Monday, May 31, 2010

Silver Springs Nature Park

Just in case you haven't heard about it, other than sunshine, Florida is also a state of gators. So in the Silver Springs Nature Park in Ocala, FL, you would see ordinary gators, gators with sharp head, albino gators, mini gators, gators parking by waterside, fat gators, gators with special patterns, cartoon gators, gator statues, well, you name it.

Other than gators, there's pretty much nothing else to see, just kidding! Plenty more animals waiting for your patronization. Like this bathing bear, that curious giraffe, those two making-love cougar, that god-knows-how-old turtle, and that famous Llama to the very right corner. It is so famous that in China almost every young individual knows it. In Chinese, its name is "Cao Ni Ma", which phonetically translated to English is "F*ck your mother". Since many of the dirty words have been "harmonized", this animal has been worshiped and treated as a symbolic figure of "harmony". We even have a song for it, "the song of Cao Ni Ma"

Friday, May 14, 2010

Marion County Park

Marion County Park is a little island in Marion County Lake, right on I24. It seems people like to bring their family in RVs and camp there. Everything you see is green and blue, green mountain, green grass, green trees, blue sky and blue water. It all seems so harmonious, bring you so close to mother nature. What a scene!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Climbing at Foster Falls

Foster Falls is said to be a climbing heaven in Southeast. It's got all sorts of routes there, great camp sites, and nice view of the falls (as can be seen below). I didn't know it's such a popular sport until I saw dozens of climbers on site with us, middle-aged, young; male, female, all geared up and climbed as they were walking. It all looks so simple and easy, but I was so wrong.

A friend set up a simplest route for me, the first climber, and taught me all the safety instructions, I thought, "well, that's easy, just get hold of some holes with my hands, move up a little bit with my feet, and grab some other holes and move up still, keep doing that, I should be on top nice and easy in no more than 5 minutes." But after 5 minutes, I was only 1 meter higher than where I started and couldn't move up any further, besides, I felt no energy in my arms and hands, that's when I realized the difficulty of climbing.

Later they told me that the point in climbing is do NOT use your hands to hold your body on the wall, use your feet, otherwise you could easily be exhausted. Relax your hands every now and then when you are able to stand on your feet. Following that, I managed to finish another route, though with the help of my shoulder, back and face, anything I could think of to keep myself on that rock. It feels so good to conquer something difficult to you. I think that's one of the reasons why so many people love climbing

Our tents

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pocket Lamp

Got this little toy from for 99 cents, free shipping from Singapore. It's of credit card size so that you could put it in your wallet. Simply lift up the bulb-like transparent flat plastic and it's lit up by two LEDs beneath it. It comes in handy when you are in the dark and reaches into your wallet trying to find some changes. Good idea and good product for that price.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Identity Theft

Recently I suffered from identity theft on one of my BOA debit card. Apparently one of the merchants that I purchased some goods from online thus keeps a record of my debit card information underwent some hack activity in their order system, this leads directly to the compromise of my check card. Dozens of transactions which I didn't make showed up in my account statement over night, pending. I'm kinda anxious when my account balance goes from positive to negative and goes further down each day not knowing if I'm responsible for any of that. Here's what I did the moment I knew there's Identity Theft on my card:

1. Call Fraud Department and report identity theft, they'll close your debit card and issue a new one.
2. Call Claim Department and ask back your money which you haven't spent.
3. Wait for the affidavit, sign and return it.
4. Get a credit card!

When I first opened my bank account, this beautiful young lady advised me to have two checking accounts, one for daily use and one for online purchase only for security reasons. I didn't know back then that identity theft is such a serious problem in US. I'm very glad I took her advice and kept only minimum balance on the "online-only" card. Things could be way worse if I had only one card.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tubing in Ichetucknee State Park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located about 40 miles northeast of Gainesville, an awesome place for tubing. 6 dollars entrance fee per vehicle, and tubes rental varies from 5 dollars to 15 dollars depending on the size. There are three tubing options: 3 hours from north entrance to south entrance; 1.5 hours from midpoint to south entrance and 45 mins from Dampier's Landing to south entrance. We took the 1.5-hour one, wonderful tubing experience. You can swim in the water, you can also climb on to the branches along the bank and make an impressive diving into the water, or you could just stay in your tube, go with the flow and relax.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Graduation Day

UF couldn't have picked a hotter day to held its annual Graduation Ceremony, it's said to be the hottest day ever since last October, with 94 degrees highest. You still need to wear cap and gown and pose like a hundred thousand of times in the sun, just thinking about it makes me sweat. It's THE biggest day ever, most of them have suffered four years for this very day, so a little sweat wouldn't be that much of a problem.

It just reminds me of the two graduation ceremonies that I missed. The first one at SYSU, I booked a flight prior to the ceremony; second one at HKUST, I couldn't make it back to Hong Kong. It seems I have this little thing with graduation ceremony. How many graduation ceremonies could one have in his/her entire life, I've already missed two, and am not sure if there's gonna be a third one; if there ever was, I might've still missed it for whatever reason there is.