Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Bixby Bridge on the absolutely gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway
On a rare break from work, I escaped to Northern California for a quick vacation. The primary mission was to relax, of course, but I was also motivated to practice landscape photography. Despite some fairly in-depth research and planning, I was quickly humbled by Mother Nature. Landscape photography is definitely not easy, and uncooperative weather doesn’t help for sure. So I missed a bunch of shots I had envisioned, but this was a great learning experience.
Here’s a few photos. Rocks and water were the theme of this trip, evidently. Hope all is well! Work hard, stay positive, be brave.
Creek downstream of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park
In my line of work, 60 hours is considered a light week. I am halfway through my first year of residency and have learned tons, both medically as well as personally. The benefits of an internal medicine (IM) residency are that the field is tremendously broad and you can find niches that cater to your interests as well as lifestyle. For IM doctors who want to make a lot of money, cardiology and gastroenterology are generally speaking the well-known juicy targets but of course they pay for it in terms of time commitment and stress. It’s crystal clear that what’s important to me isn’t money but free time to pursue my hobbies. This was a lesson I learned the hard way my very first week, when I was stuck in MICU, completely exhausted, working near 80 hour weeks. Stories for another day… =)
Refreshingly delicious air of Estes Park in Colorado, on the way into Rocky Mountain National Park
Anyway, that’s just a preamble to say I’ve been quite busy and one of the first casualties was this site, obviously. A lot has changed since I last posted. Got my first smartphone with a data plan (Nexus 4!!), moved into my new house, became wiser, stronger, faster. Lots and lots of material to chew on for ProtocolSnow.com. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ghost writer so updates will come when they come. I don’t know if I’ll ever resume a regular posting schedule, but I’ll do what I can. Following my Twitter account is probably the best way to keep up with what I’m into, thanks to the low commitment of a tweet vs. full blog posts. That’s the sad reality!
Sunrise at Monument Valley, Arizona from The View hotel
I’ve only recently had the chance to edit my roadtrip photos from June 2012(!) and sent them to my parents, so here’s a few more photos to whet the appetite. More to come, hopefully soon!
Tomorrow is the first day of my new life. Years of blood and sweat have at last led to my first official day as a M.D. Saying that I face it with great trepidation is a massive understatement. Knowing that so many doctors consider intern year of residency the worst year of their life only sharpens its fangs.
But it’s also exciting. And no matter what, I will learn so, so much. And hey, at least I’m not doing surgery!
The past couple months have been a whirlwind. Shopping for an apartment, then a house. Graduating from medical school. Selling most of my possessions, then setting off on an indescribably amazing mega roadtrip across the USA back home to California (3,812 miles and 11 days in total), leaving my past in the rearview mirror and driving to my future.
Approach to Monument Valley, Utah
I have so many photos and videos from the trip I want to share, but with free time being a premium luxury, I will have to trickle them out as I slowly sort through them. In the meantime, please enjoy a small selection. Hopefully intern year won’t be as bad as they say, but if I’m ever in the pits of despair, may the memories of these incredible sights give me strength.
Milky Way arm from Bryce Canyon
I was in Las Vegas a few days ago for a quick, easy vacation. It was the week after CES and a week before Chinese New Year. In other words, Vegas was practically a ghost town. Not having to wait 1 hour to get into any random restaurant or 2+ hours to get into a buffet was a welcome change from my usual Vegas trips.
Chinese New Year was still a few days away, but Vegas was already getting ready for the Year of the Dragon. CNY is one of the biggest money-making holidays for Vegas, thanks to Asian tourists flooding into the city. Not surprisingly, Vegas rolls out the welcome mat for them. It was cool seeing Chinese New Year decorations all over the high-end casinos and shopping malls. I spent most of my trip in the center of the Strip, so I only took photos of the CityCenter complex (Aria, Cosmopolitan, Crystals) and Bellagio.
Tablets have been the hottest trend in consumer electronics lately, but while they are convenient in certain use cases, there’s no denying that laptops are far more versatile and powerful. My days in the classroom are behind me so I have not needed a daily laptop for the past couple years. But in the next several months, I will be doing a lot of business travelling with the need to do some computing on the road. Luckily for me, this need coincides with the grand launch of Intel’s Ultrabook initiative in October 2011.
Ultrabooks are ultrathin, light-weight laptops running mobile versions of the newest generation Intel CPUs with targeted prices of sub-$1000. Apple’s MacBook Air would technically fit into this product category, although it is not officially designated as an ultrabook. Acer and ASUS released their first ultrabooks just a couple weeks ago, and Lenovo and Toshiba are next in line. I have been admiring the ASUS Zenbook ever since its announcement, and now that I finally have it in my hands, I am delighted that it does not disappoint.
This past week, I was at Harvard Medical School for a few meetings. HMS is widely considered the best medical school in the world, so when I set foot on campus, I dropped to my knees and I felt like I arrived at Mecca. Actually, considering the magnificent marble neoclassical buildings here, Mount Olympus may be a better description. Either way, it was godlike. I never fail to be impressed by the legacy and significance of this campus.
Unfortunately, the trip was not for pleasure so I did not have much opportunity to explore. I did manage to take a few photos and paid a special visit to the striking Boston Public Library.
Ever since starting ProtocolSnow.com, I have increasingly appreciated the value of big, rich photos accompanying each post. My focus has shifted from random commentary and low content link shares to feature-like updates with full galleries. Luckily, Twitter has been instrumental in satisfying my love for sharing links and videos while still maintaining this design philosophy on my site.
This new focus has coincided with a new interest in photography over the past year. My first camera was a Powershot S400 in 2005 that I used virtually only on vacations. In fact, to this day, travel is still my major motivation for photo shooting. My daily life doesn’t present many opportunities for photography, but I am training myself to become more observant and to mentally frame and compose so that I can improve without actually holding a camera in my hands.
I was organizing my hard drive and decided to go through my photos from the past 5 years and pick out some highlights so I can have a mini portfolio to track my development. I call myself a “postcard photographer” because rather than producing artsy, creative photos, my practical goal in photography is to make appealing wallpaper for my computer desktop. Seriously.
Artistic creativity has never been my strength — however, I feel that as I improve my skill in exposure, composition, focus and other technical aspects, I can better capture the exact photo visualized in my head and the creativity will develop organically.
A selection of favorite photos from 2005-2010 is posted below. Photos are arranged roughly in chronological order. Hopefully you will think I have improved over the years as you scroll down the page!
Happy 2011! I am spending Christmas break at home in Los Angeles. Life here is good. The weather isn’t the only reason; in fact, we had a miserable freak week before Christmas of record-setting, non-stop rain. But the sun’s out now, and every time I go outside jogging in shorts in the heart of winter, I feel like I’m cheating Mother Nature and can’t help but grin. The killer combo of the weather, the food, and the lifestyle here are why I love L.A. so much!
Today I want to share a New Year’s Eve (NYE) fireworks viewing tradition that I started a few years ago. I am perpetually annoyed by how at midnight the Los Angeles TV networks show nothing but recordings of the New York City Times Square countdown. How about some love for the live West Coast celebrations? Or acknowledging the rest of the world?
So after 2008 New Year’s Eve, I decided to do something about it. I scoured the Internet for high quality videos of NYE fireworks from around the world. Although HD recordings of TV coverage were ideal, they were hard to find so I also looked through amateur live recordings on Youtube/Vimeo, some of which were quite excellent. I downloaded my favorites and then held a viewing party, playing the videos on a 60″ HDTV using my PlayStation 3 as a phenomenal media player.
The viewing was a success and I’ve been doing it every year since. This year was the biggest viewing yet with 8 cities in total. I’m sharing my 2011 playlist below for all the other fireworks enthusiasts around the world!
In yesterday’s episode of Top Chef, the host announced that this season’s finale will be held internationally for the first time. Destination? Singapore. While it is no doubt a great foodie city, there are many worldwide cities with greater culinary significance. So why would Top Chef pick Singapore of all places?
I’m predicting that the finale episodes will feature Marina Bay Sands heavily in some form or another. Marina Bay Sands opened in June 2010 and is one of the most notable Asian construction projects in years. At $5.7 billion, it is the 2nd most expensive casino property, beaten only by the massive CityCenter project in Las Vegas. Considering how brazenly Top Chef has been highlighting their sponsors this season, I expect countless gratuitous shots of the property.
Not that I’m complaining, of course. Its unusual design would fit right in with Dubai’s skyline, but I am most enamored with the absolutely gorgeous infinity pool at the top of the hotel. What an incredible view. The desire to swim in this pool instantly rocketed Singapore up my list of future travel destinations.