, Korean, and Chinese food. Chinese food is relatively good, Korean doesn't seem legit, and don't get the chow fun! Those are NOT the noodles that are supposed to go with that dish! They used some weird kind of thin thin thin noodles. Don't think my friend liked it.

No partying that night, though, but met Ash's cousin and mom. So awesome, her cousin likes steampunk and Y: The Last Man too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TX 6/7-6/8

Day 7: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I didn't have to go into lab until after 1, so at lunch, I went to Henry's Cajun Food, this little square shack in the middle of the parking lot shared with Taco Bell and McDonalds'. I ordered the Crawfish Etouffee, because Rebecca said that crawfish was really good and I've been meaning to try some legit Cajun/Creole food (that doesn't break the bank! *shakes fist at Disney's Bayou restaurant).
Small (12 oz) Crawfish Etouffee - $4.75

I boiled up some kale and ate it with it. Good spices and flavors, but the taste/smell of crawfish is a little strong. I don't think crawfish is my go-to protein, but the dish is overall tasty. It's a tomato-based roux with crawfish pieces over rice. Reminded me of a spiced seafood risotto. The rice was thick and creamy thanks to the sauce all over it. I split this in two, enough for two (light-ish) meals.

At 6, all the REU students were invited to a welcome dinner with speaker Dr. Pettit on "How to get the most of your REU Internship." They catered from On the Border Mexican grill, and the food was good. I made two large flour chicken-black-bean-squash-lettuce-salsa-guacamole-sour cream tacos. The rice was simple, light red-brown, and came with corn. Good, didn't give me indigestion as most original Mexican rice does. The black beans were delicious with specs of tomatoes.

Dr Pettit was a very good speaker, telling us what we should do to make long-lasting relationships, learn thoroughly, and advice on how to approach academic research. Most important is to make yourself known to the professor, show efficiency and productivity, keep contact after the program, and always be ready for an opportunity. These I should really keep in mind, when I consider grad school soon.

Day 8: Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Darn bug bites. I got 4 total and 3 are persistent and aggravating. They are so itchy and they are almost like rashes. T_T Let it be over already...

Lunchtime we had our first seminar sponsored by Dr Hsieh. Dr Ji presented to us about MRIs. It was quite interesting. I get excited when I understand things. MRI used to be called "N"-MRI for "nuclear" magnetic resonance imaging, but the nuclear part was dropped later because it gave a misleading connection to radiation. The MRI works on the basis of quantum spins. The nucleus is mostly protons (+ charge) with electrons (- charge) revolving around it. This spin creates an individual magnetic field per molecule (right hand rule, thumb is direction of field). Normally, each molecule is oriented randomly in space, but when an external field is applied, some molecules line up parallel and others anti-parallel to the magnetic field. Furthermore, if an electric coil is placed near the molecules and the field, it can read a frequency coming from the molecules that translates into its spatial identity. There are more complex stuff, but that's what I remember and care to explain about right now. Look it up! Wiki MRI!

Went back to lab after that, where I observed and minutely helped my grad mentor attach lymph vessels to a fluid flow contraption, put flow through it, and try to get it to intrinsically pump. After 2 failed attempts (lymph vessels were dead), the third one finally showed pumping and we were able to get a pressure reading. Wow, 5-ish hours to jut get some pressure readings. This may be a tiring research project, but that's what research always is. A lot of waiting. It'll be interesting to see how things come along when I get my hands in on the action.
 Total fluid flow device
 There's a lymph vessel in the middle of that blackness.
Beautiful TX sky

Oh. And I want to bake. :'(

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TX 6/4-6/6

Day 4: Saturday, June 4, 2011
After a fun Friday night, most of us slept in. I got up around 10:30 and wandered around. I walked past Schlotzsky's to the Traditions bookstore and Hurricane Harry's, exploring the options of stores and restaurants. Schlotzsky's is a fast food restaurant dishing up (healthy?) sandwiches and pizza. Their bread is a perfect squat cylinder, which they like to call "Bunz." I thought that was cute, plus the pumpernickel is dark brown to close to black. Interesting when you make a sandwich. I walked back to the apartment (oh my god, it's sooo hot!) and did some reading. When I migrated to read by the pool, it was just too warm and I ended up dozing off on my bag instead. Dan came out and we chatted for a bit. It's always a fun conversation with Dan. He said he went to Schlotzsky's twice now since coming here and that it was amazing, so later for dinner we gathered everyone to go there for dinner. All day Saturday and Sunday their 8" pizzas are only $2.99! Such a good price. I got the chipotle chicken pizza, which came with a generous dallop of guacamole on top. Spread that green sucka across the whole pizza. Damn, this is one tasty pizza, but I could do with a little less guac and 2-3 pieces less chicken to let the cheese and veggies shine a little more.
After we walked by Crazy Cajuns and just chatted outside there, randomly, haha. I think we went back to the apartment after that and wandered/talked.

Day 5: Sunday, June 5, 2011
What did I do this day? Oh yeah, I went to Evans library and blogged yesterday's post. After that, I went to Taco Bell and McDonalds and it started thunderstorming! Crazy! I can't believe how heavy it rains. Gigantic plops of raindrops. Strangest thing is that it's very warm as it's raining. Eventually came back to the apartment, and did an hour run. Wow, did I sweat. I usually don't sweat that much, but I think it's the long run I did plus the heat of Texas. I met up with the others at Dixie Chicken later, after they'd eaten, then we wandered all the way to Kyle Field and the Rec Center. Both of those are HUGEEEE. Lots of fun shenanigans along the way and back. Found some toads hopping around. Fun Sunday.
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Day 6: Monday, June 6, 2011
Finally started working on my project. Went with Tam and we got our assignment from Dr Quick. We went to the lab and started coding in LabVIEW. Stayed there until 7 pm trying to get the thing to run right. It started pouring and flashing lightning, even more than yesterday. We both were super hungry but it was raining so much so we couldn't really leave. Tam eventually just biked home (good thing it's warm rain) and came back with his car. He took us to this Mongolian BBQ place and we ate there. Pretty good (I mixed scallops, fish, lots of veggies and their Kanzhu sauce with udon noodles), but kinda pricy. Didn't even get any leftovers for total of $12+tip. After we both got a pint of Haagen Daz chai tea ice cream. Came home and ate that. Wowwww, sooo good! Still kinda sweet, but good flavor! I swam for 30 min in the pool at midnight. Really nice and warm. Yay Texas warmth.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

TX First Weekend

Here are more pictures from our tour around campus on June 1st (slideshow opens in new window)

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 Day 2: June 2nd
"S" and I leave at 8:30 am to walk down University to the Veterinary buildings across the railroad. It only takes 10 minutes to walk there, so we hang around for a bit. We take a look at the Critical Care Cafe and look at the decorations. All along the walls are paintings and photos of animals - dogs, cats, cows, horses, etc. This is a very elaborate veterinary school. We come back to Dr. Quick's office and wait. He comes some time after 9 am since he had to drop off his kid at school. As he's quite the talker, and passionate too, he tells us more about the two projects: pulsatile lymph flow and bat blood vessel reconstruction. Total, he probably talked 3 and a half hours. He gets excited about what he talks about, and he really knows what he's explaining. Plus, he tells it in a way that is understandable, and even writes things on the board so we understand. The most exciting thing for me was seeing my two BioE classes from last semester and a couple other classes prior integrating into the projects described. Transport phenomenon and cardiovascular physiology! I actually understand this! This is why I got pretty interested in the lymph flow project, although the other project sounded interesting to work with the bats (which are trained to sleep with their wing open in a lego-constructed box!!!)

After finally being saved by our GSI Tam, who mentioned lunch to Dr. Quick, we escaped around 1 pm. Tam was really nice and he drove us to HEB supermarket so we could buy food. I lingered as I usually do at the grocery and felt bad to get so much, but I'm glad I did now. Yay snacks and sandwich materials. Dude, HEB has the awesomest coupons. Buy one get this free.

I did some reading about the lymph project and then looked at the NSF grant for the bat blood vessel one, but I still felt drawn to the lymph one.

Eventually, we all went to dinner at Antonio's Pizza by the Slice. Dannggg, HUGE slices of pizza and of many different varieties. I got the black bean avocado one; pizza crust with black beans replacing marinara sauce, crumbled cheese, avocado, and some other vegetable. The black beans kinda sucked out the flavor, so I dumbed all the pizza condiments on it and stole S's red oions to give it more flavor. Afterward, I was very full. We went back the apartment after that, hung out, talked, went to the pool, wandered. Good day.
Back to front: Sausage/pepperoni, ranch chicken, black bean avocado

Day 3: June 3rd
S and I went in the morning to meet up with Dr Quick again. After a little more talking and explanation, I decided on the lymph one and S decided on the bat blood vessel one. We got a bunch of articles to read to prime us on it and then we left around noon. I dragged S along with me to the Chef Tai Gourmet Truck to get Asian-fusion. We both got 2 tacos, one Korean BBQ beef and one caramelized brussel sprouts and tofu. The two stuffed tacos morphed into four normal sized tacos for me.
 Caramelized brussel sprouts and tofu (L) and Korean BBQ beef (R)
 The Chef Tai Mobile Bistro
Me and my box of tacos

The Korean beef taco was very flavorful and delivious. The tofu one was a little lacking in flavor but nonetheless good. We ate the tacos in the McDonalds. McDonalds here is HUGE and very nice. They have an extension with lots of chairs, tables, benches, couches to study and eat on! And it's clean here. AND, best of all, it's SUPER CHEAP! The ice cream is only 50 cents, sundaes $1. Sooo good.

After I wandered around North campus and into a couple of buildings:
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Later I got most of us plus a CivEng intern to go to Downtown Bryan for  First Fridays. By stroke of luck, another gourmet food truck was there: Madden's Street Cuisine. S and I split one of their specials: softshell crab sandwich. It came with their spiced up shoestring fries (with cilantro). It was pretty good, although I don't think I'm that much a fan of eating the softshell crab.

Softshell crab sandwich with (spicy) slaw and fries

We wandered around Bryan more. We went into Must Be Heaven and got Blue Bell ice cream. My first time having it. Got it since Becca said it's "the best". I got the cinnamon flavor (yay cinnamon!). Dude, the single scoop ($1.85+tax) is like a third or half a pint! (My photos on yelp)

 After, we came back to the apartment then went to Daisy Dukes for some country clubbin'!!! It was SOOO MUCH FUN. First thing we do when we get in: country line dancing! It's like the electric slide but country! There were waitresses walking 'round with test tube racks filled with dollar test tube shots. These are basically mixed drinks. Soo cool! They also played hip hop and gangster music. Danced to that too. Ash, L, and E danced like crazy, but Ash most of all! She's sooo energetic and fun! Eventually, I danced with this guy who does fancy footwork, like top-rocking. He was pretty cool. He then showed me how to two-step, even though he admitted he didn't really know himself, being from Utah and all. 

Man oh man. That was a great first Friday to begin this internship. A lot of things, I admit, making this post long, but so worth it.