Friday, December 23, 2011

last day at Cisco

So my one-year contract at Cisco ended. I wasn't let go for performance, but for lack of funding. Though the contract was supposed to expire mid-November, my manager Bing was able to find last-minute funds to extend it to the end of the year. I'm truly grateful for her help.

The departure from Cisco wasn't without fanfare. For a start, my supervisor Min organized a farewell lunch for me two days ago. She says it's an honor rarely given to people that leave the team. Bing and Min ordered tons of food, all of which was delicious. You can see pictures from the meal here.

Another nice thing is that I got some Christmas presents: Bing gave me an iPod Shuffle while Vicky gave me a pocket watch. I also received a gift bag from Christine, my relationship manager at Armada. There are no words to express my gratitude. It was an awesome end to an awesome career. I'm blessed to have had the chance to work with such wonderful people.

Looking back

A disadvantage of being a contractor is the limited benefits package. We get paid slightly less as the staffing agency has to take a cut. While salary wasn't a big deal to me, one of my grievances is that some events were restricted to regular employees.

The biggest downer is not being able to attend TechZone, an internal conference for engineers to demo their projects. The fact that the executives were constantly pitching the event didn't help. People couldn't even share pictures because of an NDA. :-(

On the other hand, I got to attend some of the Armada Group's events in addition to those at Cisco. Case in point, I really enjoyed the family picnic in October. That was my first company picnic in over 11 years and no doubt exciting.

Every job is a learning experience. Having learned a lot during my time on the TelePresence team, I hope to put my newfound knowledge to good use. One thing for sure is that I'll miss my co-workers at both Cisco and Armada.

As graceful as the exit from Cisco was, becoming unemployed right before Christmas sucks no matter how you look at it. The whole day was somewhat bittersweet. On the bright side, I get to enjoy a very long vacation. :P

Currently listening to: "Hey Santa!" by Carnie & Wendy Wilson

Thursday, December 8, 2011

one-year anniversary at Cisco + holiday party!

"Looks like this party is for you." -- Lakshmi

Today is my first anniversary at Cisco Systems. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I joined the team. It still feels like I just started working. Time certainly flies.

The cool thing is that our business unit had its annual holiday party at a nearby hotel tonight. The event was lots of fun; there was music, lots of food, prize drawings and even a photo booth. You can see my pictures from the event here. Some of my colleagues knew it was my work anniversary and joked that the company was throwing this party just for me. :-)

I wish I could say all is well, but that is unfortunately not the case. From what my supervisor told me last month, my manager is letting me go at the end of the year due to insufficient funds to renew my contract. Though the Armada Group is treating this as a layoff so I could get unemployment benefits, losing my job just before Christmas still kind of sucks.

As for the next steps, I haven't decided whether to continue my job search or try to go back to school. Decisions, decisions.

Currently listening to: "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Thursday, December 1, 2011

finally jumping on the iPad bandwagon...

Our new iPad 2 just arrived. Dad had ordered the model with 3G and 64 GB of storage. He also bought a cover for the iPad as mobile screens tend to be easily scratched. One thing for sure is that the 3G will be useful on long road trips.

The iPad needs to be charged first; this will likely take a couple of hours and put my patience to the test. In the meantime, I'm going to check the App Store to see what apps are available. :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving break report

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving break is already over. I'm not going to lie - these holidays are never long enough. That said, the past four days were rather eventful.

Thursday

The break had a rough beginning. The plan was to have dinner with the Shieh family as they had recently invited us. However, they were so busy preparing for their move to SoCal that they completely forgot about our get-together. Oh dear!

Mom wanted to confirm with the Shiehs but couldn't reach them. The call didn't get through until past dinner time. As a result, Thanksgiving was effectively ruined. I suggested looking for restaurants with Thanksgiving specials, but my mother was no longer in the mood to eat out. :-(

Dad actually still took me to visit the Shiehs afterwards, albeit for a completely different reason: one of his laptops had a dead hard drive that Uncle Dong had offered to help replace. He didn't lose too much data as the last backup was made two weeks ago, but having to install Windows and everything else again was a pain in the ass. Though it was nice to hang out with my cousins and Connie's friend Luc in the meantime, things were a little awkward given what happened.

Wanting to make our Thanksgiving more exciting, Mom proposed checking out some Black Friday sales that were starting at midnight. The three of us went to Macy's and Kohl's but ultimately didn't buy anything due to the insanely long lines. It was almost 2 a.m. when we got home!

This year, I'm extremely grateful for the $100 gift cards to Sino and Straits that I got from my boss at Cisco. I certainly wouldn't have been able to treat my parents to lunch at Santana Row multiple times otherwise. Thanks, Bing!

Friday

The highlight of the day was our family friend Fennah's reading club meeting. Seeing that the first few hours were for members to discuss their latest read, I decided to use this time to finish my homework for an online networking class. However, because my ThinkPad T42 wouldn't connect to the Wi-Fi due to its wireless adapter being too old, I ended up playing some games instead.

The discussion was followed by a potluck dinner. Everyone brought so much food that we were absolutely full when it was time to leave. The gathering was enjoyable even though I was the only young person there. You can view the pictures at Flickr.

Right after getting home, my father ordered an iPad 2 using the $100 Black Friday discount on the Apple website. I can't wait until it arrives!

Saturday

All of us wanted to relax after two busy days. Saturday was mostly uneventful aside from a hike in Rancho San Antonio County Park in the afternoon. The three of us started out later than usual; as the sun sets early at this time of the year, the sky was completely dark when we got back to the parking lot. This was a surreal experience.

Sunday

Dad wanted to set up an external hard drive for backing up all of our computers. This took up the entire morning, so we didn't get to do much else besides go for a stroll in the neighborhood after dinner. On the bright side, our new backup system should make future hard drive crashes slightly less annoying.

The break was overall amazing despite what happened on Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to Christmas for sure.

Currently playing: Kirby Super Star

Monday, October 31, 2011

not a bad Halloween...

I had a pretty good Halloween.

The festivities started last Friday with "Diwaloween" at Cisco. Given that Diwali and Halloween are so close together this year, the TelePresence team decided to celebrate both at the same time. There was lots of food and music, and some people even got up to dance. I've posted pictures from the event on Flickr as well as two videos on YouTube.

As for Halloween itself, Cisco hosted a costume contest in the afternoon. From what I've heard, the company has never done anything like this before. Given that Cisco as a whole usually doesn't have many social events, this was no doubt nice for change. I didn't dress up myself but enjoyed seeing what other people were wearing.

Two of Dad's business associates came over for dinner in the evening. You can go here for pictures of the food. This wasn't a Halloween party per se as the date was purely coincidental, but it was still a cool experience. I later passed out candy to the kids, something I hadn't done in 11 years. Here are the stats for those curious:

Total trick-or-treaters: 45
First arrival: 6:45 p.m.
Last arrival: 8:57 p.m.
Candy given out: 46 pieces

Even though I'm way too old for trick-or-treating, Halloween just might become one of my favorite holidays again. :-)

In other news...

I didn't feel like making another post, but my family went to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and Nevada City on the 22nd. The fall foliage in Nevada City was beautiful. We ordered coffee and a dessert at one of the cafés before hiking some local trails. It was an amazing day trip; you can go here for the pictures.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

first company picnic in 11 years!

Today was super exciting as my staffing company had its annual family picnic. The Armada Group always puts on awesome events, this one being no exception. I hadn't been to a corporate picnic in over 11 years and was looking forward to this for a long time.

John D. Morgan Park in Campbell was the perfect venue. The event was scheduled to start an hour before noon, but we figured few people would show up at 11 a.m. on the dot. While the crowd wasn't as big as I had expected, that didn't make the party any less enjoyable. I had a great time meeting everyone's families and reconnecting with people from the spring party in April.

All of the food was delicious. There was also a balloon artist and inflatable castle as the event was geared towards families with children. This brought back memories of Dad's company picnics. Though my parents felt a bit out of place due to everyone else bringing their kids instead, the three of us overall had lots of fun.

The weather was pretty hot for this time of the year. However, relief came in the form of an ice cream man who saw the business potential. I couldn't resist the temptation and bought an ice cream cup - another thing I hadn't done in ages.

Also worth mentioning is that Crystal, one of our recruiting managers, later invited me to join her in the bouncy house. I said I was too old for that, but Crystal revealed she was a year older than me. She definitely had a point. Oh, to be young again!

On the whole, the picnic totally rocked. It was like a throwback to my childhood. I can't wait to see what other things the Armada Group has planned. In the meantime, I've posted some pictures at Flickr. Another guest, Douglass, has made a slide show of the event; you can view that here.

Currently listening to: William Tell Overture

Monday, October 10, 2011

happy 26th birthday to me!

I just turned 26 years old. Gosh, how does time go so fast?

The nice thing is that my mother made a green tea cake for me to share with my colleagues at Cisco. It was no surprise that everyone loved the cake as everything Mom makes is absolutely delicious. I didn't actually tell anyone it was my birthday in order to keep a low profile, but some of my co-workers still guessed it.

Later in the evening, my parents took me to Fiesta Del Mar in Mountain View for dinner. The food was pretty good when we went there for my 17th birthday nine years ago and didn't disappoint this time either. We actually sat at the same table!

Considering that we don't dine out on Mondays too often, I can't help but feel like it's the weekend. One thing for sure is that the next four days are going to be long. :\

Thursday, September 1, 2011

an exhausting summer

One thing about having a regular job is that I still have to work in the summer. In other words, there are no month-long breaks or anything. Sometimes it feels like I don't even have time to catch my breath. There's a joke on the Internet that goes, "You know you're out of college when... you go from 130 days of vacation time to 14." So true.

That said, summer wasn't too bad. For a start, my family went to far Northern California during the Memorial Day weekend. The getaway was quite fun aside from a few mishaps. Yet we don't travel as much as we used to. This is actually the first time in eight years that we had only one trip between May and August.

On the other hand, the three of us tried several new restaurants. Heavenly Café in Scotts Valley was one of my favorites. Having passed it many times, I figured we had to eat there. The atmosphere was amazing, and the food didn't disappoint either. I also treated my parents to lunch during the Mother's Day and Father's Day weekends. This was followed by the 4th of July meal with the Shiehs.

There was also the GlobalFoundries Global Technology Conference two days ago. Dad took me and Mom along after having heard there would be free food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all provided. This was certainly another highlight of the summer. I've posted pictures from the event here.

To tell you the truth, it kind of stinks that I get so little time off now that I'm out of school. As much as I love my job, I can't wait until I retire. On the bright side, at least the Labor Day weekend is coming up. :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July weekend report

I had a great long weekend. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays for a reason. :-)

Friday

It was a busy day as we mostly shopped for gardening supplies. Because Dad needed material for his projects, I spent much of the day at Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware with my parents. This was kind of exhausting but beats sitting in the office.

Saturday

The day began with a drive to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park - one of our favorite weekend destinations. Dad wanted to leave right after breakfast so that it wouldn't be too hot outside when we arrived. I'm glad I didn't get up too late because the weather was already quite warm. At any rate, the trails were nice and made for an enjoyable hike.

I then treated my parents and the Shiehs to lunch at a restaurant at Santana Row called Straits. This was possible because my manager at Cisco had generously given me a $100 gift card. Everything we ordered was delicious. The only downside is that my uncle Dong couldn't join us.

Cathy returned the favor by buying us dessert at the nearby Cocola Bakery after the meal. The blackberry mousse was really tasty and had a beautiful presentation. The lunch was easily the best part of the long weekend.

Sunday

The highlight of the day was a chili cook-off in Palo Alto. The venue was extremely crowded - it's like half of the city was there. Though we wanted to buy a tasting kit and try the chili, the long lines and the heat changed our minds. I chatted with a couple of hot chicks before leaving. ^_^

The next stop was Fry's Electronics as Dad needed some VGA cables. Given the high temperatures, none of us wanted to go anywhere else. Heat aside, the long weekend couldn't have been better. You can view my pictures here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day weekend report

I hope all you dads out there had a great Father's Day weekend. At least mine did, considering that I treated my parents to lunch again. :-)

Saturday

The day began with a trip to Muir Woods National Monument as we hadn't been there in a while. The trails were beautiful and made for a great hike. Our next stops were Muir Beach Overlook and Stinson Beach, followed by the Point Reyes Lighthouse in the afternoon. Although we had been to the lighthouse before, this was our first time going inside. It was a busy day as we were out for 10 hours!

Sunday

The best part of the weekend was taking my parents out to lunch. They chose Sino again because I still had about $43 left on my gift card. Mom suggested ordering everything from the dim sum menu this time as some of the entrées were overcooked when we came here last month. It wasn't a bad decision because the dim sum was delicious, especially the shrimp dumplings and pork buns.

All in all, this was an amazing weekend. I've uploaded pictures from our day trip and yesterday's lunch.

Currently listening to: "Nemo" by Nightwish

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day weekend + Northern California trip report

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. At least my family did, considering that we went to far Northern California. It was a crazy trip with road closures, food poisoning and whatnot. Despite the mishaps, the trip was a great way to start summer.

Day 1

The first stop was Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. The park is known for its steam trains and not unlike Roaring Camp in Felton. The train rides looked fun, but we weren't eager to find out the ticket prices. Nevertheless, Railtown 1897 is an attraction I'd like to visit again.

Not too far away was Columbia State Historic Park - located about 15 minutes to the north. Unlike our last visit six years ago, the weather wasn't too hot this time. This made our visit much more enjoyable. Dad also took us to Sonora afterwards. Browsing the stores there was the best part of the trip.

The plan was to stay two nights in Mammoth Lakes. But there was some bad news: Route 108 was closed due to the weather when we were just 20 miles from town. To make matters worse, the deadline for canceling the reservation had passed. Although my father chose to take the 250-mile detour rather than let the money go to waste, the distance proved to be too much. Just when it seemed we were out of options, he managed to get the credit transferred to a partner hotel in Auburn. It was decided to cut the trip short as we were all tired.

Day 2

I felt refreshed after a good night's sleep. Thinking it was a shame to go home so soon, especially after having spent so much time planning the trip, my parents extended it back to three days. Dad booked a hotel in Redding as we were packing up. Hell yeah!

Auburn was a quiet city with a rustic feel. The restaurants in the Old Town looked nice, but we just had breakfast and were pretty full. I'd love to try the local food on a future visit to Auburn.

The plan was to go hiking in Clear Lake State Park in the afternoon. But when we got there, Mom noticed the trails were dry and had no shade. That made us change our minds - paying $7 for a sunburn wasn't exactly a good deal. The rest of the day was uneventful aside from a stop at Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay after dinner. The bridge was a cool sight and made for great pictures.

Day 3

Mom wanted to return to Sundial Bridge in the morning for more pictures. It was equally impressive in the daytime. She then suggested going to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park after lunch. Because we really enjoyed Burney Falls on our trip to far Northern California five years ago, that was our next stop.

We were told there was a "medical emergency" in the park as we arrived. Lots of police, firefighters and paramedics soon showed up. Some rangers watched the river while a CAL FIRE helicopter circled above. It quickly became apparent that someone had fallen into the water. The rangers then began clearing the area, at which point we decided it was best to leave.

I later learned that a 16-year-old boy had drowned near the waterfall. This is a sad situation and not what we wanted to hear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man's family during their difficult time. Upon leaving Burney Falls, I realized how precious life really is.

The three of us headed to Lassen Volcanic National Park after digesting what just happened. Aside from a quick stop at Lake Manzanita, our stay was short as much of the park was inaccessible due to the recent storm. However, this wasn't a big deal as we had been to Lassen before.

The other thing is that my father got food poisoning from bad quiches. He was very tired and didn't eat much when we went to Denny's for dinner. Despite not feeling well, Dad was OK with stopping at WinCo Foods for groceries. The drive home was otherwise uneventful.

Conclusions

I'm not going to lie - this was a crazy trip. Due to the road closures and long drives, all of us were exhausted when we got home. I can hardly believe we were only away for three days!

The tragedy at Burney Falls was a sobering experience and certainly put a damper on the mood. That said, the rest of the trip wasn't too bad. Sonora was my favorite stop, although Old Town Auburn was also pretty nice. All things considered, I really enjoyed this trip. Feel free to check out the pictures on Flickr.

Currently listening to: "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day weekend report

I took my parents out to lunch for the first time ever this weekend. It was quite a special experience!

Saturday was a busy day as I mostly helped out in the garden. Dad is putting up nets as my mother wants to protect the vegetables from birds. The first step was to install the supports. This took up the morning and afternoon, but we got most of it done.

The highlight of the Mother's Day weekend was treating my parents to lunch. I took them to Sino, an Asian fusion restaurant at Santana Row in San Jose. Because I had a $100 gift card to that place, Mom figured this was the perfect time to use it up. I owe my gratitude to my boss Bing at Cisco as she gave me the gift card a few weeks ago.

Service was relatively fast despite the crowd. The entrées were slightly overcooked, but the dim sum and dessert were really good. One thing that caught my eye were the hot hostesses. I couldn't resist flirting chatting with them while waiting for the food. Of course, that's as far as I went because they probably get hit on all the time. ^_^

You can see pictures from the lunch on Flickr. This is definitely something I want to do again. This reminds me - Father's Day is next month. I'm looking forward to it for sure.

After we got home, I helped Dad with yard work for the rest of the afternoon. The good news is that we got the poles and wires in place. All we need now are the nets!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good riddance, Osama.

In case you haven't seen the news, Osama bin Laden has been confirmed dead. Some sources say he was shot while others report he was killed in an airstrike. But that's not important - the matter of fact is that the mastermind behind 9/11 is now where he belongs.

Although I'm not one to gloat over someone's death, I'd say Osama has gotten his comeuppance. Justice has been served.

Currently listening to: "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin

Sunday, April 10, 2011

my first corporate party!

Last night was The Armada Group's staff appreciation party at The Tech Museum in San Jose. This was my first time attending an office party as an employee. It was so much fun!

The museum had changed a lot since my last visit 12 years ago. Though we only had the second floor, that was more than enough space for everyone. The exhibits were fascinating and brought back memories of going to the Exploratorium as a kid.

I got to meet the other contractors and the team at Armada. It was great to see the Jaus again as Kitty had recently left Cisco. However, the best part was connecting with other young people. Among them were three interns and two of their girlfriends - all UC Santa Cruz students. I was only at UCSC for a quarter, but we still found common ground.

Of course, no party is complete without lots of delicious food. There was also a DJ and a dance floor, although everyone seemed more interested in socializing rather than busting a move. On the whole, the event was quite enjoyable. I definitely can't wait for the family picnic in October. In the meantime, feel free to check out my pictures from the party on Flickr.

Currently listening to: "Red Red Wine" by UB40

Thursday, April 7, 2011

RuneScape account hacked again :-(

I had trouble logging into RuneScape today and went to reset my password. It turned out my main account somehow got hacked. The person must have guessed the answers to my security questions because a virus scan came up negative.

The good news is that the bank PIN did its job. This was a close call because the PIN was just seven hours from being deleted. On the downside, the hacker wiped my friends list as well. It'll be a pain in the ass to re-add everyone. >:(

I searched some RuneScape hacking forums but didn't find any mention of my name. Back when I got hacked eight years ago, being the 36th person to get 99 Cooking made me somewhat famous. Though 99's are very common these days, I'm also one of the first 2,000 players to sign up as well as a former player moderator. From what I've heard, these accounts are often targeted.

Of note is that my AIM account was also recently hacked, although I have no idea if that was related. At any rate, I should probably be more careful.

In other news...

1. There is an upcoming five-day furlough at Cisco, but my supervisor said it doesn't apply to me because I'm on the core team. So that means no spring break for me. On the other hand, being exempt from a furlough is usually a good sign. :-)

2. I recently mentioned that we were removing our swimming pool. The demolition has been completed and took about a month. You can see a few pictures on Flickr. I'll have to admit that I'm a little sad as the pool was a part of my childhood. Oh well, that's life.

Currently playing: RuneScape

Sunday, April 3, 2011

back from Yosemite

I just got back from Yosemite National Park with my parents. Dad realized we hadn't been there in over five years and decided to take us there over the weekend. It was a refreshing trip!

Day 1

The traffic was light and allowed us to arrive earlier than expected. Our only stop along the way was Merced Fruit Barn. The place had a homely feel, especially the café. I wouldn't mind having lunch here in the future.

Dad had originally booked the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. The lodge is located inside the park and supposed to be quite beautiful. But because it was closed for repairs, management gave us a room at the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp instead. This was actually a better deal because the latter was more expensive. I'm not complaining about the free breakfast either. :-)

Though it was raining when we arrived in Fish Camp, the weather cleared up shortly afterwards. The timing couldn't have been better. From our experience, the alpine air is always fresh after a shower. This made for a great hike.

The afternoon ended with a visit to Yosemite Village, one of my favorite stops. Seeing that it would take an hour to get back to the lodge, my parents bought dinner at the Yosemite Village store. The chicken drumstick was slightly overcooked, but the carnitas was delicious.

Day 2

The breakfast at Tenaya was wholesome. We decided to explore the park some more as the weather was even better. Hiking on the Yosemite Falls Trail was the best part of the trip. Of course, all good things must end: my parents didn't want to stay too late because tomorrow is Monday and they didn't want me to go to work tired. The drive home was mostly uneventful, although we had dinner at Applebee's in Tracy before heading to the nearby WinCo Foods for groceries.

On the whole, this was an awesome trip. Feel free to check out the pictures on Flickr.

Currently listening to: "Oh My Darling, Clementine"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

getting rid of the pool today

After weighing options for some time, we've decided to take the plunge and have our swimming pool removed. If everything goes to plan, the contractors will start draining it this afternoon.

You see, the pool started leaking last month. Figuring the cost of fixing it would be much higher in the long run, my parents opted to remove the pool. This wasn't an easy decision: even though it was rarely used in recent years, the pool has great sentimental value because we've had it since moving here 17 years ago. I'm definitely a little sad to see it go.

On the bright side, demolishing the pool will help save at least $2,000 a year in maintenance costs. It also means we'll be getting a more spacious backyard. Although we haven't yet decided what to do with the extra space, Mom's thinking about expanding her organic vegetable garden.

Funnily enough, I was afraid of water as a kid and begged to have the pool drained when we moved to our current home. You could say I finally got my wish after all those years. The other thing is that I constantly feared someone would accidentally fall in and drown. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but at least that's one less thing to worry about. Haha.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chinese New Year report

Lunar New Year might be one of my new favorite holidays.

For starters, the TelePresence team at Cisco went out for dim sum on Chinese New Year's Eve. Our group had around 40 people and took up several tables. It was a no-host lunch, but the $15 was well spent as all of the food was quite good. Click here for pictures from the meal.

The Armada Group brought us lunch the next day as it was Lunar New Year. The butter chicken was one of the best things I've ever tasted. I didn't know Indian food could be so damn delicious. This is one reason I love my job.

Continuing on, the Shiehs had us over for dinner on the 5th. It was great to see my cousin Cathy again. Her friend Christina was going to stop by but came down with food poisoning and had to cancel. I definitely hope there will be other opportunities to get to know her better.

The weekend concluded with the Liu family - our new neighbors two houses down - inviting us and another couple over. The kids and I watched Super Bowl XLV while the others helped make dumplings. There was so much food that I was quickly full. The not-so-fun part is that I had an awful bad headache, but that fortunately went away after a good night's sleep.

On the whole, this was one of our best weekends ever. You can go here for the pictures.

Currently listening to: "I Do (Cherish You)" by 98 Degrees

Monday, January 3, 2011

a short but exciting Christmas break

I'm now back in the office as the holidays are over. One thing about having a regular job is that vacation days are scarce. That said, the break was nice.

For starters, the Shiehs invited us over for lunch on Christmas. Aunt Cynthia and my cousin Connie both made lots of delicious food. Everyone had such a good time that we stayed for dinner. You can go here for the pictures.

This was followed by a day trip to Monterey on the 27th. I enjoyed checking out the restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf and trying the clam chowder samples. The food on display looked appetizing - the only reason we didn't eat here is that we had leftovers at home. Monterey is definitely a place I'd like to revisit in the future. I've posted pictures from the day trip on Flickr.

Continuing on, Dad took us to Tahoe three days later. The trip was short but really fun. After getting home, the three of us went to Cynthia's house again to celebrate New Year's Eve with the Shiehs. So yeah, the break was awesome.

Currently listening to: "Auld Lang Syne"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011, y'all

It feels like 2010 has just started. Can you believe 2011 is already here?

I'll start by saying that we didn't have anyone over for New Year's Eve as neither of the families we invited could come. On the other hand, my family had dinner with the Shiehs at my aunt Cynthia's house. I definitely can't complain!

Connie had recently left for San Diego, but Cathy was home. It was nice to watch the Times Square ball drop with my cousin after dinner. Cathy's friend Christina later came over and seemed like a cool person. Though I wanted to stay and get to know her better, Dad was tired and wished to go home. I felt it would be selfish to keep my parents waiting just to talk to a girl. Oh well, there are probably other chances to get acquainted.

Considering that our own New Year's Eve party was canceled, I'm thankful that we got to spend time with the Shiehs.

2010 in review

Last year was pretty tough. The worst part was when my father lost his job. It didn't help that our car was burglarized six days later. Another unpleasant memory was when an "FBI agent" accused me of aiming my laser at aircraft during the Moonlight Train Dinner Party at Roaring Camp. Though we figured he was an impostor, our evening was ruined. I had looked forward to the event for years and was pretty pissed off. Dad had paid $135 for the tickets and understandably wasn't too happy either.

On a more positive note, the best part of 2010 was finishing graduate school. It took a huge financial burden off our shoulders, not to mention we had an awesome party on the last day of class. Thanksgiving break was also lots of fun. The dinner with the Panns and the day trip to Willits were both enjoyable.

All that having been said, it's best not to dwell on the past. Speaking of which, my New Year's resolutions for 2011 are to make more "offline" friends, improve my job performance and be nicer to my parents. Haha.

Currently playing: The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons