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 parties ever!

The new home of the San Francisco 49ers was impressive. The staff allowed us to hang out on the field, although we had to sign some silly waiver first. People could also take the elevator to the top of the stadium for an even better view. This was no doubt an extraordinary experience.

As for the party itself, the company rented out the entire Bourbon Pub. There was no shortage of refreshments, all of which looked delicious. I'd have tried more of them if I wasn't so full. Note to self: don't eat dinner right before the next Lab126 post-holiday event. While the selection of desserts was smaller this time, that didn't make the party any less fun.

At the center of the pub was a dance floor. Speaking of which, the DJs were much more awesome than the one from JW Catering: not only did these guys put on music for the entire four hours, they were also cool enough to take requests. In comparison, the previous DJ didn't play any of the requested music and was actually a bit arrogant.

One thing I've noticed is that our generation doesn't slow dance much anymore. Case in point, the DJs played "Take Me Away" by Keyshia Cole before ending the night - which only about 20% of the couples actually slow danced to even though the song is considered a slow one. It seems people just aren't as romantic as they used to be. *shrugs*

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

This was overall an amazing evening. The only downside is that the security checks were kind of annoying, but that's probably necessary for a large public venue like Levi's Stadium. I'm looking forward to next year's event for sure. In the meantime, you can see my pictures from this one here.

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 this secret, hence I didn't find out until just now. In any case, there is nothing more special than bringing a new life into the world. A new addition to my extended family is certainly exciting. 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. W00t!

Currently playing: RuneScape

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I left my heart in San Francisco, part deux

Today was also lots of fun as my family went on a day trip to San Francisco with Sophie's hiking club. It was no doubt a great way to start the year!

The adventure began with Jeff and Sheila giving us a ride to San Francisco. The group met at a corner near Clement Street; the five of us arrived a few minutes late due to unexpected traffic, but luckily everyone else was nice enough to wait for us. The first stop was the mosaic stairs at 16th Avenue. The stairway was impressive and must have taken an incredible amount of effort to build. The view of the Pacific Ocean from the top was just amazing.

Things didn't exactly go to plan as one of the ladies was bitten by a stranger's dog near the stairs. The guy walking the dog wasn't too helpful and left without providing any identification. Dad helped make a police report; the incident took up much of the morning as the woman had to look for a doctor.

The rest of us decided to hike up to the nearby Grand View Park in the meantime. The ascent of the hill was particularly strenuous but rewarded us with one of the best views of San Francisco. The next stop was the Hidden Garden Stairs, another one of those mosaic stairways. This one was completed in December 2013 and was 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, and our party easily took up two-fifths of the tables. At any rate, 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 definitely brought back memories of 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. Seeing that it was getting late at this point, our group shared some snacks at a nearby picnic area before going separate ways.

Although not as long as the field trip in August, this hike was nonetheless 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 just aren't interested in these types of activities.

A huge thank-you goes out to Jeff for the ride to and from San Francisco. Although Mom wanted to treat him and Sheila to dinner for their troubles, Sheila declined as she didn't want us to be too tired. Her consideration is truly appreciated. Even though Jeff and Sheila didn't stay for dinner, the day couldn't have been better. I've posted pictures from our hike here.

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 no more. If Back to the Future is anywhere near accurate, then we should see flying cars and hover boards soon. ^_^

Party report

Last night rocked as we invited three other families to our house for dinner. This was our first time having so many people over for New Year's Eve in seven years. Mom made lots of delicious food as usual, and our family friend Mei also generously brought some. I later saw Divergent with Casey after the Times Square countdown. It was definitely an awesome evening.

Alas, nobody stayed until midnight this time. CY and Grace were the first to leave as they live far away in Saratoga. Henry and Sophie soon also left as our families are 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, although I wish they had stayed another 15 minutes. At least we'll be seeing the Changs again tomorrow later in the morning. :-)

In the meantime, I've posted some pictures from the party here.

2014 in review

I'd say 2014 was one of the better years. For starters, my parents and I got to connect with many friends in the past few months. Our team at Amazon Lab126 also 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's nothing to complain about.

For those curious, my New Year's resolution for 2015 is to become better at PHP programming. As RuneScape goals, I'm hoping to get 99 runecrafting and 2,100 skill total. Rock on!

Currently watching: Divergent