Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013 report

Today was pretty exciting as Lab126 had a costume contest. This was our official Halloween event and so was nice for a change. 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 pictures from the event here.

I passed out candy later in the evening, something I hadn't done much in recent years. We ended up with lots of extra candy as there were fewer trick-or-treaters this time. Here are the stats for those curious:

Total trick-or-treaters: 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 season 3, episode 16: "The Mark of Gideon"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

post-birthday weekend report

Just because my 28th birthday is over doesn't mean the fun is. Case in point, my parents invited the Tangs and the Chens over for lunch on Saturday. There wasn't anyone else my age at first; as the generation gap made it hard to follow the conversation, I mostly played RuneScape while the older folks talked.

Winnie's son Michael briefly stopped by after lunch. He had recently gotten his bachelor's degree in computer science from Harvard; no doubt we had much more in common. Having spent my 28th birthday with just my parents, I really enjoyed this gathering. But because the Chinese consider it unlucky to have belated birthday celebrations, this was officially a regular get-together with friends.

The Chens had to go to San Francisco to look at apartments for Michael. After they left, my family took George and Eileen to the nearby Redwood Grove for a hike. All of us then went to a Chinese art exhibition in Santa Clara. The cool thing is that the event had free food. Back at home, I continued studying while my parents dropped the Tangs off at the BART station in Millbrae. It was another busy day for sure.

Today was less eventful as I spent most of the time listening to online lectures. That said, the three of us did go hiking on the Stevens Creek Trail in the morning as well as stop at Baskin-Robbins to redeem my birthday reward. While it was only a small scoop of ice cream, getting free stuff is always nice. So yeah, the weekend wasn't too bad. :-)

Be sure to check out the pictures I took in the past few days.

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series season 2, episode 24: "The Ultimate Computer"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a somewhat busy 28th birthday...

I'm now 28 years old. While I had to work as usual, that doesn't mean my birthday wasn't exciting!

As our product at Lab126 is currently at a crucial stage, I wasn't expecting much for the evening due to the possibility of having to work after hours. This fortunately turned out not to be the case, so my parents picked me up at the usual time.

The three of us went shopping for fine china before heading to Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! for dinner. Although we've been there before, the food has always been pretty good. I've posted pictures from the dinner here.

Mom also made a large green tea cake that was totally delicious. There was so much of it 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 for sure!

The fun isn't over yet as we're having some family friends over on the 12th. But because the Chinese consider it bad luck to have late birthday celebrations, that will officially be just a normal get-together. Haha.

Currently watching: Contact

Sunday, October 6, 2013

on celebrating the National Day of the Republic of China

I had another great weekend.

The fun began with a hike in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on Saturday after lunch. This was quite refreshing as my family hadn't been there in ages. The three of us then went to downtown Santa Cruz to browse some of the stores. The street we visited was fairly close to the UC Santa Cruz campus, bringing back memories of my time there three years ago.

The next stop was a Starbucks to redeem a birthday reward. Dad also took the opportunity to buy Mom a cup of latte. Seeing the weather was extremely warm, I had some ice cream at a candy store before we headed home. Visiting Santa Cruz was no doubt the highlight of the weekend.

Sunday also had a great start as we went to the flag-raising ceremony for the National Day of the Republic of China in San Jose. It's no surprise that we bumped into many familiar faces as my parents have lots of Asian friends. The event featured dance and martial arts performances, all of which were enjoyable. I've posted some pictures and videos of the ceremony on Flickr. You can also view the videos on YouTube.

Yet we weren't too happy with how the event organizers handled things. 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. I know a free lunch is no big deal, but it does suck to wait in line for an hour for nothing. 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 season 2, episode 19: "A Private Little War"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A super September

So there was the Super September event in RuneScape last month. Though I haven't played the game much lately due to being busy in real life, I did have a "super" September of my own.

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. As evening came, the Wilsons lit some floating candles on their pool to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival; that was certainly a nice touch. I've posted some pictures from the gathering here.

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 some good food.

This past Saturday wasn't too eventful as I had to work overtime again. The only other thing I did was watch two episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series on Amazon Instant Video in the afternoon.

Sunday was much more exciting as Dad took us to Half Moon Bay. We had lunch at Sushi Main Street before exploring the downtown. Our party later visited two pumpkin farms; they were more crowded than usual, probably because Halloween is coming up. The plan was to go hiking afterwards, but all of us decided to head home early as Mom was feeling tired. The day trip was otherwise lots of fun; you can go here for the pictures.

Currently watching: Star Trek: The Original Series season 2, episode 17: "A Piece of the Action"