Sunday, November 27, 2016

another great Thanksgiving break

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving long weekend. At least my family did!

Thursday

This Thanksgiving was really awesome as the Changs had us over for dinner once again. Seeing that we out for the evening, I spent the morning and afternoon catching up with work-related stuff. Other than that, I got to play a bit of RuneScape and managed to reach level 93 runecrafting. :D

The party was lots of fun. It was great to see the Tings and Ruth's boyfriend Steven again. Sophie's nephew Howard's family also came this time as well. The downer is that Eric had caught a bad flu and couldn't come. Getting sick before Thanksgiving must absolutely suck. :-(

I watched Jeopardy! with Henry's girls and Steven while the food was being prepared. The Tings again brought a turkey and several other dishes, all of which were delicious. There were also three types of desserts. Yum!

Of note is that we didn't stay quite as late this time. The Huangs didn't want to let their young daughter go to bed too late and were the first to leave. The Tings soon left too as they needed to take care of their ill brother. As Henry's daughters were also getting tired, my parents decided it was time for as to go as well. Even though this party wasn't quite as long as the previous two, that didn't make it any less exciting.

This year, I'm really thankful for the support of my parents during hard times. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 4 laptop that Dad got me is also really nice. I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

Friday

I spent the morning setting up my new laptop. The IdeaPad Flex 4 is definitely really nice, especially with its long battery life. I also managed to get level 91 fishing in RuneScape in my free time. :-)

I made a brief stop at the office as I had some code that needed to be checked in. The plan was to go hiking on the Stevens Creek Trail afterwards, but we decided to head home as it had gotten dark outside. On the other hand, my parents and I watched I'm Not There for Henry's film club after dinner. I found the movie to be a bit hard to follow but really enjoyed the music.

Saturday

Yesterday was again pretty busy as I mostly studied Android test development. The day wasn't all that bad as we went back to Henry's house for his film club meeting. Everyone really enjoyed discussing I'm Not There over snacks.

Sunday

I didn't do much today as I got out of bed fairly late. It was definitely nice to get that extra rest. Though I mostly studied Android programming, my parents and I did take a stroll to Panera Bread to redeem a free gift.

Currently listening to: "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

new Lenovo laptop!

Dad recently got a new Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 4 laptop. Seeing that my MacBook Pro is now several years hold, he decided it was time to get a new computer.

At any rate, the notebook is really nice. It has an Intel Core i7-U7500 processor, an AMD R7 M460 video card, 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB solid-state drive. The startup time is blazing fast. The Flex 4 is also pretty light despite having a 15.6" screen. Thanks, Dad!

In other news...

The Chang family has once again invited us to their Thanksgiving gathering. I'm so excited!

Currently listening to: "Faith of the Heart" by Diane Warren

Monday, October 10, 2016

obligatory 31st birthday post

So I'm now 31 years old. It's hard to believe time goes so fast.

To celebrate the occasion, my family went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. While Dad has been here before for meetings, this was my first time eating here. Though the food wasn't that extraordinary, the free was a nice touch. Of note is that two adjacent tables also had people celebrating their birthdays. What are the chances?

This wasn't the only celebration as we also had lunch with the Tangs on the 8th. Speaking of which, Eileen gave me a jar of high-quality cocoa powder from Silly Cow Farms. I haven't tasted it yet, but it looks delicious. Thanks, Eileen!

In other news...

I just got level 92 prayer in RuneScape. That's halfway to level 99 if you do the math. :-)

Currently listening to: "Love Me like You Do" by Ellie Goulding

Monday, October 3, 2016

check out the Fire App Builder!

Our team at Amazon Lab126 just released the an open source library called the Fire App Builder. Internally known as Calypso, the Fire App Builder is a Java-based framework that allows easy creation of streaming media apps for the Amazon Fire TV. It's more for developers rather than end users, but feel free to check it out. :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

congratulations to my cousins Anne and William!

I have two very big news relating to my cousins. The first is that Anne just gave birth to a little boy named Brian last night. I'm really happy for the Changs and would like to congratulate them on delivering their second child.

The other news is that my cousin William just got married. The name of the lucky young lady is Sui. Though the last time I saw William in person was over 16 years ago, he and his new life look absolutely love in the pictures. I definitely hope to meet them soon!

In other news...

Happy birthday to my uncle Yeh-Wei!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day long weekend report

The Labor Day long weekend overall wasn't too eventful. It actually had a good start as my family went to check out a rummage sale at a local church on Saturday morning. The three of us then had a nice lunch at Masa Ramen and Sake Bar in San Jose before visiting two local antique shops.

The rest of the break kind of sucked as I was busy trying to fix my Alienware X51 desktop. The PC recently started having a bunch of problems, such as random freezes, getting stuck at the "Welcome" screen and administrative tools being non-responsive. A re-installation of Windows resolved most of the issues, but Windows would still get stuck at the "Welcome" screen. I tried several diagnostic programs, most of which found no issues. It looks like I'm going to have to take the PC to a repair shop. :\

Speaking of computer problems, our iPad 2 (which is mostly used by Mom nowadays) suddenly went into recovery mode for no reason on Sunday evening. I have no idea whether it due to a bug or a hardware issue. Even iTunes was not able to recover the device. We were considering calling the Apple Store when I managed to resolve the problem using a third-party tool. I hate technology sometimes. :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lab126 family picnic report

So today was the annual Lab126 family picnic. The event again took place at Saratoga Springs and was just as fun as the one last August. The Panns also came this time, and our families had a great time talking. Another thing I noticed is that the ice cream stand wasn't closed after two hours, unlike last time. It looks like the complaints from last year didn't fall on deaf years. :-)

One thing I noticed is that there were fewer people this year. Aside from the Panns and a woman from the floor above mine, I didn't recognize anyone else at the meeting. I guess most just aren't interested in these events. On the other hand, one cool feature this year was the miniature animal exhibit. I got to see an armadillo in person for the first time ever. That was really neat for sure.

However, there was a little mishap: we were about 10 miles from our house when I realized I had forgotten to bring my badge. That meant we had to spend almost half an hour driving back to retrieve it. Suffice to say, Dad wasn't exactly pleased. Oops!

Currently listening to: "Best Song Ever" by One Direction

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2,300 skill total in RuneScape

I just got 2,300 skill total in RuneScape after getting membership again over the weekend. You can click here for the screenshot. The addition of the invention skill definitely made reaching this milestone a bit easier. :P

In other news...

Congratulations to my old landlady's daughter Anika on getting married!

Currently listening to: "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

cultural exchange, part deux

The past month was pretty busy as four of my aunt Jill's students came to visit from overseas. Our guests were Mark and Danny, and twins Johnny and Wen. Jill herself unfortunately couldn't come due to her stroke, so my parents had to look after them for three and a half weeks. This was no doubt really exhausting. On the other hand, all of us really enjoyed their company.

To let them see what the U.S. was like, we took them on a trip to Reno and Tahoe the day after their arrival. That was lots of fun even though the weather was a bit warm. I had to work during the weekdays, although my parents took them to San Francisco, the Stanford University campus and some local stores.

This was followed by an amazing trip to the Southwest U.S. the week after that. The trip was also exciting even though the temperatures were extremely high. Right after we got home, we went on a field trip to Salinas and Monterey with Henry's film club before going boating the next day.

Last week was also filled with activities as my parents took them to Santa Cruz, the UC Berkeley campus and Villa Montalvo. We also let the twins take classes at an archery range on Friday before going to San Francisco again on Saturday. The day after that, Dad took us to pay respects to my late maternal grandmother Pi-Tan (as the boys were morbidly interested in what cemeteries in the U.S. were like) before going out for ice cream and a hike at the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve.

The boys had such a great time at the archery range that they decided to shoot arrows in our backyard - for three days straight. They had heard that Mom was really good at cooking, so we treated them to dinner at our house twice. Oh yeah, and we also took them out to eat at lots of different restaurants throughout their entire stay.

There was no doubt something for everyone. Johnny says he really enjoyed Grand Canyon and Monterrey. For Wen, doing archery was his favorite part. Danny isn't so much a nature person but loved staying at the townhouse during our visit to Mammoth Lakes. Last but not least, Mark says the highlight of his stay was a tie between visiting Grand Canyon and going swimming.

Yesterday was bittersweet as the boys left the U.S. early this morning. It was really hard to say goodbye to them at the airport. We did so much stuff over the past week that I've lost count. I should mention that the boys gave us some nice presents before their departure. Mark bought me a nice Bluetooth-enabled mouse while the twins got some kitchenware for Mom and a gardening kit for Dad. We truly appreciate their generousity.

The thing about being a tour guide for three and a half weeks is that it can be very taxing, especially considering that Jill wasn't able to come. Though kids in general can be hard to deal with at times, traveling with other people always makes vacations more exciting. I'm going to miss our new friends for sure.

Currently listening to: "Love Me like You Do" by Ellie Goulding

Sunday, August 7, 2016

post-vacation weekend report

"Auntie, your job is to just scream." -- Mark to Mom during the surrey ride

The best part about coming home from a vacation on Friday evening early Saturday morning is that it gives us lots of time to unwind... or go more places. Case in point, my family took Aunt Jill's students to several more attractions over the weekend!

Saturday

Yesterday was pretty fun as we went to Salinas and Monterrey with Henry's film club before exploring the latter on our own. Danny didn't feel like coming, so it was just six of us. The reason for the field trip was to learn more about author John Steinbeck and see some spots where the film Cannery Row was shot.

The plan was to explore the National Steinbeck Center first, but my mother decided to skip this part as we were really tired from all that traveling and didn't want to get up too early. Our party instead met after the tour before rendezvousing at John Steinbeck House, the boyhood home of the author that has been converted into a restaurant. The food there was really good. This was no doubt a very special experience.

Our group then met up in Monterrey for a tour of the spots where Cannery Row was filmed. The boys weren't too interested in the tour, so Dad rented a surrey and took them out for a ride. I opted to stay with Mom for the tour as we had been on the surrey ride before. The tour was really fun, although we didn't walk too much as the area was quite small.

Dad and the boys picked us up in the surrey just as the tour ended. We rode about two miles through town before having dinner at a restaurant on the Fisherman's Wharf. This was something I had wanted to do for a long time. The dinner certainly didn't disappoint. On the whole, this day trip totally rocked. It was essentially an extension of our Southwest trip.

Sunday

All of us were really tired and so didn't do much in the morning. That said, my parents took the boys to a few more stops in the after noon. First up was the Googleplex in Mountain View. Dad and the boys just couldn't resist taking a joyride on the Google-colored bicycles, including the seven-seat Conference Bike. They were apparently reserved for Google employees because another family got kicked off them when they went to ride one. *whistles innocently*

The other major stop was Shoreline Lake as the boys were interested in going boating. Dad rented a Canoe and took Danny and the twins along. The rest of us stayed on the shore as the canoe could only hold four people and that Mom and I had always figured that canoeing was scary. Dad later told us that it was indeed scary when some water got into the boat. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Overall the weekend was pretty awesome.

Currently playing: Redneck Rampage: Suckin' Grits on Route 66

Saturday, August 6, 2016

an amazing Southwest U.S. trip

"What do brie and cheddar have in common?" -- me, to a couple that asked me to take their picture

Summer has been great so far as my family just came back from another awesome trip, this time to the American Southwest. We left on the 30th and came back early this morning. It wasn't just the three of us as we again took my aunt Jill's students along. Though the weather is really hot at this time of the year, the trip was still lots of fun.

Day 1: into the heat

The trip began a bit later than expected as there were a couple of things that needed to be done. Our first stop was Casa de Fruita in Hollister, where we bought some dried fruits and snacks. This was followed by a stop at the San Luis Reservoir. The smoke from the nearby wildfires made it hard to see the lake, especially considering that the water level was quite low due to the drought. The rest of the 400-mile drive to Barstow was fairly uneventful as none of us wanted to get out of the car too much due to the head. The temperature actually reached 114° F at one point. Yikes!

It was pretty late in the evening when we arrived in Barstow. All of us were too tired to go anywhere to eat, so dinner consisted of some leftovers and fruit.

Day 2: the start of a grand adventure

Given that Grand Canyon is one of the incredible places in the United States, my parents figured we had to let the boys see what it was like. We first visited Grand Canyon West, which isn't part of the park itself. One notable stop was the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the western area. This was really cool, although it's certainly not for people with acrophobia. Aunt Jill is scared to death of heights and would undoubtedly have stayed in the car had she been able to join us.

No more than 15 minutes after we got in, the staff kicked people off the Skywalk due to an approaching thunderstorm. Had we arrived just a bit later, our party would have missed out. That was a close call!

Though the Skywalk was an interesting sight, the admission was a little high in my opinion. It's definitely not a place we are likely to visit again in the future. This was followed by a few more photo shops before we headed to our hotel in Tusayan. All of us were a little hungry at this point yet didn't feel like walking to any of the nearby restaurants as it was close to midnight. The three of us had some dried fruit and cookies for "dinner" before going to bed.

Day 3: native grounds

Grand Canyon is apparently very popular for early birds. The hotel's dining room was filled with people even though it was barely 7 a.m. when we went down there for breakfast. It was then time to see what the rest of Grand Canyon had to offer. Though we came here during our 2000 Southwest U.S. trip, the cold weather at the time prevented us from making many stops. The nice thing is that we got to see much more of the canyon this time.

One nice thing is that the temperatures luckily weren't too high. Our party first checked out several of the vista points and got some great pictures. The boys wanted to go on one of the helicopter tours, for which my parents bought tickets. I wasn't interested at first due to the prices, but Mom figured I'd make a good tour guide. The helicopter ride was really awesome and easily my favorite part of the trip. It actually made me wish people could fly. If only someone would invent an arc reactor suit. :-)

A rain started shortly after the tour ended. The rain soon turned into an intense hailstorm. This was quite unexpected, especially in the middle of summer. It seems the climate in the desert is very dynamic.

We visited a couple more photo stops before stopping at the Cameron Trading Post for dinner. Due to the lack of restaurants along the route, none of us had anything to eat except for some junk food. As you could imagine, all of us were pretty hungry at this point. The food wasn't too bad, though!

The final destination of the day was St. George. The route took us through Zion National Park in the evening, although we didn't get to see anything as it was completely dark outside. The winding roads meant we couldn't drive fast without being unsafe. It was well past midnight when we got to the hotel!

Day 4: a dam hot day

Hoover Dam was another place we wanted to show the boys. The landmark hadn't changed much when we came here around 20 years ago, although security was now really strict. The tickets for the full tour were sold out, but the power plant tour still available. It was largely similar to the one we went on back in 1996 but still pretty informative otherwise. We were then free to explore the observation area on our own. The weather had gotten extremely hot again, but there were luckily some cooling stations around. Those were nice for sure.

The evening ended with a little mishap: the clerk at our hotel in Las Vegas gave the boys the wrong room number. Yet one of the keys were somehow able to open the door. Imagine the boys' surprise when they saw a stranger laying in "their" bed!

We were fortunately able to clear up the confusion with hotel management. The seven of us had a quick dinner before going on a drive on the Strip before checking out some malls and the fountains at Bellagio. One unusual thing is that Las Vegas was extremely crowded this time. I wonder whether it's a summer thing.

There was another mishap: Dad missed the exit leading to our hotel as he was exhausted from all the traveling. The fact that U-turns weren't allowed in many places didn't help the issue. It was well past midnight when we got back to our hotel!

Day 5: far from civilization

The first half of the day was spent on the road as the next two destinations were pretty far up north. Our journey brought us to Great Basin National Park in the afternoon. I had looked forward to visiting this place and finally got the chance to do so. The plan was to go on the Lehman Caves tour, but the last one had already ended. On the other hand, the views from the vista points were amazing.

Not too far from Great Basin was the ghost town of Osceola. Due to the lack of clear signs, it took us quite a while to find out how to get there. We arrived only to find that there was nothing more than a few buildings. There was a road leading further into the ghost town, but we decided not to continue after a guy told us there was nothing more than a cemetery. Yikes.

Our final stop of the day was Ely. There weren't any good restaurants in the area, but luckily we had bought some food at Costco earlier in the afternoon.

Day 6: it's pronounced "ee-lee"

All of us were kind of tired from all the traveling and wanted to rest for a bit before starting out. Dad and I went on a drive around downtown Ely and got some gas while Mom and the boys relaxed at the hotel.

One notable attraction in the area Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. The site wasn't that far away, but the rocky gravel road made it hard to drive fast without damaging the tires. The ovens were much larger than I had imagined. There were a few trails leading from the area, although we didn't hike on them as it was getting hot outside. We instead went to a nearby trading post for snacks before continuing on.

The rest of the day was uneventful as we had a long drive to Mammoth Lakes ahead of us. It was really late when we finally arrived in town. On the other hand, we had a nice dinner at the villa where we were staying. This was actually my first time trying elk meat!

Days 7 and 8: a mild disappointment

Mammoth Lakes was one of our favorite stops when we went there 18 years ago, but the time constraints meant we couldn't really explore the town. So we decided to head to Mono Lake, which my parents figured was more interesting. It was fun to explore the lake shore, although it was a little gross due to the mud and stench.

We then headed west to Yosemite as it's arguably the best-known national park in the west. One thing that makes Yosemite famous is the many beautiful waterfalls. Yet most of them barely had any water due to the drought. The huge amount of people also made it hard to get around. To be honest, this visit was somewhat disappointing.

Wanting to make the best of the situation, Dad took us to Glacier Point for pictures. The views here were better, and a local astronomy club even let visitors look through their telescopes to see people on Half Dome. That was a cool experience for sure. We then made a quick stop at the Yosemite Village before beginning our drive home.

Due to the speed limits, getting out of Yosemite took around two hours. As we were all pretty tired, we didn't make any other stops on the way home except a Carl's Jr. for dinner.

Conclusions

This trip was super exciting as it was our first time visiting the Southwest U.S. in 10 years, not counting our trip to Las Vegas in 2012 for the CES. The scenery and the local culture make the Southwest one of the most fascinating places in the world. The Grand Canyon helicopter tour was by far the best part of the trip, although the other places we went to were also super awesome. The fact that we traveled with four other people made the trip even more exciting. It's definitely an adventure that will be talked about for years.

Currently listening to: "Hello" by Adele

Monday, July 25, 2016

first trip of the summer

You may remember that my aunt Jill brought two of her students over from China about two and a half years ago. This summer, another four of her students came to visit from overseas, namely Mark, Danny and twins John and Wen.

To let them see what the U.S. was like, my family took the boys to Reno and Tahoe over the weekend. Jill herself unfortunately couldn't come as she recently suffered a stroke and was told by her doctor to avoid going far places. The other issue is that the weather was extremely hot as it's the middle of the summer right now. However, neither of those things made the trip any less fun. Traveling with other people is always exciting - even though kids can be hard to deal with at times. :-)

Day 1: starting out late

As we would be taking four other people along, there was lots of stuff that needed to be done. I took the opportunity to give the boys a tour of my old high school while my parents packed up. Mom also took the boys to buy some ice cream and other snacks. It was almost 1 p.m. when we left our house!

Seeing that it was well past noon, the first stop was a dumpling place in Milpitas for lunch. The food was pretty greasy but wasn't too bad otherwise. The rest of the drive wasn't too eventful, although we got to Reno pretty late due to the amount of traffic along the way. All of us then had dinner at P. F. Chang's China Bistro. While the service was great, the food kind of sucked. Blah.

There was also a little mishap: I noticed I had brought the wrong adapter for my laptop after we checked into the hotel. This wasn't a huge issue, but it did mean missing out on lots of RuneScape XP. Good god, I'm such an idiot.

Day 2: a step back in time

The day began with a visit to Virginia City in the morning. The nice thing is that the weather was cooler than expected, not to mention that most of the shops were open this time. Mom even bought us some ice cream at one of them. The atmosphere was simply wonderful.

We then decided to check out Carson City as well. One memorable sight was a group of people who were protesting against Hillary Clinton. Politics aside, this was our first time seeing a protest up close and so was a neat experience. Our group then stopped at Firehouse Subs for lunch. I suggested eating here because their subs looked really good and that they put in a great deal of effort in supporting firefighters. This wasn't a bad choice because the sandwiches were absolutely delicious.

Lake Tahoe awaited us in the afternoon. The temperatures were much higher here, but there was luckily lots of shade at one of the beaches. The plan was to go on a sightseeing cruise so the boys could get a better view of the lake, but the tickets were all sold out. Though there was another cruise available, the boat was having technical problems. In the end, we just relaxed in the shade for a while.

Up next was a vista point overlooking Emerald Bay. The views were amazing, and even the weather was pretty cool here. It made for a wonderful experience.

The final stop of the day was Circus Circus. All of us were pretty hungry when we arrived and so had dinner at a pho restaurant first. The reason for coming to Circus Circus is that we figured the kids might want to try the carnival games. It turned out none of them were really interested, so we headed back to our hotel.

Day 3: the heart of the Golden State

The highlight of the day was Sacramento. As the field trip there last summer was lots of fun, Mom thought this would be a great place to take the boys. Our party had a nice seafood lunch before visiting some of the nearby shops. The weather was really hot, but there was fortunately some cheap ice cream available. :-)

The penultimate stop was the California State Capitol. This was pretty relaxing as the building had some nice air conditioning. The place was so nice that we didn't leave until late in the afternoon. The trip ended with a quick dinner at In-N-Out Burger. I had no idea the Double-Double and animal-style fries could be so delicious!

Conclusions

As mentioned earlier, the main purpose of the trip was to let my aunt's students get a glimpse of Western culture. Even though we didn't really visit any new places, traveling with other people always makes vacations exciting. It's hard to say which was the best part of the trip, although I'd probably pick Virginia City if I had to choose.

The nice thing is that we'll be taking the boys on another trip to the Southwest U.S. later this summer. That will be our first time going to the Southwest in over four years. We're also taking them on a field trip with Henry's film club right after getting home. I'm super excited!

Last but not least, here's to hoping Jill will get well soon so we could go on more trips together!

In other news...

Happy second anniversary to my cousin Connie and Luc!

Currently listening to: "Team" by Lorde

Monday, May 30, 2016

an awesome Memorial Day weekend

I had a pretty nice Memorial Day long weekend as my family did quite a lot of stuff.

Having gotten up earlier than usual, my parents and I began our day with a hike on Stevens Creek Trail. The nice thing about starting out early is that the air is usually pretty fresh in the morning. We went back to our house for a short rest before heading to a noodle house in Mountain View for lunch. The ramen was pretty good!

The afternoon was fairly uneventful as the weather had gotten pretty hot. However, I did start watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on DVD. It was definitely one of the best science TV shows ever.

Sunday began with a trip to El Cerrito to visit George and Eileen. As the Tangs' and my parents' wedding anniversaries are pretty close to each other, the four of them decided to do an early celebration. For that, I treated our party to lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Everything we ordered was delicious!

The rest of the day was again uneventful because of the temperatures, although I did finish up some online classes.

Having been so busy in the past two days, my parents didn't do much in the morning. However, I did watch the new Fantastic Four movie after lunch. It definitely wasn't as good as the 2005 one.

Later in the evening, Jeff and Sheila invited us to their house for ice cream and snacks. This was pretty nice, given how hot the weather was.

Currently watching: Fantastic Four (2015)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day weekend report

So this is my first post here in ages. I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day weekend!

Speaking of which, mine was pretty awesome. As it can be hard to get restaurant reservations for Mother's Day itself, my family decided to do an early celebration the day before. To start off, I treated my parents to lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Los Altos. Although we had been there several times, the food has never disappointed.

The three of us also went to Peruvian restaurant in San Mateo for dinner we didn't Mom to have to do any cooking. The food at Andes Café was pretty good when we had lunch there with the Tangs last year. Although one of the dishes and the dessert were the same as what we ordered last time, they actually tasted better than during our last visit. This is actually the first time that I treated my parents to a meal twice on the same day!

I also had some assignments for online courses to catch up on. One of them was fairly long, but I managed to finish it by Sunday evening. It's nice to be able to have an extra day to relax!

The weather was quite nice on Saturday morning, during which we went for a stroll in the neighborhood. Dad wanted to try some new routes, and we ended up walking for almost two hours. The rest of the day was kind of busy as I spend a few hours backing up my files, something I had not done in several months. I also took the opportunity to get a head start on my online classes for next week. Other than that, I did get to play a bit of RuneScape in the evening. As you can see, this was a productive weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chinese New Year long weekend report

The long weekend was really awesome as my parents and I went to a party at our family friend Grace's house. The rest of the weekend was rather busy as I had some assignments for online classes, but I'm definitely ain't complaining!

Saturday

The morning was fairly uneventful as I was busy working on assignments for an online machine learning class. However, the fun part was that we went to Grace's house in the evening to celebrate her "70th" birthday. Grace is technically 69 year old, but it's a tradition among Chinese people to add one year to a person's real age. There were lots of people, and it was really fun. We would definitely have stayed longer if her house wasn't so far from ours.

Sunday

The morning was again somewhat busy as I had still had a few assignments left. The good news is that I managed to finish them shortly afternoon, so we had the entire afternoon free.

Speaking of which, Dad and I watched Super Bowl 50 in the afternoon. It was definitely great to the Broncos win the Super Bowl, especially given what happened two years ago. :-)

Monday

Although Lunar New Year isn't one of our work holidays, I was able to take the day off thanks to comp time. I didn't do much today besides listen to some online lectures, but an extra day off is certainly nice. :D

Sunday, January 24, 2016

another amazing Lab126 party

So this is my 300th post. There's no better way to use it than to tell you about the awesome party I just got back from!

As you've probably noticed, Lab126 puts on an amazing post-holiday celebration every January. This year's event took place at Club Auto Sport in San Jose and was just as awesome as the previous ones. Club Auto Sport is kind of like an automotive museum with lots of high-end cars, so it's definitely great for gearheads.

Like at our previous events, there were lots of food and desserts. I would definitely have eaten more had I not gotten full so quickly. There was also a dance floor as usual, and especially many people got up to dance this time. The DJs were the same guys that played at Levi's Stadium last year, and they certainly did not disappoint.

One thing I've noticed is that dances aren't very common once you're out of school. This was definitely my favorite Lab126 post-holiday event to date; I don't think I've been to a dance this fun since college. :-)

Monday, January 4, 2016

an amazing but busy holiday

This Christmas break was one of the best ever - even though it was stressful at times and that my family didn't go anywhere.

As we had already gone on three vacations last summer, the three of us decided to stay home and take a break from traveling. However, that doesn't mean the break wasn't fun. For starters, my parents and I got to eat at several different restaurants. Out of the restaurants we visited, Portobello Grill in Redwood City was my favorite, although the other ones also pretty nice. We also watched several movies as well as went shopping quite a few times.

New Year's Eve was somewhat eventful as we didn't have a party this year, nor did anyone invite us to theirs. On the other hand, the following day wasn't too bad as we went to the New Year's Day Fun Run in downtown Los Altos. This was our first time participating in this event, and not only was it lots of fun, but it was also a great workout. We then visited the Tangs on January 2nd.

The rest of the break was somewhat stressful as I had lots of assignments for two online courses. Considering that we decided not to go on any vacations this time, my parents figured this would be a good time to gain new knowledge. Other than that, I got to play lots of RuneScape in my free time, in which case I got over six million total XP over the course of two weeks. I'd say that's pretty impressive. :-)

Currently listening to: "Best Song Ever" by One Direction

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

It's hard to believe 2015 has already passed. Oh hai, 2016!

I'll cut to the chase and say that New Year's Eve was pretty uneventful: my family didn't feel like throwing a party this year, and nobody invited us either. I had hoped to check out downtown Mountain View for special events but changed my mind finding out it was cold as hell outside. We also had plans for a board game night of sorts - after all, just because we're not having a party doesn't mean we can't have fun - but that didn't come to fruition as Mom was super tired and sleeping the whole time. Blah.

I've also been extremely busy as I had a shitload of assignments for two online machine learning classes. The good news is that I managed to finish all of this week's assignments, so I spent the rest of the evening playing RuneScape until the countdown. Gotta love good ol' RuneScape.

On the bright side, my parents and I will be visiting the Tangs on the 2nd, and as well as our family friend Grace on the 8th. So at least that's something to look forward to.

2015 in review

I'd say 2015 was overall a good year. The highlight was definitely our trip to New Zealand in September. It was no doubt a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the memories from that trip will certainly last a long time.

The past year was mostly positive, except when I got a bad case of hives in June. The good news is that the hospital costs were covered by insurance, but it was sure as hell an unpleasant experience. Let's hope that doesn't happen again.

As for my New Year's resolutions, my goals are to become familiar with machine learning and hopefully get a promotion. I'm also hoping to get at least two 99's in RuneScape. Challenge accepted!

Currently listening to: "We Own the Night" by the Wanted