Tuesday, December 24, 2013

back from Reno: a trip of many firsts

"Looks like shit is about to get serious!" -- me, on the $1 slots

I just got back from Reno with my parents. The reason for the trip was to explore the Pyramid Lake area. This was one of our best vacations ever!

Day 1

There were some delays because the preparations took longer than expected. On the other hand, traffic was fairly light. The first stop was an antique store in Vacaville, although my mother didn't find anything interesting. Vacaville is also home to a WinCo Foods store, but we decided to save that for the end of the trip.

The shops in Sacramento and Auburn had better items. Mom found some things she liked before we continued on to Boomtown Reno in Verdi. Speaking of which, Dad put the wrong address into the GPS and missed our exit. Oops. I'm glad I noticed it right away because going back would have taken a while.

Though it was late when we checked in, there was plenty of time for slots after dinner. Our earnings reached $10 at one point but soon went back to the house. Of course, that wasn't exactly surprising. I then tried video poker for the first time. Unlike most casino games, video poker has an element of skill. It was pretty enjoyable even though my luck wasn't great.

The day ended on a scary note: a guy was passed out on the casino floor as we made our way back to our room. That really freaked us out. I hope he'll be all right.

Day 2

All of us woke up early and couldn't fall back asleep. Therefore, the three of us got up around 7 a.m. to explore the area. I wanted to check out the nearby Cabela's store after seeing their ads in Field & Stream countless times. However, my family went to other places first as the store wasn't open yet.

We saw steam rising out of the ground at one point along the route. The steam turned out to be from a geothermal area called Nightingale Hot Springs. I wanted a closer look at the source, but it was fenced off and closed to the public. Oh well.

The gas station we stopped at had slot machines as well. Mom suggested giving them a try - and this wasn't a bad idea because I was up $1 a short time later. I figured it was best to cash out before losing it again. ^_^

The next point of interest was the Pyramid Lake Paiute Museum & Visitor Center in Nixon. The museum was small but had lots of Native American artifacts. I've always been fascinated by Native American culture and decided to donate the $1 we just won.

Pyramid Lake wasn't too far from here. The local geology was unlike anything I've seen. However, the pyramid-shaped formation that gave the lake its name was no longer open to the public. One of the locals told us this was due to vandalism. Fuck the idiots who ruin things for everyone. >:(

Another cool thing is that fireworks are legal here. I'd have bought some if they weren't sold out. Pyramid Lake is definitely a place I'd like to revisit.

Back in Reno, my father found more stores for our shopping pleasure. He also took us to Gold Dust West and Sands Regency at my mother's suggestion, although our luck wasn't extraordinary at either casino. This was followed by a stop at a family diner in Reno as we were all starving. The food was somewhat salty but otherwise delicious.

Cabela's was still open when we got back to Verdi. The store was huge and had tons of stuff. I had enjoyed looking around even though there was nothing we needed. All of us were exhausted after being on the road for 12 hours. But the fun wasn't over yet.

Upon returning to the hotel, my parents noticed our room hadn't been cleaned. Dad and I reported this to management and were told they would send someone up. However, they only put a "do not disturb" sign on our door. Lazy jerks. Only after I complained to the front desk again did housekeeping clean our room. On the bright side, the guy gave us lots of coffee packets. :-)

We went back to the casino after some rest. The cool thing is that Dad won $50 after a few minutes at the quarter slots. That was quite unexpected. He then suggested playing the $1 slots for shits and giggles. I don't think we've ever lost $10 so quickly before.

Day 3

It was time to begin our drive home. Our journey took us through Auburn again. Because I had always wanted to try the food here, my family had lunch at a restaurant called Auburn Alehouse. The food was all right but nothing to write home about.

Dad found several thrift stores along the route. The three of us also went back to the others to check for new items. The final stop was WinCo Foods in Vacaville for groceries.

We came home to find presents on our doorstep: a box of See's candies and a bottle of wine from our neighbor Bob. There was also a holiday gift basket from our financial advisor Kris. The holiday season is definitely off to a good start. :-)

Conclusions

This was one of our most enjoyable vacations. The best part was winning $50 at Boomtown Reno, although I really liked Pyramid Lake as well. I had no idea Nevada could be so much fun. It looks like we'll have to plan another trip soon. In the meantime, you can go here for the pictures.

Currently listening to: "Payphone" by Maroon 5

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

a longer Christmas vacation...

I'm taking the rest of December off. The good news is that I received the full three floating holidays for 2013 due to having worked the entire year. Because some vacation days don't carry over, I figured it would be best to use them up. That means I get a longer Christmas break this time. Woohoo!

I've delegated my duties to a colleague and will probably check in at the end of the month to make sure everything is running smoothly. Other than that, I'm free for the next two weeks. It's so nice to get some well-deserved rest. :-)

Currently playing: Angry Birds Seasons HD

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving long weekend report

Things were a bit different this year as we didn't have a Thanksgiving gathering. Although Mom extended a dinner invitation to Min, my former supervisor at Cisco, she had to tend to her mother's heart surgery in Taiwan and couldn't come. Having said that, the long weekend was amazing.

Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!

The plan was to go hiking in Rancho San Antonio County Park as we hadn't been there in a while. But after seeing the parking lots were all full, my family went to Stevens Creek County Park instead. This is another place we hadn't been to in ages. The most shocking thing is that Stevens Creek Reservoir was almost completely dry due to the drought. I could hardly believe my eyes.

We went to Target after dinner as my father wanted to get an iPad Air at the early Black Friday sale. However, the lines were extremely long. It also looked like the store was going to run out of stock soon. Dad figured it wasn't worth the wait.

Friday

The first stop of the day was an antique store as Mom wanted to shop for fine china. The three of us then went to Costco and another store before going to Santa Cruz to explore a new part of town. Because it was almost 2 p.m. when we arrived, the first thing we did was have lunch at the Crow's Nest Restaurant. Everything was delicious!

It was then time to find out what this part of Santa Cruz had to offer. The stroll was the perfect opportunity to work off the calories. Dad also found three thrift shops in the area. However, one was only a Goodwill donation center while another only sold books. Our last stop before heading home was the local Costco.

Saturday

Having done so much in the past two days, I spent the morning helping out in the yard and listening to online lectures. The rest of the day was uneventful, although I watched The Bourne Supremacy on DVD and the Red Dawn remake on Amazon Instant Video. I actually liked Red Dawn despite the critical reviews.

Sunday

The nice weather allowed us to go hiking again, this time on the Stevens Creek trail. I also watched The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD in the evening. On the whole, the break wasn't too bad. :-)

Currently watching: The Bourne Ultimatum

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013 report

Lab126 had a costume contest today after lunch. This was our first official Halloween event ever. I went as myself because I'm scary enough without a costume, but it was fun to see what others were wearing. Speaking of which, my personal favorite was NSA leaker Edward Snowden. That was hilarious, although it was Master Chief from Halo that ultimately won. I've posted a few pictures here.

I later passed out candy to the kids. There was lots of extra candy as we had fewer trick-or-treaters this year. Here are the stats for those curious:

Total: 38 (-15.6% change from 2011)
* Male: 21 (55.3%)
* Female: 17 (44.7%)
First arrival: 6:16 p.m.
Last arrival: 8:28 p.m.

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series - "The Mark of Gideon"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

post-birthday weekend report

The weekend wasn't too bad either. Case in point, my parents invited the Tangs and the Chens over for lunch yesterday. Because the generation gap made it hard to follow the conversation, I mostly played RuneScape while the older folks talked.

Winnie's son Michael stopped by after lunch. He had recently graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in computer science; no doubt we had a lot in common. It's always great to meet other young people with similar interests.

The Chens left for San Francisco to look at apartments for Michael. We then took George and Eileen to the nearby Redwood Grove for a hike. The five of us also went to a Chinese art exhibition in Santa Clara. There was lots of food at the event. Back at home, I studied Android programming while my parents dropped the Tangs off at the BART station in Millbrae.

Today was uneventful as I mostly listened to online lectures. That said, my parents and I went hiking on the Stevens Creek Trail as well as stopped at Baskin-Robbins to redeem my birthday reward. It was only a small scoop of ice cream, but freebies are always nice. On the whole, the weekend was perfect. Be sure to check out my new pictures.

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series - "The Ultimate Computer"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a somewhat busy 28th birthday...

I'm now 28 years old. Because our project at Lab126 is at a crucial stage, I didn't plan anything for my birthday due to the possibility of having to work after hours. However, that turned out not to be the case. :-)

After my parents picked me up, the three of us went shopping for fine china before heading to Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! for dinner. Although we've been there a few times, the food has never disappointed. I've posted pictures from the dinner here.

Mom also made an absolutely delicious green tea cake. There was so much left that we gave some to the Wilsons next door. Jenny insisted that we stay for a while, to which be obliged. It was a busy evening!

The fun doesn't end here as we're having some friends over on the 12th. But because the Chinese think it's bad luck to have late birthday celebrations, it'll be just another get-together... officially.

Currently watching: Contact

Sunday, October 6, 2013

on celebrating the National Day of the Republic of China

I had another great weekend.

To start off, my family went hiking in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on Saturday after lunch. This was refreshing as we hadn't been there in ages. Our next stop was downtown Santa Cruz for a stroll. The area we visited was fairly close to the UC Santa Cruz campus, bringing back memories.

After finding a Starbucks store, my parents and I went in to redeem a birthday reward. Dad took the opportunity to buy Mom a cup of latte. I also had some ice cream at a candy store as it was rather hot outside. The day trip was the highlight of the weekend.

The three of us attended a flag-raising ceremony for the National Day of the Republic of China in San Jose this morning. The dance and martial arts performances were enjoyable. The other thing is that we saw several familiar faces. I've posted some pictures and videos of the event on Flickr. The videos are also on YouTube.

But there was one thing we weren't happy about. Upon arrival, attendees were given tickets that could be redeemed for a bento box and a Taiwanese flag. However, the staff kept handing out the boxed lunches to people who arrived late without a ticket. The lunches ran out just when it was our turn. While a free lunch is no big deal, this wasted an hour of our time. Shit happens.

On the other hand, my birthday is in four days. The cool thing is that it's actually on the National Day of the Republic of China. They say people born that day are treated like kings in Taiwan. If only plane tickets weren't so expensive...

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series - "A Private Little War"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A super September

So there was recently a RuneScape event called Super September. Though I haven't played the game much lately due to real life, last month was pretty awesome.

You may remember that we hosted a welcome dinner for our new neighbors during the Labor Day long weekend. The Wilson family returned the favor by having us over for dinner on the 21st. Their older daughter Julia made most of the food, all of which was delicious. Later in the evening, the Wilsons lit floating candles on their pool to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. That was a nice touch. I've posted some pictures from the gathering.

The following day was Fennah's reading club at Carol's house. It was just me and Mom this time as Dad was busy with work and couldn't attend. The two of us didn't stay long but still got to enjoy good food.

I had to work overtime again on the 28th. On the bright side, the company again bought us lunch. The rest of the day was uneventful, although I watched two episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series on Amazon Instant Video in the afternoon.

Dad took us to Half Moon Bay on Sunday morning. Because it was already noon, my family had lunch at Sushi Main Street before exploring the downtown. Our stops included two pumpkin farms; they were a little crowded, probably because Halloween is coming up. The plan was to go hiking afterwards, but we decided to head home as Mom was feeling tired. On the whole, the day trip was lots of fun. You can go here for the pictures.

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series - "A Piece of the Action"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day weekend report + the rest of summer

I had an amazing Labor Day weekend despite working overtime. Because our project is at a critical stage, I went in on Saturday at the request of my boss. Though the job can be demanding, that's hardly anything to complain about, especially considering that the company ordered lunch and dinner for our troubles. :-)

Later in the evening, my family hosted a welcome dinner for our new neighbors, the Wilsons. Their wife Jenny and daughter Julia also enjoy cooking and brought food to share. I've posted a few pictures of their dishes. Looks like Mom has competition!

One of Dad's friends invited my parents to a corporate function on Sunday evening. I stayed home as the event wasn't really suitable for me. On the other hand, this was the perfect opportunity to watch Star Trek Into Darkness on Amazon Instant Video. One thing I don't understand is why everyone says it's the worst Star Trek movie ever. At least I thought it was all right. Speaking of which, I also saw several episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series online. The show has a certain charm despite its age.

Having had a busy weekend, I didn't do much today other than listen to online lectures and watch Star Wars: Clone Wars on YouTube. These breaks are never long enough. ^_^

Summer in review

On the whole, my summer was great. First was a celebration dinner for Casey for getting into Yale. Several weeks later, Mom hosted a farewell lunch for the Lius before they moved back to China. There was also the annual Lab126 family picnic last month. Last but not least, our family friend Joseph organized a class reunion at Roger's house in Fremont. That was definitely a major highlight. I've posted some pictures from the gathering.

Another thing I really enjoyed was boating on Shoreline Lake. This was something we hadn't done in years. Other than that, my family visited Half Moon Bay and went out to eat a few times. Feel free to check out my other summer pictures.

The not-so-fun part is that I started getting abdominal pains about two months ago. The good news is that the doctor said it's nothing serious. On the downside, I'm not looking forward to the bills. They're probably going to be expensive. :\

Currently playing: Duke Xtreme

Saturday, August 10, 2013

company picnic + more!

It was a busy day as my parents and I went to the Lab126 family picnic and did a lot of shopping. To start off, there was a rummage sale at a local church. Like usual, everything was dirt cheap. Despite our early arrival, the place was already filled with people. I enjoyed looking around even though we didn't buy much.

The three of us went to Coyote Ranch for the company picnic after a short rest. It was much like the one last year and just as fun. Yet there were few familiar faces this time. I'm not sure why most people on my team didn't come, but they certainly missed out. In any case, feel free to check out my pictures from the picnic.

The last stop of the day was Costco for groceries. One thing I love about Costco is the samples, especially on the weekends. Let's just say dinner was fairly simple. Though I watched Superman: Doomsday on Amazon Instant Video afterwards, the rest of the evening was uneventful.

Currently watching: Superman: Doomsday

Thursday, July 4, 2013

an extremely warm 4th of July

The 4th of July was nice as we had some neighbors over. Because the Liu family is moving back to China in two weeks, my parents decided to host a farewell lunch for them. Mom made lots of good food, all of which was delicious as usual. I'm going to miss the Lius for sure; they're definitely nice people.

Other than that, the rest of the day was uneventful. Though Dad was considering a trip to Tahoe, I didn't recommend it due to a feeling that the weather would be hot. This was a good call because it was indeed hot outside. Thank goodness for ice cream. :-)

Currently listening to: "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

my family just keeps getting bigger and bigger...

I'm thrilled to announce that my cousin Anne just delivered her first child. For those curious, the little girl's name is Valerie. :-)

There is nothing more joyous than bringing a new life into the world. Though I couldn't congratulate Anne in person, I'm still extremely happy for her. I really hope to catch up with her soon as our last time seeing each other was almost 16 years ago. It's been way too long already!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day weekend report

Given the high temperatures, I didn't do much on Saturday other than help Dad with yard work and go shopping at Costco with my parents. On the other hand, my family went hiking near Woodside today as the weather had cooled down. This was quite refreshing as we hadn't been there in at least two years.

The plan was to eat at the nearby Alice's Restaurant afterwards. However, the place was so crowded that finding a seat was almost impossible. We decided it wasn't worth the wait and went to Half Moon Bay instead. I took the opportunity to treat my parents to lunch at a Japanese restaurant. :-)

The three of us then checked out the stores in the downtown. Dad had also planned to take us to Pillar Point Harbor for a stroll, but we headed home as Mom was getting tired. On the whole, the day trip was lots of fun.

Currently playing: Ultimate Doom

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

level 2,500 in Mafia Wars

I just passed level 2,500 in Mafia Wars after playing for around three years.

Although I'm not that much into Facebook games, I figured this was worth posting. A nice thing about Mafia Wars and most other social games is that you don't need to grind all day to reach a high level. Compared to RuneScape and similar MMORPGs, Mafia Wars is definitely less time-consuming.

At any rate, feel free to add me on Facebook if you're looking for mafia members or just want to chat. xD

Currently playing: Mafia Wars

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day weekend report

I'm not going to lie - the Memorial Day weekend ended way too soon. These breaks are never long enough. ^_^

To start off, my parents invited the Lees over for dinner on the 24th. Because their son Casey is graduating high school as a valedictorian and going Yale University in the fall, Mom wanted to congratulate him. It was nice to see Casey again after so many years. You can go here for food pictures.

Our family friend Karen came as well. Casey and I watched Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and The Amazing Spider-Man after dinner. Eddie is working in San Diego and couldn't join us, but I'm sure we'll touch base soon. On the whole, our guests had such a great time that they stayed past midnight!

The rest of the weekend was uneventful as my father had to go to meetings. Believe it or not, being the CEO of a startup isn't all fun and games. Given that Mom doesn't like traveling when Dad isn't home, the two of us didn't go anywhere. On the other hand, I got to watch V for Vendetta on DVD on Sunday evening. :-)

Currently watching: V for Vendetta

Monday, April 22, 2013

an incredibly busy two weeks...

I've been extremely busy the past two weeks, both at work and at home. Because our project is at a critical stage, many of us have been working longer hours than usual. Don't get me wrong - I love my job and am not complaining one bit - but sometimes I wish we had spring breaks. It's one of the reasons I miss being a student.

I've been fairly occupied outside of work as well: Dad wanted to retrieve some files from a couple of Sun Ultra workstations and has asked me and his old colleague Andrew to help. Given that these computers are almost 15 years old and don't have any USB ports, the only way to get the files is via FTP.

The workstations also require a server connection. Therefore, Dad went to Costco and bought a Lenovo H520s desktop to use as a server. The good news is that installing Linux over Windows 8 was easier than expected. Thank heaven for small favors.

Another problem is the machines are so old that most monitors are incompatible. Even multiple trips to Fry's Electronics proved to be fruitless. The fact that the original monitors each weigh more than 40 pounds didn't help the issue. They were dinosaurs in every sense of the word. Dad only found some working monitors at home after hours of searching.

On the subject of computers, the hard drive of my ThinkPad T42 finally crashed after seven and a half years. This wasn't too shocking, considering that hard drives are often the first component to fail. I'm actually surprised it lasted this long.

While I was able to recover the data, reinstalling Windows took up lots of time. I only managed to get my laptop working again last week after replacing the hard drive. Seeing that my other computers had never been backed up, I spent several hours organizing the files to make the process easier. Sometimes I think technology makes life more complicated.

The last two weeks weren't all that bad as our family friend Karen came over for dinner on the 12th. Like always, Mom made lots of delicious food. All of us had such a great time that Karen didn't leave until well past midnight!

The day after that, my parents and I had lunch with two other families at a Chinese restaurant. You can go here for food pictures. Another highlight of the weekend was our hike on the Stevens Creek Trail yesterday afternoon. As you can see, this has been a busy month!

Currently listening to: "1000 Miles" by Blake Lewis

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fresno day trip report

Dad took us to Fresno today to see the Forestiere Underground Gardens. He had been wanting to go there for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

The 150-mile drive to Fresno was uneventful aside from a stop at Casa de Fruta in Hollister. Because our last time here was several years ago, my parents wanted to see how much had changed. It was mostly the same with the exception of two new stores. On the downside, they no longer offer free samples. Blah.

The three of us arrived at Forestiere Underground Gardens around noon and signed up for the tour. To be honest, I'm not sure if it was worth the price. The tour was $15 per person and much shorter than expected. While the place was fascinating, I don't think it warrants another visit.

Our other stop in Fresno was WinCo Foods for groceries and snacks. As with other locations, everything was super cheap. I certainly wish the company would open more stores.

The day trip concluded with dinner at the Black Bear Diner in Los Banos. Having enjoyed their food during our trip to Tahoe last year, my parents and I decided to eat at the chain again. This experience wasn't as great because the food was overpriced and slightly overcooked. That said, the meal was still a nice way to end the evening. I've posted pictures from our day trip here.

Currently listening to: "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year day trip and party report

"You should start charging people for admission!" -- me to Yuan, on her house

Saturday was uneventful as I was working on an assignment for my data mining class at UCSC Extension. However, today was exciting as we went to Carmel for a college reunion. The event doubled as a Lunar New Year celebration. Sweet!

I'll start with some background: my mother went to the National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan. Her classmate Joseph organized a reunion that was hosted at Chiuyen's house in Carmel. Though it was a long drive, my parents and I managed to get there on time. The Tao family's home looks like a barn from the outside, and going up to the second floor was like visiting a lighthouse. That was really cool.

It wasn't just NKNU alumni as the Taos took the opportunity to invite their neighbors and colleagues. Their children Yuan and Fang had friends over as well. The food was plentiful as this was a potluck lunch. Everything was delicious, especially the sushi and deviled eggs. If only I had a bigger stomach. ^_^

The kids gathered in the living room to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii afterwards. I only watched as I'd probably get my ass kicked, but this brought back memories of my college days. Good times.

The party started winding down in the early afternoon. The fun wasn't over yet as we joined a few other people for a walk around the area. Our stops included the historic Carmel Mission, the downtown and even an open house. The hike was nice, although we didn't stay out too long as most of us have to work tomorrow.

Of note is that we ran into a guy who kept hitting on the ladies in our group. Some of the women were a little creeped out, but I thought it was hilarious. One thing for sure is that it made for a memorable moment.

All of us returned to the "barn" for fruit and snacks before going separate ways. On the whole, the day trip was nothing short of amazing. Feel free to check out my pictures from the party and the hike. If you ask me, this needs to happen more often. :-)

Currently watching: Prometheus (2012)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl weekend report

I had a pretty good weekend. Case in point, my family went to a party and watched the Super Bowl at a restaurant. :-)

Party report

So my mother's friend Winnie had a get-together on Saturday evening. Winnie's house was being remodeled, but Carol offered to host the gathering. This was nice for a change as we hadn't seen the Liangs in ages. I've posted pictures of the food at Flickr.

There was lots of people as Carol took the opportunity to invite several other friends as well. The party got boring after dinner as there was nobody my age. The fact that I didn't bring my laptop didn't help the issue. To be fair, I probably just suck at making friends because my parents had so much fun that we stayed until midnight. ^_^

Super Bowl

We went to Tied House yesterday afternoon to watch Super Bowl XLVII. This is something we had never done before. Though the restaurant was almost completely full, the waiter managed to find a table for us. The quesadillas we ordered were delicious. The San Francisco 49ers lost against the Baltimore Ravens, but both teams played well. It was overall a great game.

In other news...

1. One of Mom's classmates from the National Kaohsiung Normal University is organizing a reunion for the 10th and has invited our families. I'm definitely looking forward to that.

2. Congratulations to my cousin Connie on her engagement!

Currently listening to: "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion

Sunday, January 20, 2013

went to my first dance since college...

Last night was the Lab126 post-holiday celebration at the Tech Museum of Innovation. Back when I worked at Cisco, my staffing company had a similar event there. However, ours was bigger and better: not only did we have the entire museum to ourselves, every floor had lots of food. The whole thing was just awesome.

There was a DJ on the second floor, and many people got up to dance. However, one thing I noticed is that millennials don't really slow dance anymore. Case in point, the dance floor quickly cleared whenever the DJ played a slow song. Funnily enough, some people still complained about the lack of slow songs as the evening concluded. Hypocrisy much?

It's a shame that there aren't many opportunities to dance once you're out of school. While there are weddings and other formal events, they are few and far between. I actually wanted to become a DJ before I got my first job. ^_^

At any rate, you can go here for the Lab216 party pictures. I have to work tomorrow as we don't get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off. That said, I'm not going to complain as last night rocked.

Currently listening to: "Diamonds" by Rihanna

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy MMXIII!

It feels like 2012 has just started, and now 2013 is here. I can hardly believe how fast time goes. So without further ado: happy New Year!

Holiday party report

A nice thing is that we had a party the day after Christmas. Like always, Mom made lots of delicious food. The best part is that our family friend Winnie gave me a gift tower from Harry & David. That was so sweet of her. Thanks, Winnie!

I saw The Avengers on DVD after dinner. Though it was one of the best movies ever, nobody else wanted to watch it with me. One of the women actually thought it was a children's film. Damn generation gap - no wonder we whippersnappers can't stand old people sometimes. :-)

New Year's Eve report

To be honest, New Year's Eve kind of sucked. Because we didn't have anyone over or vice versa, my family went to look for local events instead. I found a mixer for entrepreneurs that was advertised on Meetup. We figured this would be a good opportunity for Dad to find connections as he has been active with startup companies for years. However, the event had low attendance and the host was a bit rude. It wasn't long before we decided to leave.

Some places in Mountain View were also supposed to have special events. Yet there was barely anyone on Castro Street when we arrived. The restaurants were virtually empty - even during the Times Square ball drop. The three of us went home shortly afterwards.

Though I put on some music from WiLD 94.4 and watched the West Coast countdown online after getting home, the rest of the evening was uneventful. I hope New Year's Eve will be more exciting next time.

2012 in review

All that having been said, 2012 wasn't too bad. The best part was our trip to Las Vegas with Jim. Valley of Fire State Park was one of the most amazing places we've ever visited. Another highlight was getting my current job last summer. I've only been at Lab126 for six months but am loving it so far.

Speaking of careers, the worst thing that happened was that Dad lost his job again. His contract was terminated out of the blue for no given reason. I hate office politics. :-(

Last but not least, my New Year's resolutions for 2013 are to improve my social skills, be more generous to myself, not stay up too late and learn CUDA programming. Wish me luck!

January 2 update: I'm now back in the office as my break has ended. It's so hard to return to work just after the new year. On the other hand, I'm thrilled to see my colleagues again. :-)

Currently listening to: "Va Va Voom" by Nicki Minaj