Sunday, November 30, 2008

the rest of Thanksgiving break...

Just because we had an awesome party for Thanksgiving doesn't mean the rest of the weekend wasn't fun.


Dad wanted to look for Black Friday deals and took us to Fry's Electronics and Wal-Mart after breakfast. He had hoped to buy some hard drives, digital cameras and an iPod. However, they were all sold out; no wonder people are willing to camp out in the parking lot.

Our intention was to visit my cousins Connie and Cathy in the afternoon. But what we didn't know is that the Shiehs already had plans. They were actually just getting ready to leave when we showed up. We didn't want to delay them and only stayed to give them the presents. Seeing that it wasn't too late, my parents and I went hiking in the nearby Stevens Creek County Park instead.

Other than that, I saw the 2007 film Next after before going to bed. The ability to see a few minutes into the future would be cool and terrifying at the same time.


The three of us went hiking again on Saturday morning. This was relaxing as the temperatures were just right.

The Shiehs must have felt bad about turning us away because they invited us over for dinner. That was certainly a pleasant surprise. I then watched Rambo at their house. The movie had lots of great action!


The nice weather allowed us to go on yet another hike. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has always been one of our favorite places. The rest of the day was uneventful, although I saw Spider-Man 2 in the evening. So yeah, my Thanksgiving break was awesome.

Having said that, I should probably get back to work as I have two class projects due soon and an upcoming final exam. Peace!

Currently watching: Spider-Man 2

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving party report

You may remember that we had a big Thanksgiving party last year. That was so much fun that we decided to throw another one tonight. Our guests were the Liu, Wang and two Lin families. The Tsaos couldn't come this time, but I'm not going to complain as there were already close to 20 people!

The nice thing about having a potluck is the large variety of food. Here is a picture of the dinner table for those curious. I bought some chocolate Newman-O's and Fig Newmans at Berkeley after figuring it would be a great way to honor the late Paul Newman. The snacks must have been delicious as they were gone in less than 15 minutes.

The party also doubled as a birthday celebration for Charlie, who just turned 16 years old. His parents brought out a huge cake after dinner. Of note is that Charlie also loves fireworks; he and I went to the backyard to light some sparklers later in the evening. It's always nice to meet a fellow fireworks enthusiast. :-)

Charlie's family also brought their Wii. The kids had a great time with Wii Sports and Wii Play in our family room. Even the non-gamers got into the action. I thought the cow-riding mini-game in Wii Play was hilarious. Yet all good things must come to an end: our guests soon began leaving as it was getting late. On the whole, I really enjoyed the gathering. Only five weeks left until New Year's Eve!

This year, I'm thankful for supportive parents, great professors and my religion, Buddhism. While I may not be that devout, I can attest that my faith has gotten me through hard times.

The fun isn't over because there is a chance we'll visit my cousins Connie and Cathy tomorrow. After all, the long weekend has only just started. :-)

Currently listening to: John Denver - Live in the USSR

Sunday, November 16, 2008

damn hard drive failure...

Long story short, the hard drive of my Dell Dimension 3000 failed. The PC started acting up last Thursday and wouldn't boot most of the time. Windows would occasionally load but invariably display the Blue Screen of Death.

Dad took the computer to my uncle Dong (who is good with these things) and was told that the hard drive had died. The good news is that I was able to recover most of my files. While some of them were corrupted, the critical ones were intact. Phew!

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining: I got a shiny new HDD with 466 GB of free space. The downside is that I had to install all those programs and Windows updates again, but that's ultimately better than losing years of data. I'm also extremely lucky that this didn't happen in the middle of an important project. Lesson learned: I should probably start doing regular backups soon.

I did have to miss the dance at Stern last Friday as a result, although that's a relatively minor inconvenience. Oh well, one cannot expect everything to be perfect.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations, President-elect Obama!

While I normally don't write about politics on this blog, I'm thrilled to learn that Sen. Obama will be the next President of the United States. America has made history by electing its first African-American president. Eight years of Bush is more than enough, so this is certainly nice for a change.

On the other hand, McCain gave an amazing concession speech. I wish more politicians would follow his example. I'm aware that some of his supporters are upset about the results, but the world isn't going to end simply because their candidate of choice didn't win. At least I hope not!

Some people from our residential unit gathered in the TV lounge to watch the election. There was a strong sense of patriotism after the election was called. I saw someone hang an American flag from the window and also heard others blasting patriotic music. If only fireworks were legal here. :-)

In any case, here's to hoping the next four years will be better than how the last eight went!

Currently listening to: Independence Day soundtrack - "End Titles"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a rather disappointing Halloween...

I'm usually not one to complain, but Halloween kind of sucked. While there were several Halloween-themed events at Berkeley in the past few days, none of them were too exciting.

For example, my residential unit had an amazing haunted house last October. That event was intense and actually made me jump a couple of times. But the one this year was rather boring: the entire "tour" lasted no more than two minutes, and there was absolutely nothing scary about it.

The Monster Bash was also mediocre compared to the one in 2007 - the latter of which was awesome. Case in point, the DJs didn't play any slow songs this time and even seemed irritated when I requested one. The fact that the dance ended five minutes early didn't help the issue. I've posted a review here for those curious.

On the other hand, I met a fellow LUE2 user at the Monster Bash. That was quite unexpected, especially considering that the forum has few members. Talk about a small world!

Currently listening to: "Ghostbusters"