Sunday, January 25, 2015

an amazing post-holiday party

I just got back from the Lab126 post-holiday celebration at Levi's Stadium. It was one of our best events ever!

The new home of the San Francisco 49ers was impressive. The staff allowed us to hang out on the field after we signed a waiver. People could also take the elevator to the top of the stadium for an even better view. This was no doubt an amazing experience.

The company rented out the entire Bourbon Steak & Pub. There was no shortage of refreshments, all of which looked delicious. Though the dessert selection was smaller this time, there was still more than enough for everyone. I definitely wish I wasn't already so full. Note to self: don't eat dinner right before the next Lab126 post-holiday celebration.

At the center of the pub was a dance floor. Speaking of which, the DJs were much more awesome than the one last year: not only did they play music for the entire four hours, they were also cool enough to take requests. In comparison, the DJ at JW Catering wouldn't play any of the requested songs and actually seemed arrogant.

One thing I've noticed is that our generation doesn't slow dance much anymore. For example, only a few couples actually slow danced when the DJs ended the night with "Take Me Away" by Keyshia Cole. It seems people just aren't as romantic as they used to be. Go figure.

The event was quite successful as I saw many familiar faces. Among them were our family friend Jennifer and her husband Spencer, the latter of whom works at Lab126 as a materials engineer. I had attended a job training program with their son Robert several years ago. It's a small world indeed.

On the whole, the evening couldn't have been better. I'm looking forward to next year's event for sure. In the meantime, feel free to check out my pictures from this one.

Currently listening to: "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia

Friday, January 23, 2015

welcoming Connie's little one to the world

I just found out that my cousin Connie delivered her first child last month. It's a boy named Dean!

Connie had initially wanted to keep it secret and only recently told us. However, this is still wonderful news as there is nothing more special than bringing a new life into the world. I definitely hope to meet Dean in person soon. In the meantime, I'm really happy for Connie and wish her family all the best for the future.

In other news...

I recently compiled my first iOS application. :-)

Currently playing: RuneScape

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I left my heart in San Francisco, part deux

The year is off to a good start as we went on a day trip to San Francisco with our family friend Sophie's hiking club!

The morning began with Jeff and Sheila giving us a ride to San Francisco. The group met at a corner near the New Chinatown. We arrived a few minutes late due to unexpected traffic, but luckily everyone else waited for us. The first stop was the mosaic stairs at 16th Avenue. The stairway was impressive and must have taken a long time to build. The view from the top was awesome.

The bad news is that one of the ladies was bitten by a dog near the stairs. The guy walking the dog wasn't too helpful and left without providing identification. Dad helped make a police report while the woman went to look for a doctor. Figuring this would take a while, the rest of us headed to the nearby Grand View Park in the meantime.

The hike to Grand View Park was strenuous but rewarded us with one of the best views in the Bay Area. The next stop was another mosaic stairway called the Hidden Garden Stairs. This one was completed in December 2013 and also beautiful. It was noon when we were done taking pictures, after which we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. The eatery was kind of small - we easily took up almost half the tables - but the food was delicious!

Golden Gate Park awaited us in the afternoon. I wish we could have stayed longer as the park was a lovely place. The bison paddock brought back memories of our trips to Yellowstone. The final stop of the day was the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden. It was a nice spot for a rest even though there were no tulips at this time of the year. Because it was getting late, our group shared some snacks at a nearby picnic area before going separate ways.

This hike was shorter than the the one in August but still a great workout. MapMyRun says we each walked a total of over eight miles. The only downside is that there were no other young people in our group. I guess most millennials don't want anything to do with their parents.

Our gratitude goes to Jeff for taking us to San Francisco and back home. Mom wanted to treat him and Sheila to dinner for their troubles, but Sheila figured we were tired and declined. Her consideration is truly appreciated. Even though the couple didn't stay for dinner, the day couldn't have been better. I've posted pictures from our hike.

Once again, happy New Year, everyone!

Currently listening to: "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry

Happy 2015!

So another year has passed. It's hard to believe 2014 is over. If Back to the Future is anywhere near accurate, then we should see flying cars and hover boards soon. ^_^

Party report

The nice thing is that we invited three other families over for dinner. This was our first real New Year's Eve party in seven years. Mom made lots of delicious food as usual while our family friend Mei also brought some. Casey and I later watched Divergent after the Times Square countdown. On the whole, the party was lots of fun. Feel free to check out my pictures.

However, nobody stayed until midnight this time. CY and Grace live far away in Almaden and were the first to leave. Henry and Sophie soon followed as we're getting up early for an annual New Year's Day hike in San Francisco. The Lees didn't want to disturb our sleep and declined our invitation to watch the West Coast countdown. I truly appreciate the consideration but also wish they had stayed another 15 minutes. At least we'll be seeing the Changs again tomorrow in a few hours. :-)

2014 in review

I'd say 2014 was one of the better years. For starters, there were many gatherings in the past few months. Our team at Amazon Lab126 released two major products, the Fire TV in April and the Fire TV Stick in October. The highlight of 2014 was my cousin Connie's wedding in Pasadena, although the film club field trip and my 10-year high school reunion come close. The only downside is that work was stressful at times, but that happens to everyone.

For those curious, my New Year's resolution for 2015 is to improve my PHP skills. I'm also hoping to get level 99 Runecrafting in RuneScape by the end of the year. Rock on!

Currently watching: Divergent