The Reason

Love is a miraculous thing.
I didn’t understand why and how I have fallen in love with you. Right now, I still couldn’t tell the reason, but looking at your sleeping face, I know for sure that I don’t need one. Sometimes, a light pass by so I can barely see your face. Even in your dream, you’re holding tightly to my hand. That moment when you squeeze my hand, I caress your hair and whisper to an unknown superpower.

‘Please let me take care of her’ – I say.

No one answers but it doesn’t matter. I will take care of you, with everything I have.
Because I love you.

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Perfect Symmetry

There was a time, I was addicted to Keane’s music:
“Who are you, what are you living for.
Tooth for tooth, maybe we’ll go one more
This life, is lived in perfect symmetry
What I do, that will be done to me”
That lyrics, along with the melody of the song, was somehow very catchy to me. I could replay 3 albums of Keane over and over again. At that time, I just entered my graduate school full of ambition and motivation. Everyday, I overcame 10 miles round-way to go to school by bike. Still,  I enjoyed each and every single  lecture/assignment at school.
When it was too snowy that I couldn’t bike at all, I took an one-hour bus.
When it was too cold, my best friend sent me a combo of gloves, scarf, and hat so I can fight through it.
When it was too rainy, I wore a raincoat and nearly got hit by a car.
When my bike was broken, I walked 1.5 hours to bring my bike home and fix it.
Through all that thing, I still fought hard and well for my academic career.
So… there wouldn’t  be any reasons that I don’t fight now. Although ambition and motivation are fading, I won’t give up. Although I’m half trapped in this PhD life, I won’t give up.
I hope that the energy once ran through me when I was listening to Keane and studying will run again. I never need it like I do now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRLv6zvyE48
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Chicago – Lost & Found

I just went to Chicago the last 5 days. It was a good experience and a nice getaway from my desperation recently. Chicago is a pretty and strange city. I visited it several times before, but this one is so much different. Now I can say I know Chicago.
Here are my impressions about the Windy City:
1. The locked restrooms:
When we were wandering around the downtown, it was super hard to find a restroom. Every restroom was locked from visitors: public restrooms on the shore of the Michigan Lake, restrooms of many universities in the downtown, restrooms in the restaurants… I understand this is for security reason but it is just too strange.
2. The not-so-expensive city:
I always wanted to follow the plan as close as possible. My partner suggested that we would just eat at a random restaurant in downtown. It turned out very well. We enjoyed our sandwiches and hot drinks in a cornered restaurant with warm and comfortable atmosphere.
3. The love for art and creativity:
Chicago loves art so much. You can tell from the huge Art Institute of Chicago at the center of the city. When I rode around the city on public trains, I could spot countless graffiti on buildings, on trains, on road signs, on fences, etc. I know it is a crime to do graffiti but somehow I enjoyed a piece of graffiti here and there.

In a word, Chicago is a good city to visit. I like every bit of my trip. Before the trip, I lost myself. After the trip, I found it again. Here is my best picture of the trip:

Lost & Found in Chicago

Ghost

I think I’m a ghost.
I’m no longer me.
I keep living but I’m just an empty shell.
I can’t find a reason to live, but I don’t have the courage to die.
So I keep living… like an empty shell.

I’m Back

SONY DSC

A  lonely beer

Yo! After more than one year, I’m back to this blog. In that one year, I was admitted to University of Texas at Dallas for a master degree. I’ve been through a lot in that year so I have many things to say. That’s why I decide to continue to write on this blog. Hopefully, I can keep a good writing schedule this time.
Thanks for reading, and see you real soon!

A little time with music

A song that I just knew how to play (picture only, actually I’m listening to other things).
An earphone that I loved the most.

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It has been a long time I didn’t spend time this way. I am just listening to music, nothing else. Man, I’ve been so busy that I listened when I studying, when I playing game, when I sleeping, when I walking. Now, music time only!
The earphone Senn cx300ii has been with me for 3 years. It’s so old now that I need to do some “setup” before I can hear clearly from both ear buds. However, the sound it brought still amazed me.
So yeah, have fun with some Vietnamese rock songs, guys. Good night!

Update…

Hi guys, it has been a while since the last time I wrote something.
So, I’m still alive. Shit happens all the times, but I still manage and will not give up.
Grad School
Recently, applying to graduate school really stressed me out, not physically but mentally. Sometimes I just cant sleep, and was panicked of the fact that all schools may reject me.
At the same time, I also felt bad about my past 4 years. These years were not the worst but it could be a lot better. I also learned many invaluable lessons:
– Dont take double majors while they don’t really relate to each other
– Consider self-studying and self-discipline more seriously
– Time Management

Project
My current project ….

Love Life
Besides all that, there has been something going on with my emotional/love-life stuffs. However, I’m sorry guys, I dont want to write it here. Pm if u want to know, I will gladly tell u everything :O

Music
My lovely guitar was broken so I couldnt record or practice some nice stuffs. Instead, I try to learn Piano again, starting with Song from Secret Garden, Where’d u Go, and When I’m gone. The idea of rapping and playing at the same time is so cool!!! However, my mind and my hand cannot afford it yet :p Hehe.

See u guys next time.
LOVE,
Ngoc Zantet

Capstone Project Journal

Currently, I’m developing a system called MMS (Movie Manager System). It was my capstone project which required for graduation.
Intro:
The MMS is used to manage movies/TV shows/clips through a library. Files can be added to the library manually or automatically (the system will scan the hard drive). The MMS can automatically look up the info of the movies on Imdb in order to identify the genres, MPAA, director, actresses, rating, production year, budget, profit, and cover image. Alternatively, user can edit all this information manually. The MMS can play movies in the library by movie player of user’s choice (for example: Windows Movie Player, VLC, etc.). The library will display movies in grid view. User will be able to sort, and search the library by certain categories. Last but not least, the MMS will support GUI which helps user interact easily with the system.Here is my journal when Im working on this Capstone. It will have future update, of course.1st Week: Choose Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Express 2010 as IDE, Framework as Windows Form Application
2nd Week: Built the basic system with some buttons and menu items
3rd Week: The System can open a file and the file info will be saved into an array
4th Week: Struggled with displaying the file info with a List View.
5th Week: Used MySql database as data management instead of simple data structure.
The System can load a file and the file info will now be saved into the database.
The System can display its data/library to user as grid table. Sorting is enabled.
[Updated April 7th]
6th Week: Fully linked the database with the grid table. The system now support user editing.
7th Week: Added Delete Function. Users now can delete a movie out of the library
8th Week: Researched on how to connect the system to the internet and fetch the information from imdb
9th Week: The system can connect to the internet using Visual C++ WinInet library.
The system can make a request URL to an imdb API by Brian Fritz <link>

Thought about Future Career

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Tonight, I tried to fix my code for a programming question. It was just a simple merge sort implementation, homework of my online course (merge sort is a faster way to sort a numeric list). I thought it was just a piece of cake, however, the problem really caught me off guard. Embarrassingly, in the past, I took a similar class before. The only difference was this time, I tried to implement in C++, instead of JAVA like before. I personally find C/C++ a difficult language. However, I have always wished to work in game industry, to become a game developer. In that path, C++ is a must. So, in order to make my dream come true, I decided to master C++ from now. I gave myself two challenges:

    1st. Complete the online Coursera course with C++;
    2nd. Make my capstone project by C++, too.

For my capstone project, I already think about that many times. It gonna be my biggest project at college, a product that I can be proud of when mentioning about. I will make a Calculator application. Windows or Linux Calculator apps really suck. Two major improvements I will implement are: 1. Multiple lines result; 2. Adding some basic functions like solving quadratic equation, sin/cos/tan, log, power. I really wish to add the Financial Calculator part to it, if I have time. That is the only chance that I can cooperate my 2 distinctive majors. In this aspect, C++ challenges me again. I totally have no ideas which library/framework I will use to do the GUI(graphical user interface) application in C++. Last week, I tackled with Qt, but it seemed like an overkill. However, I will not compromise with myself. Such implementation on Java or Flash would be relatively easier. For my ambitious goal, I will stick with C++, at least for one more year. Thinking about it, I really wonder about my future with programming. Will I be able to code when I become an old man? Will I live with coding or not? or How long until I get tired of coding?

I dont have answers for these questions now, but there is one thing I am sure of: coding makes me happy right now. So here is my solutions to destroy the current brick wall, and to advance my plans:

  • 1. Send an email to my favorite professor to ask about my capstone project, specifically which framework should I use or the application is appropriate for me to develop or not.
  • 2. Debugging my programming homework, start the next problem as soon as possible.

I know this is not an interesting or entertaining entry, but I really need to write it down. It works like a confirmation, support and deposit for me. And it will help me strengthen my belief. To say goodbye, I give you guys some interesting quotes, and see u guys next time!
Quotes of the day:

    “Do what makes u happy. If you are not happy who’s gonna be happy for you?” – Emilee Tran
    “You should believe, man. That is the most important thing.” – Tri Cao
    “I dont know the result before hand. I believe” – The Prophet in “Matrix” series

Asturias

After all, it seems like all my posts in this blog are “accidentally” posted. Few days ago, I tried to write an entry about classical guitar in general and talk about my own ranking list of greatest pieces. However, when I wrote about the song Asturias, it became so long that I decided to make it into a new entry.
About 3 months ago, my love for classical guitar suddenly came back. Curious about how people in the world rate classical guitar pieces, I decided to take a look at 3 top lists shown by Google. Surprisingly, Asturias showed up in all 3 of them at very high rank. Needless to say, I was so happy that my favorite song was ranked that highly. And also, I was quite proud of myself that I could play this song, but compared to John Williams’ skills who played in the video above, mine were so humble.
Asturias has a strong “Spanish feeling”. The precipitate tempo and the high contrast tone made that feeling. The song is divided into 3 parts: the fast part, the slow part and a final part. The fast part requires player to master a tremolo technique with 3 fingers whereas the slow part is a showy performance of all sophisticated skills.. As I remember correctly, when I practiced this part, I played one-third of a line per class. This piece is 6 pages long and one-third of a line was really small portion. The final part is simply beautiful, and it is the best way to end this great master piece.
I always view Asturias as a river. It flows crazily fast and strongly at the first part ( like the upstream of a waterfall). After that, it becomes slow and peaceful as it reaches the downstream where it touches the sea. Listening to the song makes my soul drift along with the river. It took me 3 years to completely learn to play the whole song. Beyond that, Asturias is a very special song to me because it attached to many unforgettable memories.Story 1: It was my first year of high school. Secretary of my class- Nhung asked the whole class if anyone could do some performances for the Teacher day 20-11( or the Vietnamese Women day 20-10, I can’t remember exactly). And somehow, I raised my hand and agreed to play a guitar song for the class. Up until now, I can’t really understand why I agreed to play and chose Asturias. At that time, my skills were suck, and I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. Consequently, my performance was quite terrible. Even so, people applauded. I could well understand that gesture was merely for politeness. However, my close friend Tri still said: “Not really bad. You didn’t play smoothly but you showed off a lot of techniques”. Actually, he didn’t use the word “technique”, but a very funny word that I can’t remember 😦 Nevertheless, his comment still saved my day. What I learned from that story: never show off a thing before you’ve mastered it.

Story 2: This time, I 100% could play Asturias smoothly. I played the song to my ex, I asked her whether she had felt anything from listening to my play. She honestly said no. That time, I was really upset because I thought I had never played that good before. And I naively believed that all people could see the song as a river like me. However, she also said that she was so moved by my action: I played for her even I was so sick. Lesson learned: Nobody feels the same, do not assume.

Story 3: Compared to my skill at story 2, mine at story 3 was 50% better. Now I could confidently played Asturias in front of a girl who I have known for only 3 months. She ended up really like it. She said that the song was great, and she could feel my emotion transmitted through the song. I was so happy and I thought I found somebody who could understand my “cursed” Asturias. Not long after that, she became my girl friend. I played the song many times for her :D. Haha, now are all of you thinking about a happy ending for story 3? Not even close! After quite a long time, I discovered that she couldn’t remember the name of the song and even the melody. Well, it is still a “cursed” song… for me at least.
Lesson learned: ?????
Asturias is a great classical guitar piece. It is so hard to play, and it gives me a lot of trouble. Nevertheless, I still love it, still practice it, and still believe that one day, the curse will be lifted. Maybe after I mastered it with my new guitar, I will try to record and upload it here.