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

Dad has been busy with our garden and needed supplies for his projects. Therefore, my family spent much of Friday shopping at Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware. This was kind of exhausting but beats sitting in the office.

Saturday

The three of us went hiking in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park right after breakfast. The hike was enjoyable as always. I'm glad I didn't get out of bed too late because the weather was quite warm.

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 amazing. 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. On the whole, 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 for the second time ever. :-)

To start off, my family went hiking in Muir Woods National Monument on Saturday morning. The trails were absolutely beautiful. Our next stops were Muir Beach Overlook and Stinson Beach before Dad took us 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!

For the Father's Day lunch, my parents chose Sino at Santana Row again because I had a gift card with about $43 left on it. Given that some of the entrées were overcooked on our last visit, the three of us only ordered from the dim sum menu this time. That wasn't a bad decision because the dim sum was delicious, especially the shrimp dumplings and pork buns.

All in all, the weekend was amazing. You can view my pictures from our day trip and Father's Day lunch here.

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 I did, considering that we went on a three-day trip to far Northern California. It was a crazy vacation with road closures, food poisoning and whatnot. Despite all that, the trip was lots of fun.

Day 1

The first stop was Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. The park is known for its steam trains and somewhat reminiscent of Roaring Camp in Felton. I'd love to ride one of the trains, but we weren't eager to find out the ticket prices. Railtown 1897 is nevertheless an attraction I'd like to visit again.

Columbia State Historic Park awaited us next. Unlike our last visit six years ago, the weather wasn't too hot. That made our stay much more enjoyable. The three of us then headed to Sonora and browsed the stores there. This was the best part of the trip.

The plan was to stay two nights in Mammoth Lakes. However, Route 108 was closed due to the weather when we were just 20 miles from town. The GPS showed a 250-mile detour. Yikes!

Dad tried to cancel our reservation but was told the deadline had passed. Although he decided to take the 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, my father 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 planned the trip for so long, my parents decided to extend it back to three days. Dad then booked a hotel in Redding. Sweet!

Auburn was a lovely city with a rustic feel. The restaurants in the Old Town looked nice, but we just had breakfast. I'd love to eat here on a future visit.

The plan was to go hiking in Clear Lake State Park in the afternoon. However, 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 in the evening. The bridge was a cool sight and made for some great pictures.

Day 3

The morning began with another visit to Sundial Bridge. It was equally impressive in the daytime. Mom suggested going to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park after lunch. The place was one of the highlights of our trip to far Northern California five years ago, so that's where we went.

Visitors were told there was a "medical emergency" on park grounds. Lots of police, firefighters and paramedics soon showed up. Some rangers were watching the river as 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 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. The park was only partially open because of the recent storm. Though we didn't stay too long, this wasn't a big deal as we've been here before.

There was more bad news: my father got food poisoning from bad quiches. He wasn't feeling well and didn't eat much when we stopped at Denny's for dinner. Our last stop on the way home was WinCo Foods for groceries.

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 the trip was only three days long!

The tragedy at Burney Falls was a sobering experience. It certainly put a damper on the mood. All things considered, the vacation was amazing. Sonora was my favorite stop, although Old Town Auburn wasn't too bad either. That said, the rest of the trip was equally exciting. I've posted some pictures here.

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 during the Mother's Day weekend. It was quite a special experience!

To start off, I spent most of Saturday helping out in the garden. Because my mother wants netting to protect the vegetables from birds, Dad and I worked on installing the supports. This was a demanding job, but at least we got most of it done.

For the Mother's Day lunch, my family went to Sino, an Asian fusion restaurant at Santana Row in San Jose. This was possible because my boss at Cisco had given me a $100 gift card. There are no words to express my gratitude.

Service was relatively fast despite the crowd. While the entrées were slightly overcooked, the dim sum and dessert were perfect. The hot hostesses quickly caught my eye; 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 here. This is definitely something I want to do again. At least Father's Day is coming up!

On the subject of which, 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 before the job is finished. :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good riddance, Osama.

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

While I'm not one to gloat over someone's death, I can't help but feel that Osama got what he deserved. Justice has been served.

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

Sunday, April 10, 2011

my first corporate party!

The Armada Group had its spring appreciation party last night. This was my first time attending a corporate function as an employee. It was quite exciting!

The event was held at the Tech Museum in San Jose. The place had changed a lot since my last visit 12 years ago. The exhibits were fascinating and brought back memories of going to the Exploratorium as a kid.

While most of the guests were much older than me, I did meet a group of five UC Santa Cruz students, namely three interns and two of their girlfriends. This was one of the highlights of the evening. We had much in common even though my time at UCSC was short.

The company ordered lots of food, all of which was delicious. 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 party was quite fun. I definitely can't wait for the family picnic in October. In the meantime, feel free to check out my pictures here.

Currently listening to: "Red Red Wine" by UB40

Thursday, April 7, 2011

RuneScape account hacked again :-(

I had trouble logging into RuneScape today and decided to reset my password. It turned out someone else had accessed my main account. The person must have guessed the answers to my security questions because a virus scan turned up nothing.

The good news is that my bank PIN did its job. This was a close call because the PIN was just seven hours from being deleted. However, the hacker wiped my friends list as well. Re-adding everyone will be a pain in the ass. >:(

A search on some RuneScape cheat sites didn't turn up anything. Back when I first got hacked eight years ago, I was somewhat famous at the time due to being the 36th person to get 99 cooking. But seeing that 99's are so common these days, there were likely other factors.

Speaking of which, I'm 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 the incidents are related. I should probably be more careful.

In other news...

1. There is an upcoming five-day furlough at Cisco, but my supervisor said I still have to work due to being 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 mentioned a few weeks ago that my family was getting rid of our swimming pool. The demolition has been completed and can been seen here. To be honest, 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 a two-day trip to Yosemite National Park with my parents. Dad realized we hadn't been to Yosemite 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. That left some free time, during which we stopped at Merced Fruit Barn. There was a homely feel to the place, especially the café. I wouldn't mind having lunch here in the future.

Dad had originally booked a room at 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 usually has higher rates, not to mention the free breakfast.

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 air in the mountains 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 weather today was even better. We explored the park some more after breakfast. The hike 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 I have work tomorrow. On the way home, my family had dinner at Applebee's in Tracy before heading to the nearby WinCo Foods for groceries.

Despite being only one night long, this was a memorable vacation. I've posted some pictures for your enjoyment.

Currently listening to: "Oh My Darling, Clementine"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

getting rid of the pool today

After weighing options for some time, my family has 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 a few weeks ago. Figuring that the costs of fixing and keeping it would far exceed that of removing it in the long run, my parents picked the latter option. This wasn't an easy decision: although 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, not to mention we'll be getting a more spacious backyard. While 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 immediately 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

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

Chinese New Year's Eve was great as the TelePresence team at Cisco went out for dim sum. Our group had around 40 people and took up several tables. All of the food was quite good. I had to pay my part of the bill as it wasn't reimbursable, but the $15 was well spent. You can view my pictures from the meal here.

The Armada Group treated us to lunch the day after that. 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 of the reasons I love my job.

Saturday was also pretty fun as the Shiehs had us over for dinner again. This was followed by our new neighbors, the Liu family two houses down, inviting us and another couple to their house last night. The kids and I watched Super Bowl XLV while the other adults helped make Chinese dumplings - which we promptly ate for dinner. I don't think I've ever seen so many jiaozi before. The not-so-fun part is that I had a really bad headache, but that fortunately went away after some rest.

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 holiday break has ended. One thing about having a regular job is that the vacations are much shorter. That said, I had an awesome week off.

For starters, Aunt Cynthia invited my family over for lunch on Christmas. The gathering turned out to be so much fun that we stayed for dinner as well. The Shiehs made lots of food, all of which was delicious. You can go here for the pictures.

This was followed by a day trip to Monterey on the 27th. The best part was checking out the restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf and trying the clam chowder samples. All of the food on display looked really good; the only reason we didn't stay for dinner is that we had leftovers at home. The day trip was overall enjoyable; Monterey is definitely a place I'd like to revisit in the future. I've posted pictures here.

Continuing on, the three of us went on a short trip to Tahoe three days later. The getaway rocked despite being only one night long. We got home just in time to join the Shieh family again for New Year's Eve. As you can see, the break was amazing!

Currently listening to: "Auld Lang Syne"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

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. Though Mom had invited two other families, neither of them could come. On the other hand, Aunt Cynthia had us over for dinner. I'm definitely not complaining!

Connie had left for San Diego a few days ago, but Cathy was home. It was nice to enjoy the food and watch the Times Square ball drop while hanging out with my cousin. Cathy's friend Christina later stopped by and seemed really cool. However, Dad was tired and wanted to go home. As much as I'd have loved to stay and get to know Christina better, I didn't want to be selfish and keep my parents waiting. Oh well, there are probably other chances to get acquainted.

Even though 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 in August. The car burglary six days later didn't help the issue. Another unpleasant memory was when an "FBI agent" accused me of aiming my laser at aircraft while we were at Roaring Camp. Though we quickly figured he wasn't a real FBI agent, our evening was ruined, especially considering that we had looked forward to the event for so long. 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 Willits day trip were highlights of the long weekend.

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