Monday, February 12, 2018

new iPad Pro!

So my father recently got a new iPad Pro. Because my mother felt that the display on our iPad 2 was too small, Dad decided this would be an excellent time for an upgrade. The 12.9" screen and the 256 GB of storage are really nice. The tablet is like a new laptop, only lighter!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Super Bowl weekend report

I had a pretty good weekend.

The first half of Saturday was uneventful as I was busy studying work-related things. However, our family friend Lily invited us over to dinner on Saturday. She prepared a nice hot pot with all the fixings. The Hsuehs had recently come back from a trip to Turkey, so we enjoyed hearing about the things she did there. The only downside is that Alan didn't come as he was very tired following a trip to Japan, but I'm sure there are opportunities for our families together again. Because there was nobody my age, I spent most of the time reading The Sparrow for my book club. It's a pretty interesting book so far.

Yesterday was Super Bowl II. I don't really follow American football but have always enjoyed watching the big game. I didn't root for any specific team this year, although I'm pretty impressed that the New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl twice in succession. It was overall a great game.

Another nice thing is that we're planning a trip to Alaska with the Changs this summer. Therefore, my parents went to Henry's house after dinner to discuss trip plans. So far, the trip is definitely happening. I'm pretty excited!

Currently reading: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I met Andy Weir!

You may recall that I joined a book club for people in their 20s and 30s a few months ago. Our club just met at an event featuring Pierce Brown and Andy Weir. It was really cool to meet the author of one of my favorite books!

The downer is that I didn't get my copy of The Martian autographed because Andy had to leave early for some errand. I understand that Andy doesn't owe us anything and isn't obligated to sign our books, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. On the bright side, at least I got to shake hands with him. Perhaps next time!

Also worth mentioning is that I ran into my old classmate Jessica from Egan and LAHS. It's always nice to see a familiar face even though we never really talked in school. Small world indeed.

Currently reading: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Monday, January 1, 2018

an eventful New Year

I hope everyone had a great New Year. Though our New Year's Eve dinner sucked, the past two days went pretty well.

Linda's holiday party

The nice thing is that our family friend Linda invited us and several other friends over on the 30th. Our group met at the Oakland California Temple for pictures as the view from the church was quite nice. Everyone then headed over to Linda's house for tea and snacks. The gathering was to be on New Year's Eve, but Linda accepted my mother's suggestion to move it forward a day so that it would be convenient for others. This was pretty fun even though it was all old people.

New Year's Eve report

The day had a good start as my father and I watched The Sting together. Dad wanted to see that movie again, so we went to get it at the library. The three of us then headed to Black Angus Steakhouse for dinner. Having enjoyed my birthday dinner so much, my parents figured this would be the perfect place to celebrate New Year's Eve.

However, this experience wasn't exactly stellar. For one, the service was slow and terrible. Dad had ordered a steak soup but got a loaded baked potato soup instead. In addition, the waiter forgot about our request for more bread. He also didn't bring us any hot waiter until we asked three times.

The waiter also got my father's order wrong three times. He wanted a steak soup but got a loaded baked potato soup instead. Dad likes his steak cooked to medium but got a well-done one instead. They made him a new one, but it was still overcooked. He begrudging accepted it because we had already wasted enough time. Last but not least, the check didn't come for 20 minutes due to "computer problems." I ended up missing the Times Square ball drop due to all the delays. Fuck them.

Though the restaurant had the decency to comp my father's meal, it's unlikely we'll ever return there. Back at home, the three of us finished watching The Sting before my parents went to bed. As midnight approached, I did a countdown with some people in RuneScape before calling it a day.

New Year's Day run

2018 had a great start as there was a Star Wars-themed New Year run in downtown Los Altos. Though we skipped the last one because it was too cold outside, the weather was just right today. This was definitely a great way to start the year!

2017 in review

The past year definitely had its ups and downs. Getting my new job was certainly the best thing that happened to me. Speaking of which, the company holiday cruise was one of the highlights of the year. The same could be said for our recent trip to Bakersfield.

But there were some not-so-glorious moments. The worst part was when our family friend Eileen passed away in the fall. She was one of the few people that really cared about us. Another thing was that I lost my job at Amazon Lab126 in the fall. Though I managed to get a new job just a few weeks later, being let go out of the blue certainly sucks.

All that having been said, one must look to the future. Speaking of which, my resolutions for 2018 are read more books and get a promotion at my new job. Challenge accepted!

Currently listening to: "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans

Thursday, December 28, 2017

back from Bakersfield

The holiday season has been nice as we went on a two-day trip to Bakersfield!

Day 1

The trip began with a 255-mile drive to Bakersfield. Aside from a bathroom break at Casa de Fruta and another stop at a rest area for lunch, the drive was uneventful. There was some traffic, although we didn't arrive too late.

We unpacked our stuff and had some rest before going to the local Albertson's to buy food. The three of us had dinner before heading down to the fitness center. It was nice to burn off calories while watching the football game between UCLA and Kansas State.

Day 2

All of us woke up pretty early and had trouble sleeping again. On the other hand, the nice part about getting up early is that there is plenty of time to explore the area. Following a nice breakfast at the hotel, my family headed to Red Rock Canyon State Park for a hike. This was pretty fun, although we spent much of the time in the car as it was getting hot outside. We had to drive some very bumpy gravel roads to get back to the freeway. This was definitely an adventurous moment. On the whole, I'd say Red Rock Canyon State Park was the best part of the trip.

We turned back towards Bakersfield, stopping in Tehachapi on the way. This was a small town and reminded us of Niles. We spend a short time exploring the downtown. Mom then suggested going to the nearby Burger Spot to try out their ostrich burger. It didn't taste too different than a regular hamburger but was still delicious.

Back in Bakersfield, the three of us visited three thrift shops and went to WinCo Foods and Von's for groceries. Dinner again consisted of frozen meals. There wasn't much else to do in the area, although I watched X-Men: Days of Future Past on TV while my parents talked poetry.

Day 3

The three of us spent the morning exploring the downtown after another nice breakfast at the hotel. One notable stop was the Kern County Museum. It was really nice to check out the 50 original buildings from the county. The downside is that we wasted over half an hour here due to Groupon issues, but the clerk was kind enough to let us in for free our troubles.

This was followed by lunch at IHOP. The plan was to visit Taft as well, but we decided to leave that for another time as my parents were tired. The drive home was mostly uneventful.


Although we had passed Bakersfield a few times on previous trips, this was our first time exploring the area in full. The hike in Red Rock Canyon State Park was definitely my favorite part of the trip. It's too bad we didn't have time to visit Taft or Carrizo Plain National Monument due to time constraints, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities to go there in the future.

Currently listening to: "Fox on the Run" by Sweet

Friday, December 15, 2017

company holiday cruise

So my company had a holiday cruise in San Francisco this afternoon. It was so much fun!

I had to leave my house just after noon as boarding was scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Dad wanted to start out early because the route to San Francisco is often congested. The good news is that we arrived in San Francisco with plenty of time to spare. Because nobody else was there, my family went for a short stroll around the pier in the meantime. They then dropped me off at the gate as my co-workers started to arrive.

It was soon time to board the California Hornblower and get the party started. The boat then set sail 30 minutes later as dinner was served. The food wasn't that extraordinary - mainly because the prime rib was too tough - but that wasn't a big deal as the main purpose of the cruise was to have fun.

There was also a DJ on board. Though not many people got up to dance, our senior executive administrator Jonell was more than happy to hit the dance floor. She was the life of the party. A lot of people later got on the observation decks to watch the sunset. This was a wonderful experience and brought back memories of the sunset dinner cruise during our trip to Hawaii in 2002. The cruise also reminded me of the Boat Dance at Berkeley during my freshman year.

On the whole, the cruise couldn't have been better. I'd like to thank Jonell for organizing this event and am definitely looking forward to the one next year.

Currently watching: Wonder Woman (2017)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

book club holiday party report

Two months ago, I joined a book club for people in their 20s and 30s on the recommendation of my father. The nice thing is that we just had our annual holiday potluck and book exchange!

This year's event took at Elizabeth's house. After everyone got some food, each of us introduced ourselves before participating in the book exchange. Because we were going by white elephant rules, people were allowed to "steal" others' books. The whole thing was pretty hilarious. I gave away The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and ultimately received Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Though my top choice was "stolen" by others, I've heard Man's Search for Meaning is a great book too.

Our organizer Dane later brought out some board games. Everyone then decided to play the adult version of Codenames after the exchange. It definitely brought out the immature 14-year-old in all of us. I think our parents would freak out at all the dirty conversations being thrown around. :P

On the whole, the party was lots of fun. It was supposed to run from 4 to 8 p.m. per the invitation, but everyone had such a great time that some of us stayed for almost an extra hour. I'm glad I got into reading and am definitely looking forward to next year's event.

For those of my San Francisco Bay Area readers who may also be interested in joining our club, here is the link to our Meetup group. :-)

Currently reading: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones