Sunday, August 24, 2014

on high school reunions

The 10-year reunion of the Los Altos High School class of 2004 was last night. This was super exciting as I hadn't touched base with most of my LAHS classmates outside of Facebook since graduation. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time!

The event was hosted at a microbrewery in Mountain View called Tied House. I counted about 50 people, including significant others. It was lots of fun even though only about 12% of the graduating class showed up. There were some unfamiliar faces, but that's probably because we never had the same teacher. At any rate, I had a great time reconnecting with people, even those I didn't regularly talk to in high school.

A math teacher who was the father of one of the students later joined us. That was pretty cool even though I never took Mr. Randall's class. Some people decided to go to another pub after Tied House closed for the night. Though I didn't want to stay up too late and went home, the reunion was awesome. I'd like to thank Derek and his fiancée Jody for making it possible. The same goes for Preeti, Charline et al. for helping out with things.

It's too bad I didn't get to see all of my classmates. The only other issue is that the venue was crowded at times. That said, the party was really enjoyable. Four hours definitely wasn't enough. I didn't take too many pictures due to the limited space, but here they are. One thing for sure is that we need to get together more often!

Currently watching: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I left my heart in San Francisco

"Dealing with other drivers in San Francisco is like going to war." -- Mom

We went to San Francisco today with Henry's film club. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the locations where the 1958 film Vertigo was shot. Though it was exhausting as we were out for almost 14 hours, all of us had an amazing time.

Dad insisted on starting out early to avoid potential congestion. The drive was smooth; not only was there less traffic than anticipated, my family ended up being the first to arrive. After parking our car, the three of us headed to Portsmouth Square to wait for the others. It just happens that the San Francisco Chinatown Ping Pong Festival was being held at the plaza. Even mayor Ed Lee was there!

Once everyone showed up, the tour began with a walk on the Barbary Coast Trail. Our family friend Pi-Yun acted as our guide and took us to several points of interest in the area, such as Saints Peter and Paul Church and the Cable Car Museum. The cable car power house at the museum was a cool sight for sure.

All of us then had a short rest at Fairmont San Francisco. The hotel was impressive - both inside and outside - although I'm not too keen on finding out the rates. The last stop of the morning was the beautiful Grace Cathedral. One interesting feature of the church was the labyrinth outside the entrance. Going to the center was a workout in itself.

The group split up for lunch; about half of us went to a Chinese restaurant called Imperial Palace. Everyone was super hungry as it was well past noon. Let's just say it was like feeding a pack of starving wolves when the food arrived. While the prices were somewhat high, the food wasn't too bad.

Only nine of us stayed for the second half of the tour as the others left after lunch. There was more driving than walking as the remaining stops were farther apart. The afternoon began with a visit to Mission San Francisco de Asís. Founded just before the U.S. declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, the mission is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. Some of us also went to the nearby Palace of Fine Arts, although we didn't actually go inside due to time constraints.

Up next was Fort Point National Historic Site. The fort had just closed when we arrived, but the parking lot was the perfect place to enjoy the cool ocean breeze. The next destination was the Legion of Honor. Though it was also closed, the museum made for some great pictures. The tour concluded at the makeshift memorial outside the home where the late Robin Williams once lived. It was touching to see that so many people cared about him.

The plan was to head to another Chinese restaurant for dinner. However, my father had such a hard time finding a parking spot that we almost decided not to stay. Mom was about to call Henry to tell him we were leaving when Dad found a spot at the last minute. Our group then had dinner together before going separate ways. The food wasn't that good, but at least Mom didn't have to cook after a long day.

Having walked so much, the three of us were totally exhausted when we got home. MapMyRun says we walked a total of around 12 miles - which is a new record for us. I'd say that burned quite a few calories. :-)

On the whole, this had to be one of our best day trips ever. I had no idea San Francisco could be so much fun. I'm hoping similar events are planned for the future. In the meantime, be sure to check out the pictures from the field trip.

In other news...

Only six more days until my 10-year high school reunion. I'm so excited!

Update: The pictures are online.

Currently listening to: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett

Sunday, August 10, 2014

two parties and a rummage sale!

There was a sense of déjà vu yesterday as we went to a rummage sale at a local church and the annual Lab126 family picnic. I enjoyed looking at the items even though there wasn't much this time. It was definitely a great way to start the weekend.

Because the picnic was scheduled for noon, I studied for a bit before we headed to Coyote Ranch in Morgan Hill. Like at previous events, there was lots of food and drinks. The Coyote Ranch staff again put on lots of activities. One of them was bingo, something they had never done before. It was pretty fun even though none of us won. If only there were more than just five rounds.

We didn't stay too late as Eileen's cousin Sheila was having us over for dinner. She and her partner Jeff both love cooking and made lots of delicious food. It wasn't just the five of us as Sheila also invited her brother Howard and his wife and daughter. All of us definitely had a great time. I've posted pictures from the Lab126 picnic and the dinner at Sheila's house.

Today began with a visit from Min, my old supervisor at Cisco. Having done so much the day before, I mostly listened to online lectures, although I did watch Vertigo for Henry's film club and Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United on the Amazon Fire TV for fun. So yeah, this was an awesome weekend. :-)

Currently watching: Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United