Sunday, July 25, 2010

back from Ukiah

Just because summer break is over doesn't mean the fun has to end. Speaking of which, I just came back from a trip to Ukiah with my parents!

Day 1

We had only driven a few blocks when a garage sale caught my eye. Dad pulled over so we could see what was available. I saw some nice items but didn't find anything useful. It wasn't long before we were back on the road.

The first real stop was the Santa Rosa Town Center. Because it was almost noon, my family had lunch in the car before exploring the area. I was surprised at how empty Borders was. Mom also wanted to walk to Cost Plus World Market at the nearby Santa Rosa Southside. She didn't see anything she needed, although I bought some snacks for the trip. :-)

Our car wouldn't start when it was time to leave. Dad called AAA and was told the battery was dead. Due to time constraints, he agreed to have it immediately replaced. There was a Lexus dealership just around the corner, but we took the AAA guy's word that his service was cheaper.

Ukiah was just an hour to the north. The plan was to go hiking in Smithe Redwoods State Reserve and Richardson Grove State Park after checking into our hotel. That was what made our last trip to Ukiah so much fun. However, I couldn't find either place no matter how hard I looked. It turns out my memory was wrong - the parks are located near Leggett rather than Ukiah. Oh well.

At any rate, the hotel was quite nice. The evening was mostly uneventful, although we had dinner at Denny's and checked out the nearby Wal-Mart.

Day 2

The morning began with a stop at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This was our first time here in several years. The three of us attended the morning sessions before heading to the dining hall for lunch. To support the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association - as well as give back to the community - we bought some vegetarian food at the on-site restaurant and made an additional donation.

Dad wanted to take us to Point Reyes afterwards, but our GPS kept giving us wrong directions. That went unnoticed for over 30 minutes, after which we decided not to turn back due to the high overhead. On the other hand, there was a roadside oyster bar on our way home. Price aside, the oysters Rockefeller was delicious. The day ended with a nice dinner at the Szechuan Taste Restaurant in San Francisco.


The original plan was to spend two nights in Ukiah. Though we decided to shorten our stay because there weren't many attractions, all of us had a great time. Speaking of which, the stop at the oyster bar was my favorite part of the trip. Sometimes it's the little things that matter the most. I've posted some pictures from our vacation.

In other news...

Dad recently got an Olympus SP-800UZ digital camera. The 30x zoom and 14 MP resolution are impressive!

Currently listening to: "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

one more quarter to go!

The final quarter at St. Mary's College has started. It's hard to believe I'm almost done with graduate school. Time certainly flies!

The break was short as we didn't get out until late June. Though I wish summer didn't end so soon, I'm not going to complain because it was really awesome. The 4th of July concert and the trip to Riverside were the best parts. :-)

Currently playing: Larry and the Gnomes

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

back from Riverside again

I just got back from Riverside again with my parents. You may remember that we went there in May to learn more about the statistics department at UC Riverside. The purpose of this trip was to get a closer look at housing options.

Day 1

It was a hectic morning because we didn't pack up. This is normally done the day before, but everyone was tired after a busy 4th. We hurried to the airport to find our flight delayed by almost 90 minutes. I could have used some extra sleep. :\

The flight to Ontario was uneventful. Dad rented a car and took us to several apartments in the area. Although I prefer living in a dorm, the apartments were cheaper and had fewer restrictions. Of note is that some offices were closed for the 4th of July weekend. I guess making this an overnight trip was the right decision.

The afternoon ended with an early dinner at IHOP. The food wasn't bad at all. As odd as it sounds, this was the best part of the trip. There wasn't much else to do, although we saw a beautiful sunset from our room. That alone made our stay worthwhile.

Day 2

The breakfast at the hotel was delicious too. Dad then took us back to the offices that were previously closed. It wasn't long before we found an apartment we liked. Two families that lived here were eager to make friends with us. One even invited us in for a chat. They were really nice people. I was getting hungry at this point but felt it would be rude to ask to be excused.

The three of us then had lunch at Coco's Bakery before going to UC Riverside to thank a professor who helped me get a conditional admission. Dad also wanted to look at furniture as the apartment is unfurnished. Our last stop before heading home was a nearby grocery store.

We arrived at Ontario International Airport to find that our flight home was also delayed, this time by about an hour. Lesson learned: always check flight status before rushing to the airport. On the other hand, I had a great conversation with a girl who was also studying statistics. :-)


Because the purpose of this trip was to learn more about the housing near the UC Riverside campus, our itinerary didn't include any tourist spots. That said, the dinner at IHOP and the sunset were quite memorable. Traveling is always fun regardless of the reason. I've posted some pictures from the trip.

At any rate, I'm extremely excited about moving to Riverside in September. It'll be challenging but probably nothing I can't handle. Bring it on!

Currently listening to: "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July report

I had a great 4th of July as we had a little party and went to a concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre!

Party report

You may recall that we went to Kitty's house for a barbecue on the 26th. It's only fair to return the favor, so we invited the Jaus and two of their relatives over for lunch. Mom made lots of delicious food as usual. Though Lawrence left early for personal reasons, everyone else stayed for several hours.

Symphony and fireworks

The three of us headed to Shoreline Amphitheatre for the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with the San Francisco Symphony after dinner. At first we thought it would be all classical music, but there were hits from various genres. As an added bonus, the orchestra played several pieces that weren't on the program. The best part was when the Star Wars theme came on during the fireworks!

The event concluded with a raffle. That was pretty fun even though we didn't win. Due to traffic, we were stuck in the area for a while. It was just past midnight when we got home. On the whole, the concert was an incredible experience.

Feel free to check out my pictures from the 4th. I've also posted a video of the fireworks.

Follow-up on the fake FBI guy

I recently contacted the FBI and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff to inquire about the "FBI agent" who tried to steal my laser. However, because neither agency has responded, I've filed a report with both of them - and the Santa Cruz Police Department for good measure. Here's to hoping they catch him.

All that having been said, I hope to attend the Moonlight Train Dinner Party again to make up for what happened. Mom isn't too keen on the idea, but I'm sure it would make a great date. If only I wasn't single. :-)

Even though that guy ruined the Moonlight Train Dinner Party for us, the concert definitely made everything better. The other good news is that we're heading to Riverside again after a good night's sleep. I'm so excited!

Currently listening to: "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel