Happy 6th, Adey Baby~!

My Adey baby is 6 years old today!! I can’t believe it. I remember when he was born, he was so tiny (he was a little early, maybe a couple weeks?) but looked like a little angel. 🙂

In this post I shall reflect on my nephews and nieces who live on the other side of the country. I have 2 older brothers and each has a firstborn son followed by a daughter. Ryan & Riley from BRO1/SIL1 and Adrian & Lila from BRO2/SIL2. It’s interesting b/c the boys’ names are similar (like “adrian” has “rian” in it) and the girls’ are too (in Korean pronunciation it’s like liley/lila hahaha). The boys are like an uncanny version 2.0 of my brothers (at least from seeing their baby pix together and stuff) and the girls also look like miniatures of my SILs, haha

I first became an aunt when I was 18. I was a freshman in college and my SIL1 gave birth to Ryan, my first nephew, that October. Ryan Phillip Yoon. His middle name is after my dad’s name, but it does make you think of Ryan Phillippe a bit doesn’t it? :p When he was first born, I was so excited to see how “cute” he would be… he wasn’t. HAHA. Newborn babies usually look nothing like what they look like a few days later, after recovering from their journey thru the birth canal. In Ryan’s case, his face was swollen and the first pic we saw of him, he was all slimy. I remember being kinda shocked. Of course he recovered from that and became the friggaliggin handsome boy with a killer smile that he is today. 🙂 just wanted to share in case you have a baby and freak out that they look like an alien byproduct at first. LOL. It is (hopefully) not permanent. ^__~

I lived with Ryan his first 1.5 years (on weekends and breaks when I wasn’t at the dorms), but sadly I don’t remember too much of him as a baby, other than him being covered in Aquaphor all the time hahaha and his pale white, porcelain skin. I remember he started crawling and walking really early, and once he started sitting up, he would copy his grandma (who cleaned a lot) and take towels/gauze and rub the floor making an “errrr” sound (showing the effort). He was raised with great cleanliness. :p

Once he started talking, we realized how much of a *sweetheart* he is. He would say the darnedest, most darling things. Usually about love, God or family 🙂 my SIL1 would post some interactions on FB statuses. I will retrieve some. I also remember when Peter and I got married, he kept asking us to kiss. He said he likes love. Hehehe. Today, he is such a loving older brother to Riley, a great leader of the troop if you will, really good at Korean and extremely talented at drawing! He’s still a total sweetheart and that’ll probably follow him through life.

Then came Adrian in 2011. I remember him being so tiny, having the most beautiful fingers and toes. I remember thinking he looked a lot like my brother even from Day 1, and he wasn’t swollen (maybe I saw him a few more hours into his life than I did with Ryan). I remember a lot of our aunts being there and we had a service praying for him. That was really nice.

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Adrian was a baby genius. He started spelling/reading before hitting age 2. He could say the whole alphabet and count to 100. Amazing! In fact, he enjoyed studying – he’d wake up and instead of playing with toys, he’d play with his alphabet letters, books and such. I remember before he started saying real words, he would always look up at ceilings, point, and say “SHdeesh?!” or “SHdatsh!” and we thought he was saying “THIS?” or “THAT!” (who knows if that’s what he was really saying, but the context worked). He always cracked up when I did the Goofy laugh (“guk-guk-guk”). He had this hilarious baby goat laugh. He was also such a chill baby, sleep-trained really early and would wake up smiling/laughing. He really liked dancing (and Bruno Mars songs), though he kinda lacked coordination. Haha :p and later he got really into VBS songs. So cute. Today, he’s still an amazing genius, a silly boy and I expect him to become a rocket scientist or something along those lines.

Riley was born in 2012, just a little before I left for law school. I think Riley is the one I’ve had the least time together with 😦 b/c since I left LA, every time I visited I’ve stayed with BRO2 as they’ve always had an extra room for me (BRO1 has a very full house w/ in-laws), so I only see Riley for short periods of time. I at least had some time with Ryan when he was a baby, but Riley, I’ve just seen grow up kinda through videos and the occasional visits. But she’s a hilarious little girl, very spunky, full of attitude, LOVES singing (and is REALLY good at it — even a little scary, she sings with passionate vibrato LOL) and is so sweet to me. I feel like she loves the word “gomo” (which means “aunt from dad’s side”), she says it so sweetly to me. :)) It melts my heart. I also remember feeding her just a couple times but I thought it was so cute how she ate really well. She’s extremely girly, loves princesses, purses, shoes, etc. She also is good at acting! Lol. She records funny videos being dramatic and stuff :p I also love how when I got married, she called me “princess gomo” hehe and kept wanting to take pictures with me. So cute. I hope I get to spend more time with her ❤

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The last one of the tribe is Lila, who’s blessed us with her smiles since 2013 (just 8 months after Riley was born). I went to LA for the week of her due date, but she came out 3 days past and I had to go back to Chicago on her due date. 😦 so I first saw her through pictures, but I remember she had this beautiful smile and double eyelids. Hehe. This little girl is so funny. She is a piggy trashcan, just like her auntie. HAHA. IOW, she eats anything and everything. and I love that about her. She is super sweet, cuddly/touchy, loves hugs and kisses, laughs so easily and is just a truly happy girl. Her happiness is contagious and you can’t help but be happy around her or even just by thinking of her.

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My nephews/nieces are probably the #1 reason I wish I lived in LA again. I just feel blissful when I’m with them. Whenever I got stressed out, esp in law school, one videochat session with them would re-ground me and help me feel recharged, rejuvenated and motivated again. It’s crazy how little babies have this power. They are just so precious and sweet. But alas, for now, I feel called to stay here in NYC, so our LDR will continue :(. I just hope my babies know how much I love them and always will, even as they grow older and our relationships change. I hope that when they’re adults, we are friends and share our lives together, pray for one another and encourage one another. I’m so excited, and so grateful I get to be their aunt. ❤

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Composting

Our good friends posted about composting in NYC on their blog and it got me inspired!

Peter and I are currently attending our church’s Midtown East home group, and in addition to all the thought-provoking and deep conversations we have while digging into the Word, we are also a passionate group of people, and several of us share a common interest in protecting the environment. Naturally, composting is part of that!

What is composting? Well, first and foremost, composting is nature’s way of recycling! Nature naturally takes decomposed organic materials and turns them into a rich soil known as compost, which allows the cycle of life to continue. What it means for city dwellers is either having your own at-home composting operation or, more likely, dropping off your food scraps at a collection site like Greenmarket (which will then take it to one of several NYC composting sites to be broken down). The resulting matter can then be used for local urban farming and gardening projects.

Finished compost (looks like ordinary soil – but is much more nutritious)!

According to a 2013 Huffington Post article, food scraps accounted for 33% of all residential trash in NYC (and were the #1 material sent to landfills at large). The article estimated a potential annual savings of $100 million if we were to return our food to the soil instead of to landfills.

What’s so bad about food scraps going to landfills? Doesn’t it just break down once it’s there? No. Oxygen is needed to facilitate the decaying process, and because food scraps are mixed in with all the other inorganic junk/garbage at landfills, the oxygen can’t reach the compostable waste. Thus, their fate is the same as the rest of the garbage – landfill waste, which will be ultimately burned and/or buried. Landfill is responsible for ~20% of the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases (as anaerobic decomposition produces landfill gas, which is comprised of ~50/50% of methane/carbon dioxide – significant contributors of global warming b/c of their heat-trapping properties), and the incineration process releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and leaves toxic ash waste.

Understanding that food scraps are the #1 material sent to landfills, this means that a significant amount of this yucky, horribly unfriendly landfill is stuff we could prevent by composting. Not only will we reduce the amount of landfill in general, protecting our earth, but the resulting compost is good for the land and soil — for the plants and other things we grow. Plus, we spend less on commercially-produced compost and lawn/garden products, whose factories depend on fossil fuels to quickly make commercial amounts of compost.

What to compost? For those dropping off at sites in NYC, Greenmarket’s guide states that accepted materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.), coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, pits, cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil.

(Note: There are definitely more materials than listed above that can be composted, especially in your at-home operations, but these larger community facilities request that people leave out certain items that make it more difficult for these sites to maintain/handle the scraps.)

But doesn’t it smell? Peter and I collect our food scraps in gallon ziploc bags and leave them in our freezer = no smell, no mold and our food-free trash can doesn’t smell anymore! When your ziploc is full, simply transfer the frozen scraps to a paper bag and you can drop the whole bag, contents and all into the compost bin at a drop-off site. If you prefer to take the scraps still in the ziploc, just note you’ll have to empty the ziploc at the site, since ziploc isn’t compostable (then take it home and you can reuse the ziploc for your next round of scraps!).

Where to compost in NYC? Here’s a list of all the drop-off sites in NYC! You could also buy a composting bin to DIY at home, but that’s next-level stuff I won’t cover here :p

For now, we will try to minimize our contribution of food scraps to landfills by dropping off our food scraps at Greenmarket. We hope more New Yorkers will do the same! And all of earth’s inhabitants in their own accessible/feasible ways. 🙂

Places to Eat in LA :)

People often ask me what to eat in LA so I figured I’d make a list of all my faves. I’ve added each place’s Yelp page — I will note that a lot of these don’t have that great of ratings on Yelp lol but I am passionate about them and would take my friends there (and they would enjoy them too loll) 🙂 so take that however you wish.

  • First of all, of course you must eat IN-N-OUT b/c it is a STAPLE of LA life
  • Noshi Sushi on Hobart and Beverly, note it’s cash only and closed on Mondays – get spicy scallop sushi, spicy tuna roll (but don’t expect it to be like any spicy tuna roll you’ve had before cuz it’s very different! but delicious!), and stuff off their specials :]
  • Thai Original BBQ (fave location is the one in Glendale) – so I think they have the typical popular thai dishes here (i.e. pad thai, pad see ew), but I’ve never tried those cuz this place is most delicious for its Thai style BBQ! I always get S8 (sate beef plate) 😀
  • El Taurino (Mexican fast food) – tortas and tostadas with RED SAUCE (fiery spicy like halal guys red sauce haha)
  • Mario’s (Peruvian) – lomo saltado + GREEN sauce 🙂
  • Lazy Daisy Beverly Hills (healthy) – I love getting the turkey avocado wrap and asking for their chipotle sauce with it. They also have an AMAZING BREAKFAST BURRITO, and their burgers are also really good!
  • School Food (Korean school lunch-like snack-ish food) – fave items include the kimbap with squid ink in it, carbonara ddukbokgi and gil guh ri ddukbokgi (this latter one is mad spicy!!!). free unlimited refills of odeng soup broth 🙂
  • Cafe Korobokgur on 8th and Hobart, get “Mega Ddukbokgi”
  • Curry House (Japanese curry and katsus), multiple locations – corn potage, chicken katsu, omelette rice, and they also have surprisingly good pastas!
  • Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo – amazing lunch special, super fresh tasting fish (was $15 last I tried but maybe has gone up since inflation)
  • Daikokuya (Japanese ramen) in both Little Tokyo and Sawtelle (West LA) – combos are really good (i.e. tuna bowl, fried rice, gyu don)
  • Furaibo (Japanese comfort food) on Sawtelle
  • Din Tai Fung (soup dumplings) in Arcadia, also Glendale (& prob bunch of locations by now)
  • Panda Inn (Chinese) – original restaurant in Glendale before they made Panda Express! If you know me you know I love Panda Express so… ya. Panda Inn is pretty diff though, nothing similar on menu. but delicious! I liked the Pasadena location b/c the Glendale one is temp closed until Feb 2018
  • Raffi’s (Armenian) in Glendale
  • Zankou Chicken (Armenian fast food) – several locations, I used to always go to the one by my high school in Glendale 🙂
  • Wako Donkasu in Koreatown (2 locations)
  • Mapo Galbi (Korean chicken ribs) – dak galbi!
  • Boiling Crab – several locations including Koreatown and Alhambra
  • Kang Hodong Baekjung (Korean BBQ) on 6th and Kenmore in Chapman Plaza, Koreatown, get the Pork Combo! (new locations in the OC and such too)
  • M Grill (Brazilian BBQ) on Wilshire and Western in Koreatown

and I am sad to learn that my fave pho place, which was in Alhambra, closed.. but you basically have to have a bowl of pho in LA. You can go anywhere for the most part.

Non-restaurants but other faves:

  • Porto’s Bakery (original bakery in Glendale, but other locations) – cheese rolls, potato balls, tres leches cake, yassss
  • Blockheads Shavery on Sawtelle – Taiwanese shaved ice :), can free valet park (just tip) in the parking lot to the left of the establishment
  • Sul & Beans – Korean shaved ice
  • and my friend is opening a soft serve ice cream place in Ktown in May so I’ll update this to add that b/c it’s gonna be booomb 🙂 here’s a preview

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! 🙂

Transitions

My mother and father were and still are the hardest working people I’ve ever known. They emigrated from South Korea and somehow missed LA only to end up in Chicago. More on my parents in a later post. A few years later, I breathed my first breath of air and I knew then and there that I had BIG plans. While I grew up, I had many things that made me happy: pokemon cards, friends, a bike, working limbs, and my hair. The world revolved around me and my happiness would devour the world.

That is until I ended up in a pharmacy.

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Now, I’m not trying to bash on pharmacists. I’m not trying to give the pharmacy world a bad rep. It just… wasn’t for me. I went to pharmacy school early, after three years of undergraduate school. As far as I know, pharmacy and nursing school don’t require a bachelor’s degree, as long as you completed the pre-requisite classes, you can apply (if it changed, that’s how it was when I applied). I was graciously accepted and decided to jump on a career path that would kickstart my world. My parents were happy (and that was the most important thing to me at the time) and I was happy. In my mind, I’d be out of school after four more years and be set. I met so many people that would forever have places in my heart and cherished every moment. After graduation, my wife and I moved to Manhattan to work. I didn’t like NYC at first but after a while, it’s charm grows on you.

I loved meeting new people, listening to stories, and sharing laughs with my coworkers. What I didn’t like was being a pharmacist. I worked for a year and a half and thought that maybe it would grow on me but nope. Not a chance.

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Joyce was very supportive and encouraging when I brought up the thought of a career switch. I had expected her to tell me to be reasonable. I couldn’t have been any more excited about the potential change. I know I had gone through so much schooling just to be a pharmacist but it just wasn’t for me. The only problem was… I didn’t know what else to do…

One day, Joyce was on her flight back from LA when she sat next to a gentleman that was working on his computer. She asked what he was working on and he told her that he worked at a pharmaceutical company as a coder (or developer). That’s when Joyce thought that I would be a great coder! She brought the idea to me and I started to look into it to see if it would be something I’d be interested in.

I spoke with my friend Vinit who is a developer and he encouraged the idea. His hype and love for coding really had me serious about doing it. I searched the internet about the different types of coding bootcamps and eventually, through lots of research, ended up applying to //Flatiron School. I was accepted and now I’m learning so much. I absolutely love it and it makes me so much happier. Thank you Joyce!!!

I also have a technical blog on the side that I work on while attending Flatiron:

https://medium.com/@peter.yun.kim 

Check it out if you’re interested in some of the things that I’m learning!

All in all, I’m really happy about my journey to become a developer. The people that I met in my coding bootcamp are amazing individuals and are all in the same boat as me. Everyone is looking to switch careers and because of the intense workload that we’re going through, we’ve become close friends within 3 weeks of school. More to come later!

 

Overcooked!

Growing up with 2 brothers, I have had my fair share of video game interestedness. The earliest game I can remember is this like old school 80s looking volleyball game they used to always play with their friends. And super mario of course.

My brother Joe confirmed it was Super Spike V’Ball on NES. Lol to the I ❤ NY signs in the bg!

Near the end of elementary (for me), my brothers (adults in their mid-to-late 20s at this point) and their friends were into the SEGA Dreamcast (and, not a v-game but, WWF, WWE, The Rock, etc). I remember being super into Super Puzzle Fighter (which, happily, we have on our PS3 today so I still play from time to time!).


Then came Counter-Strike. My brothers would throw LAN parties in our garage. And this is before laptops. I remember seeing up to 10 desktops in our garage at one point with all my keun oppa’s church students playing CS together. Naturally (or maybe not), I got into it too, and at some point I think I joined a clan. Lolll. I remember spraypainting my webcam picture onto the ground and walls of de_dust. HAHA.

ANYWAY fast forward to high school when I no longer lived with my bros, I think I was pretty much over video games, or they just didn’t really cross my mind. Aside from a short stint of playing L4D2 for maybe 1 month in college, and I guess your recreational facebook games (which I don’t really count), I never played games again.

Or so I thought. Enter Peter Kim, gamer (and coder? haha sounds pretty cool. VIRTUAL yo~ (i’m using that like “RADICAL yo~”)). At first I thought it was a turn-off that he played so many games. But then he eventually sucked me back into gaming too. Ughhh.

So since we’ve met, we’ve had obsessions with Killer Queen, Super Puzzle Fighter, Ni no Kuni, Don’t Starve (& Don’t Starve Together), Tricky Towers, This War of Mine, and as of late, Overcooked. Let’s not forget his long, ongoing relationship with Overwatch.

BUT OVERCOOKED IS REALLY FUN!! It’s basically a team game where you’re racing against the clock (and often the map itself) to fulfill the endless stream of orders. Completing one order entails gathering the ingredients, chopping them, cooking them (in a pot/on a pan), putting them together on plates, sending them out, and washing the dirty dish to have your next clean plate on which you’ll do all the above all over again. It’s not for the easily flustered or overwhelmed, but definitely so much fun for ones who love multi-tasking, efficiency, strategy, and intensity (i.e. me and Peter).


The upper left shows your orders and their necessary ingredients. The bottom right is the ultimate timer. Each order has its own time limit as well though, and the earlier you submit the order, the higher tip you receive. The bottom left is the score. In the above image, you see that the kitchen got split in half and the upper left pan has meat on it with a red triangle with an exclamation point inside. This pan has been left unattended and none of the cooks are able to get to it right now b/c of the temporarily split kitchen. The longer you leave it on, the faster that red triangle beeps and flashes until eventually the range catches on fire. You have officially OVERCOOKED that meat. Ha ha! Then you need to get the fire extinguisher (here, on the right side by the outgoing orders area) and extinguish the fire before it spreads all over your kitchen.

I’m sure eventually we will move on to another game, as we have in the past, but for now, I really enjoy this game. 🙂

2nd Anniversary~

2 days ago we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary (now entering the 3rd year of marriage~). It was lowkey cuz we’re an old married couple now! 😉 Peter had school til 6 but rushed up after and we had Pure Thai. It’s one of the many delicious Thai restaurants on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen, but I think Pure Thai is the most unique. I love their pad thai, pad kee mao, and papaya salad (which can get super spicy!). The biggest downside is they don’t have any curries ;( but the things they do have are delicious so it’s all good!

We aren’t really big celebrators – never made a big deal of birthdays, anniversaries, or even holidays (though Peter did make V-day pretty special this year by cooking special breakfast and dinner!). So just eating out anywhere is celebratory enough for us 🙂

Last year, on our first anniversary, we did try to make it more “special”. On the weekend, we went up to check out the Met Cloisters, starting with brunch at Indian Road Cafe. The food was delicious and the view from the Cloisters was beautiful. Unforch it was quite chilly at the Cloisters so not many plants were alive (I hear it’s really pretty in the spring/summer), but we still saw interesting things on display and the cloisters itself were nice to see.

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We look way taller than we are. Angles, ya’ll!

Then, on our actual anniversary day, there was a surprise waiting for me at my desk when I got back to my office from lunch!

It was really surprising and quite special 🙂 that evening, we had dinner at one of my fave fine dining places in the city, Marea. Absolutely love their seared scallops (but everything I’ve tried there – and I’ve tried many things through work – was exquisite).

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Later that week, at home group, we were sharing our highs and lows. Peter went before me. He said “hmmm… my life is pretty standard… pretty boring… nothing interesting.. no highs or lows.” Then it was my turn and I was like, “Well, for me, my high was OUR ANNIVERSARY…” to which everyone responded with violent laughter and Peter was incredibly embarrassed at having forgotten such occasion. Hahaha! That man has terrible memory. 😦

Anyway, this year, Peter continued the – dare I say, tradition? – and sent flowers again! Beautiful! I was surprised once again 🙂 I thought the note was the sweetest.

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p.s. my middle name is not Eggy; it’s a nickname Peter gave me – you can ask me why in private. :o)

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Sitting pretty on the windowsill.

At dinner, we exchanged cards (which we did last year as well — that is definitely a tradition we are going to continue!) and devoured the food. We were also thankful that God gave us the best possible seats at the restaurant – b/c usually you’re crammed elbow to elbow with other tables’ parties, but we got a big wide table! He always looks out for us! 🙂

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Peter’s hair has grown a lot in a year! I don’t like it but everyone else does. Same with his current…fake…nose ring… ;/ anywho..

Marriage has been really fun. It’s so awesome to have a literal life partner, someone to tackle all of life with and dream into the future with. I can’t really say that it’s been hard, though don’t get me wrong; there are definitely challenges that come our way and disagreements that we have. But at the end of the day, we are on the same team and have each other’s backs, and laugh through life together. We trust one another to have our best interests at heart and challenge / press the other when they are out of line or should reconsider their action or POV. It really feels like Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” So very thankful! God is too good to us.

Here’s to many more annies! 🙂

JAPAN 2017: Overview

OHIO~! (“good morning” in Japanese is spelled “ohayo” by romanization, but it sounds the same as Ohio the state so~)

This will be the first of a series of posts covering our trip in Japan! I don’t want to do a general summary of the things we did b/c it’d be a disservice to them, so I am going to break down by days or cities.

Last Nov, we went on vacation with my parents and Peter’s parents to the Philippines and Korea. While we were there, my mom expressed how it’s been her lifelong wish to go to Japan. Peter emphatically stated that it has been his also, and that we shall all go together. [Peter’s parents were not interested in going, mainly b/c Peter’s paternal grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation in Korea after WWII so Peter’s dad is a bit, bitter, for lack of a better word.]

We didn’t know when we’d be going, but with the fast turn of events at the beginning of this year, with Peter getting into bootcamp, quitting his job, etc., and my parents being available as well, we bought tickets just 3 or 4 wks before our departure (with points! yay free flights!) and started getting super excited for Japan! I asked my older brothers if they wanted to split the airfare for our parents from Manila and they said yes~ whoo! So they paid for my parents’ flights. Peter and I took care of the housing/transportation/food. *FAMILY TEAMWORK!* 😀

We met up my parents Mar. 1 at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Always so happy whenever I get to reunite with my parents. I suppose I’ll need to do a post about them being missionaries in the Philippines sometime =p but yea, since we live in different countries, I usually only see them once, twice if lucky, a year. So anyway, the reunion was lovely~. We spent the first 2 nights in Tokyo at an airbnb in Ikebukuro, then headed to Kyoto on the shinkansen (bullet train). We slept at a hotel there for 2 nights, and on the evening of the 5th day, my parents went back to Manila.

Peter and I headed to Osaka, where we spent one night at another airbnb, then took the shinkansen back up to Tokyo. We spent 2 more nights in Tokyo and on our 8th day, after busting a mission to find Mizuki from Terrace House (lol) we were airport-bound. After a 20 hour layover in Hong Kong, we flew back to the US.

I’ll cover this trip in detail over the next series of posts, followed by a final reflection at the end. We’ll also be making a video of all the vlogging we did on our Akaso, but not sure that’ll be done any time soon. Anyway–stay tuned! 🙂