• The Most Special Day in My Life

    June 12th

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    San Diego, California

    I used to stay in Ipswich, South Dakota with a roommate, JJ, and host mom, Barb. But after staying 3 months there, I moved to San Diego in Cali. San Diego is a major city in California, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.

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    My first website, Orang Computer, was built when I was in fifth grade. The address is orang.99k.org. And I kept building websites, although they work just fine, but their address look very ugly, since it's based on a free web hosting. So, I decided to buy a domain name for my website, and here it is, PhilKuo.com. Please take a look!

  • I'm from Taipei,
    the capital of Taiwan

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20 September 2015

Cali Road Trip: Day 2 - SeaWorld San Diego

(The content of this post happened on June 14th, 2014 PDT)

On the second day of our trip, we went to the world famous SeaWorld San Diego. As said on their webpage, SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park. They not only have fun rides, but have decent aquariums. One of my favorite rides in SeaWorld is Manta, it is so fun that I actually went on it more than 4 times. Even till now, I can still remember their slogan: ride the ray, feel the rush, on Manta!


16 September 2015

Cali Road Trip: Day 1 - LEGOLAND California

(The content of this post happened on June 13th, 2014 PDT)

Wow, long time no see! It’s been nine months since I last wrote a post, and more than a year since I came back to Taiwan! I think it’s time for me to actually get back, and finish writing for my exchange year blog. Though the post “The Most Special Day in My Life” may sounds like it’s the very last post of this blog, but it’s actually not. After June 12, which is the date that post is talking about, my family and I had a 2-weeks road trip around California. We rent a car and started traveling from San Diego, and up north to L.A., then to Yosemite, and eventually got to San Francisco. This two week trip was fun and absolutely fantastic. And the best thing is, I am going to share every single day of the trip here, so you guys can enjoy too!


Legoland California

29 December 2014

The Most Special Day in My Life - Part 1

(The content of this post happened on June 12th, 2014 PDT)

The 12th of June was a very special day, actually one of the most special days in my life because it is “technically” the last day of my exchange year in the United States. Time flies, I have been in the U.S. for about 10 months and I didn't even notice this fact! During these months in the U.S., I have experienced so much that it’s hard to recall them all! But those months sure changed my life a lot, and the experiences I had were priceless.


(Cover photo) I've became a Del Norte Nighthawks after spending a great half year here.

The Most Special Day in My Life - Part 2

(The content of this post happened on June 12th, 2014 PDT)


(Cover photo) My family and me in front of my school, Del Norte.

(The paragraph below were talking about a day before today- June 11th. Just this paragraph though.)
They (my parents) arrived United States in Los Angeles airport on June 11th and drove down to San Diego right after they got the car they rent. They actually experienced some problems while getting their rental car, it caused a few hours delay which made me pretty nervous on the June 11th evening, because I remembered that they used the airport Wifi to FaceTime call me at maybe around 4:00 telling me that they have finally arrived the U.S. and they planned to arrive San Diego at 6 PM or sometime around, BUT they never arrived until 10:30 PM. It might be okay if they could let me know that they were just having some problems with the car rental company, but they didn't have a way to communicate with me, there were no WiFi available outside the airport and they don't have phone either. Since the last time they called me was before they got their car and went on the freeway, I thought they had a car accident or something on the freeway! I knew people drive a lot faster on freeway in San Diego than in Taiwan and since my dad are driving a car the he have never drove before, I really thought that they had an accident. After hours of waiting, they finally FaceTimed me and told me what happened with the car rental company, right after they went into the hotel and found a wifi signal. They haven't even went into their room! They might be really worried about me worrying about them too! Haha I know it’s kinda messed up.

The Most Special Day in My Life - Part 3

(The content of this post happened on June 12th, 2014 PDT)


(Cover photo) the big family picture.

We entered the house and I took my family around the house to show them where my room as well as other rooms are. We also chatted downstairs, my sister and mom loved the cat Toby, they can’t stop playing with him! My family and the Berryhill family and I were just chatting happily. And my family also gave them the gift they prepared for them, a really beautiful china vase, they loved it and put the vase into their shelves immediately. We then all went upstairs to my room and starting to do some final packing works. My mom helped me to pack which made the packing process a lot faster. No one likes packing, I had so many stuff to pack! At last, there were 4 luggage filled with my stuff, as well as some other bags. Isn't it crazy!

03 November 2014

Having fun at Belmont Park, Mission Beach

(The content of this post happened on June 8th, 2014 PDT)

Time flies. A year of international exchange was almost over. On the last weekend of the year, just 4 days before my school ends, my host family took me to a really historical place in Mission Beach, San Diego called Belmont Park. According to Wikipedia, Belmont Park is an oceanfront amusement park opened on July 4th, 1925 as the Mission Beach Amusement Center. The park itself is so old that all the buildings and rides there looks so “classic”! We didn't spent our all day in Belmont Park , but also the whole Mission Beach area. There are many fine shops there as well as some great restaurants.


A wooden roller coaster in the park. Can you believe that it is one of the oldest wooden roller coaster in the U.S.?!

17 October 2014

New Kitten’s Arrival

(The content of this post happened on June 5th, 2014 PDT)

On the 5th of June, we welcomed a new family member to our house. His name is Toby, and he is a cat! Karen and boys has always been wanting to adopt a kitty, and now they finally did. Since I also love small animals, I am glad that they decided to adopt a small kitty. When toby arrived, he is only a about a month old, which is really young, so we had to take care of him very carefully. Karen had his “room” and all the things he need prepared before he arrived, so he can sleep soundly on his first night in our house.


Elisa & Toby. How cute!

10 October 2014

Boat Project of Physics Class

(The content of this post happened on June 4th, 2014 PDT)

Hi there! Whether you’re my old reader or this is your first time here, I am glad to see you here! I do know that I haven't been posting for more than three months, which is actually really ridiculous, but now I am back. I just didn't have time to write, that’s all. I really wanted to finish writing all the stories as soon as possible since I might forget what I have experienced in the States. I recently just finished taking a *really hard* midterm exam in my high school in Taiwan, that’s why I am feeling kinda relaxed right now and has a little bit of time now to write. So anyway, I'm back, and I promise that I will finish writing all the stories I have to write. (By “stories I have to write”, I mean stories about everything I experienced in the United States, including the round-California family trip. :D )


Cover Photo.

During my last month of exchange year in the U.S., I have done various of projects for different subjects. One of them is the Boat Project for physics class. Each trimester, students of Physics 2 class will have to do this project, yet it might be the most fun thing to do in this class throughout the trimester!

3 people will be grouped into a group to do this project. What we have to do is to make our very-own boat all by ourselves and eventually put it into water and one person will have to sit in it to see if it floats. From designing, assembling, to painting, we have to make this boat literally all by ourselves! So it is a really hard job.  The hardest part of this project might be the designing and calculation part, which we have to design the boat and calculate how high and wide the boat should be in order to not let it sink.


Boat-building in progress! :D

23 August 2014

Another Essay for English Class - My Hero: Jony Ive

(The content of this post happened on June 4th, 2014 PDT)

So it has been a while since I wrote my last post. I have left the United States and arrived my home country, Taiwan, for about two months. But I know that I still have post about my last month of life in the states that I haven't finish writing them so I decided to finish them whenever I have time. I am just kinda busy working on my Taiwanese high school stuff like homework in the past two months, so I haven't have time to write.

Alright, so let's get back to the topic. This post is about another essay project I have written when I was in Del Norte High. This is also the last essay I wrote before I got out from school and enjoy my summer break. Since this is not a small project, every one of the students of Ms. Thompson's English worked hard on this essay, and we even have to publish our finished essay publicly to a website called "My Hero" for every other students that have needs to read. So it's kind of a big deal for me.

The topic of this essay is "My Hero", obviously it is a post about every student's hero. I chose Apple's designer Jony Ive as my hero, and why? Please read my essay! (You can choose to read it on My Hero website - http://www.myhero.com/hero.asp?hero=J_Ive_dnhs_kt_US_2014_ul, or just here on my blog)

A person who changed the world: Jony Ive

          iPhone, the most popular phone in the world, was designed by one person. Along with iPod, iPad and iMac, this person has made Apple the most popular brand in the world. Jony Ive is the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. in California, where he works out of a top-secret studio somewhere near Cupertino. He designed many of Apple’s most successful products that are award-winning and popular that most of the people are using them today. Although he habitually avoids publicity and does not like to be interviewed, people are still trying to find out his personal history and story. Jony Ive was born in London and grew up in Chingford, a town that belongs to the Greater London metropolitan area. He has been obsessed with design since he was a kid; his father also do designs which is an important reason why Ive started playing with design at a young age. He was a star student at New Castle Polytechnic, the top design school in the England. Ive moved to San Francisco, California from London, England in 1992, when he was hired by Apple. In 1996, he became the Director of Design. Eventually, he reached an even higher level, Steve Jobs made him the Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple in 1998. Unbelievably, all the Apple’s most successful products are designed by Jony Ive and his small group. Without him, Apple would not be this successful. To be a successful designer, one must possess both outstanding creativity and good collaborative skills. Being a designer is not a simple job to do, without creativity, one might not have enough ideas to create new things. Without collaborative skills, one might not be able to work and communicate with others well. But Jony Ive possess creativity and collaborative spirit, therefore, he is a hero that inspires other designers all over the world. 

          Everyone knows that one most important things a designer needs is to be creative. One's creative ideas can change the entire industry or even the whole world. For example, my hero, Jony Ive, has changed how people look at electronic devices. In 1998, Ive designed his very first product, the iMac, the computer which has a revolutionary design. The introduction of this product completely changed the desktop computer industry, because of its revolutionary new design that no designer had ever thought of before. “The simple truth is, Ive hates fuss and relishes simplicity. You can see that from his products. They may be revolutionary, high-tech magic boxes, but they look so elegantly simple that you know what they are for and how to use them the moment you first pick them up ”(Arlidge). Jony was interested in design since he was a kid, he decided to become a designer after he saw lots of minimal-designed sport cars while he was a teenager. After he was hired by Apple, he used his creativity to create lots of “surprises.” Jony thinks that many products are actually very poorly made, but people are using them because they have no choice, Jony decided to change this by using his creativity to “solve the problem.” He wants to make things simpler, he wants to make Apple’s products simpler, and easier to use. All of the products designed by him have one thing in common, that is, they all look simple but useful. Even if the products are newly introduced and people have never seen them before, they can still learn to use them very easily. Simple does that mean it is not well made. “He spent ‘months and months and months’ working out the exact shape of the stand of the desktop iMac computer because ‘it’s very hard to design something that you almost do not see because it just seems so obvious, natural and inevitable’”(Arlidge). Designing things is not a simple and easy job. Jony spent months just to make the new iMac computer so that it looks right. The reason why it is so hard and takes a designer so much time is that people are already used to the shape and how to use something they use every day. Jony wanted to change this. He thinks that people always limit what a thing can do, for example, he made music-enjoying and jogging possible to happen at the same time. The introduction of iPod take portable music-listening experience to a whole new level, people no longer need to carry a big CD player. If one can use their creativity spirit properly, they could change the world. There are so many ordinary things that we use every day but we never notice them, they could all be changed to be even simpler or easier to use! Jony is the person who has a creative spirit and has changed the modern world.

          Along with being creative, a hero like Jony Ive is often a team player. A great designer could inspire others, but can also be inspired by others easily. Every person could come up with an awesome idea that others never thought of before, everyone could figure out a way to make things better, but they need to be heard. The person who collects these brilliant ideas is the designer. A designer needs to know to listen and communicate with others, in order to accept other’s ideas and make their product better. Jony Ive is a person with very good collaboration skills; he can collaborate with others very well. He does not just design things, but he listens ideas and makes them even better. “There are times when I think either one of us or members of the team can feel discouraged. So I think that’s one of the things that’s fantastic working in groups. When you really think this can’t be solved and perhaps we’ve got too ambitious here, it’s fantastic when you’ve got other people around you to keep you going” (Grobart). Although there are only 15-20 people is his design group, it is still very hard to make all the people agrees to one idea. He thinks “successful collaboration” is not telling others agree to one’s idea, it’s combining everyone’s idea and comes with a even better idea. Also, he says that other people around you can keep you going, because they might not agree with your idea, but you can discuss with them and ask “how we can make it better”. With all the people in a design group rather than just one single designer, they can not only make things faster, but better. Working with others has another advantage, that is, everyone thinks differently. This does not seems to be a good thing, but it actually is. “When we were looking at objects, what our eyes physically saw and what we came to perceive were exactly the same. And we would ask the same questions, have the same curiosity about things.” (Allsopp) It is hard to make an ordinary object that everyone uses every day better, because people are all already used to it. To most people, an object might just be an object, nothing is special. But in the Apple design studio, a argument between designers might just have started. Every designer has their own thoughts about an upcoming product, but how they can figure out what to do? As a Senior Vice President of the Design Studio, Jony Ive uses his outstanding collaborate skill to lead everyone and find out a good way to solve the problem and even make it better. Jony says that collaboration is a requirement, because no one can do things perfectly all by themselves, they have to forget about their personal issues because they are working as a team. Because of Jony’s outstanding collaboration skills, he is able to make Apple better and take his design group to another level. 

          Jony Ive is my hero because he possesses creativity and collaborative spirit, which are both very important for a person who is a designer. His creativity made most of his products become best-selling and eventually became revolutionary. With his excellent collaboration skills, he is able to work with others well. Jony Ive does not just design products. He uses his creativity to change the world. In the past 20 years, his iMac changed the desktop computer industry, his iPod changed portable audio devices industry, his iPhone changed the cell phone industry, and his iPad changed the definition of “computer”. I am truly inspired by Jony Ive and wanted to be a designer, because of all the great works he have designed. I am inspired to design beautiful concepts and now I know to work well with other designers, instead of working all by myself. When a person does so many things that made this world better and help people do things easier, I cannot disagree with giving him a title of “hero”.


This is technically a "Stock Image" from me since I don't have a picture of the printed version of essay! :D

10 June 2014

Visiting Old Town San Diego Historic Park

On June 1st, 2014, the second last before I leave San Diego, we decided to go visit a place that we haven’t visited before. If you know San Diego well and have been continued reading my blog you should know, this place is “Old Town San Diego State Historic Park”. The Old Town Historic Park is located in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego and it is a state protected historical park. We thought it might be kinda fun to visit Old Town in the morning and have lunch there, and then we can take to trolley to Downtown. The reason why we’re also going to Downtown is actually because that my host family asked me where I want to go and I answered Downtown so they wanted to bring me there. My host family is really nice!


Cover Photo - Old Town San Diego

26 May 2014

Boogie Boarding at Cardiff Beach

Since Monday, May 26th is Memorial day in America, we got a day off of school, which means we got all three-day weekend. On Sunday, we decided to go to the beach because the weather was really hot. This time, we're not just "going to the beach", we were going to be playing in the water, as well as to relax on the beach. the beach we went this time was the Cardiff Beach, which is north from us, we were actually there (near there) a few month ago but the weather was pretty cold back then, this is the first time we go into water.


(Cover photo) At Cardiff Beach.

24 May 2014

Physics Class Trip at Knott's Berry Farm

Every year, students of Del Norte High School’s Physics 2 class will have a chance to visit the amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm, as a physics class trip. Luckily, I am one of the students this year, and of course, I got to visit Knott's Berry Farm! The main reason of the visit is to "learn physics", yeah, "learn physics". Believe or not, we actually have to do worksheets after visiting, we have to calculate things related to physics of the ride, such as the velocity and acceleration of the roller coaster. But I still had lots of fun anyway.


One of the rides in Knott's Berry Farm: Xcellerator.