Ice Skating

I went to ice skating at Creve Coeur Ice Arena today. This is my second time skating on the real ice and this year’s first. Last year I did it at Forest Park. As I said in my another article I did more roller blade skating in recent years. But ice is more fun I think. It’s more diffcult to control the move on the ice because of the lack of friction. But it’s OK for me as a hobby. I used to watch a lot of figure skating (Michel Kuan, Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya) on the TV, now I am happy I could move on the ice too, although much more awkward than those super stars. I saw some teenage girls doing spins and jumps and I admire them. I hope when I have kids they will be interested in this sport and do those amazing things.

Giovanni’s on the hill

Went to the Giovanni’s on the hill last night, with a friend from Shanghai. This is the second time I visited the restraunts on the hill, and I almost got lost on Kingshighway. We arrived at the Giovanni’s a bit late because of other errands. My first impression is it’s a fairly formal restraunt, from the dress of waiters and guests. And the pictures on the wall (Bush I and II, Clinton, Reagon, etc). We also saw two limos parked nearby. Apparently there was a big party going on. The service and the food was not as great as we thought. We had lamb and lobster respectively. Maybe their pasta will be better? My friend has been to some more expensive restraunts in D.C. and Europe and told me the services there are very good. The price for an entree is from $ 25 to 35.

The wait time is none because we arrive after 9:45 PM. Better than the Favazza’s, another Italian restraunt on the hill I visited couple years ago.

Here is a link of Italian restaurants from AOL.

It’s Snowing…

Just as I was laughing at people put all the ice melt in the parking lots (thought they were wasting their time), St. Louis got her first snow this Winter. I will put up a picture very soon. Stay tuned.

I took a drive in my lunch break. It’s fun to drive in the snow but you got to be careful. I took a spin at the traffic light near my home. The good thing is it’s red light on the other direction so I can slowly turn around and get on my way. Now I wish I had a all wheel 0r 4 wheel drive.

Here are the snow pictures I took today.

Going Financial?

I thought about going to Financial Field recently. More accurately, I am going to apply for Financial Engineering programs in the US and Canada starting next Fall. I already took the GRE (the last time I took before this one was Fall 1996) and was working on my “Statement of Purpose”. It turns out more difficult than I thought. My initial draft was shot down by my friends. I can see why – I merely list things I did chronically without too much explaination. I got a few days to rework on it.

This is not an easy decesion for me. And I don’t know if I will eventually I will make it or not. Besides the admission decesion by school, the money to attend school, there is this question: is it worth it?

The money part can be calculated, using the discounted cash flow method. But not the other stuff: the extra effort to learn new things mainly on Finance and Math; pressure of working in wallstreet vs. slower pace in St. Louis. I don’t think there is a formula or model to calculate this. Life is more complex than engineering and finance. But that’s also the beauty of the life: if you know everything in advance, will life still be that interesting?

Hope I can figure out all these by next Fall.

STLPlace

STL stands for different things for differene people. For frequent air travellers, STL is the airport code for Lambert St. Louis International Airport. And I believe this is most widely used meaning. For C++ programmers (I am proud to be one of them), STL stands for Standard Template Library, which is a very widely used framework and I had much fun with it lately. There are many other meanings: a file format for rapid prototyping, a European Christian book supplier, etc. You can always do a google search or look up the wikipedia and find something.

For me, STL is much more than a symbol. It’s where I lived and worked in past 5+ years. From time to time when I visited other places, and saw beautiful coast lines, beaches and mountains, I wish I could move there. But when I come back, drive down the I-170 or Linburgh Blvd (named after the legendary Charles Linburgh who is the first person fly across Atlantic), I know I am at home. It’s true STL does not have those good things, but it does not have the crazy traffic in New Jersey or LA either. Besides reasonable traffic, St. Louis has four seasons, and it is a decent size city with good restraunts, shopping center, sports teams, and hospitals. Some of the must-see places in St. Louis:

Gateway Arch
Forest Park and Art Museum
Botanical Garden
Loop (Delmar Ave.), Central West End
Cardinals (Baseball team)
Grant’s farm (great for kids)
Washington University

In this blog I intend to write down my observations about living and working in St. Louis. Occasionally I will also touched upon other places in the US and Canada. So don’t assume it’s just about St. Louis by looking at the name. I plan to write fairly about things in the States, from the eyes of a China-born, both China and US educated software engineer. I got this idea from Wangjianshuo and Bill Bishop, a young Chinese and American respectively, wrote ineresting (but true) things about China. Although I have never talked to them personally but I would love to someday.

I will also talk about software (my job) and finance (my main interest recently) in this stlplace.