Sunday, August 24, 2014

on high school reunions

The Los Altos High School class of 2004 had its 10-year reunion last night. It took place at a microbrewery in Mountain View called Tied House. This was super exciting as I hadn't gotten in touch with most of my LAHS classmates outside of Facebook since graduation.

I counted about 50 people, including significant others. The gathering was lots of fun even though only about 12% of the graduating class came. While there were some unfamiliar faces, 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. Oh yeah, and lots of girls gave me hugs - couldn't complain about that. ^_^

One of the math teachers (the father of one of the students) came to join us later in the evening. Although I never took any of Mr. Randall's classes, having a teacher show up was pretty cool. Some of my classmates decided to take the party to another pub after Tied House closed for the night. I didn't want to stay up too late and went home at this point. That said, the reunion totally rocked. I'd like to thank Derek and his fiancée Jody for organizing this amazing event, and Preeti, Charline et al. for making it all possible.

The biggest downside is that I didn't get to see all of my classmates. The venue was also somewhat crowded at times. Yet neither of those made the reunion any less fun. I definitely wish those four hours hadn't gone by so quickly. One thing for sure is that we need to get together more often!

I didn't take too many pictures as the limited space made it difficult to get individual shots of people, but here they are.

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 almost like going to war." -- Mom

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

We had to start out early due to potential congestion along the route. The drive went pretty well; not only was there less traffic than anticipated, my parents and I actually ended up being the first to arrive. The three of us then headed to Portsmouth Square to wait for the other families. The San Francisco Chinatown Ping Pong Festival was being held at the plaza, and even mayor Ed Lee was there!

Once everyone showed up, the tour began with a walk on the Barbary Coast Trail. Our party visited several points of interest in the area, such as Saints Peter and Paul Church and the Cable Car Museum. The latter contained the cable car power house; that was really cool for sure.

All of us then had a short rest at Fairmont San Francisco before deciding where to go next. The hotel was impressive - both inside and outside - although I'm not too keen to find 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 of the maze was a workout in itself.

The group split up for lunch; my family and several others 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 half-starved wolves when the food arrived. While the prices were somewhat high, the food overall wasn't too bad.

Several families went home after the meal, leaving only nine of us. The later points of interest were farther apart, meaning there was more driving than walking. The second half of the tour 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. We then went to the nearby Palace of Fine Arts but didn't actually go inside due to time constraints.

Up next was Fort Point, located at the base of Golden Gate Bridge. The fort had just closed for the evening, but we stayed in the parking lot for a while to enjoy the cool ocean breeze. The next destination was the Legion of Honor; as the museum was also closed, all we did was look at the outdoor artworks. The afternoon 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 place to park at the last minute. Our group then had dinner together before going separate ways. The food wasn't that good, but at least Mom was able to take a break from cooking.

Due to all the traveling, my parents and I 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 off 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, you can see pictures from the field trip here.

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!

Saturday started out much like a year ago: my parents and I went to a rummage sale at a local church in the morning. I didn't see that many things for sale this time, but it was fun to look at what was available.

Yesterday was also the annual Lab126 family picnic. Seeing that the event didn't start until noon, I studied for a bit before we headed to Coyote Ranch in Morgan Hill. Like at the previous picnics, there were lots of food and drinks. The Coyote Ranch staff again put on games for families. One of this year's activities was bingo; that 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 there was another party in the evening: 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 Sheila's party here.

This morning began with a visit from Min, my old supervisor at Cisco. Having done so much the day before, I spent most of today listening to online lectures. It wasn't all work and no play as I watched Vertigo to prepare for an upcoming field trip with Henry's film club. I also saw Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United on the Amazon Fire TV for fun. So yeah, the weekend was awesome. :-)

Currently watching: Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United