Monday, August 7, 2017

a final farewell to Eileen

You may remember that our family friend Eileen recently passed away a few days ago. Today was the celebration of her life.

Only my parents attended the viewing because I was at work and they didn't want it to impact me too much. Dad then picked me up at the BART station near my office before we met up with the other people at Eileen's house. It was pretty crowded as many of Eileen's family members were there.

This was followed by dinner at a Chinese restaurant. There was lots of food, but I didn't east much because I was admittedly feeling a bit emotional. On the other hand, I got to meet many of Eileen's relatives. Though it was nice to get acquainted with them, this definitely wasn't the situation in which I wanted that to happen. The plan was to back to Eileen's house afterwards, but we decided to head home because everyone was getting tired.

It's a little sad to realized that one of our closest family friends is gone. I'm going to miss Eileen for sure. :-(

Currently listening to: "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

R.I.P. Eileen :-(

I'm saddened to learn that our family friend Eileen Tang passed away this morning. Eileen was one of the kindest people that we were blessed to have known. She always saved presents for me whenever we visited her. Even though she was over a generation older than me, I had always considered her a true friend.

My favorite memory of her was when we went to Pacifica on Mother's Day two years ago. I treated my parents and the Tangs to lunch at a Peruvian restaurant before we went on a stroll on the beach. All of us then headed to a nearby park and relaxed for a while. That was certainly a wonderful experience. It's sad to realize that something like this will never happen again. :-(

Our biggest concern right now is the well-being of her husband George. I definitely hope that we can visit him in the next few weeks after giving him time to grieve. In the meantime, please send positive thoughts to the Tang family.

Rest in peace, and may we meet again, Eileen.

Currently reading: The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Berkeley Kite Festival report

Today was fun as we went to the Berkeley Kite Festival and had dinner in Berkeley with several family friends. The day was kind of exhausting but also lots of fun!

Our first stop was Milpitas Square, where Jim and Yeng-Feng picked us up. Our party then headed to the Berkeley Marina for the festival. There was some traffic along the way due to an accident, but we were the first to get there. Seeing that event venue was quite a long ways from the parking lot, we decided to take the bus there. Given the small number of buses, we had to wait almost an hour for our ride. The only reason we didn't walk there is that Yeng-Fong couldn't walk very far at a time.

Dad and the Chiangs bought similar kites on Amazon after seeing they had good reviews. However, both of our kites kept flying erratically before falling to the ground like a North Korea missile. Even though our kites didn't work very well, I enjoyed going around to see what other people had.

Because it was getting really hot outside, the five of us decided to head out. The Changs got caught up in traffic and didn't arrive until just before we arrive about to leave. We stayed with them for a bit before agreeing to meet at the restaurant. It was defintiely great to see their girls and Ruth's boyfriend Steven again. We and Jim walked back to the parking lot while the others took the shuttle. It was definitely a good workout!

Our group went to a restaurant in Berkeley called Great China. There were lots of people - mainly because the restaurant is famous for its Peking duck - but we were the first in line to get in. All of the good was really good. However, it was soon time to head out as there was a long drive ahead of us. After the Chiangs dropped us off at Milpitas Square, my family made a quick stop at Ranch 99 Market for groceries before heading home.

The only downside is that we didn't stay long after dinner. I had barely talked to Connie, Ruth and Steven when my parents and the Chiangs wanted to leave. It would have been selfish to keep them waiting just so I could stay for a few more finutes. On the other hand, the event was so fun that some of us are hoping to fly kites together again later this summer. I definitely hope we can work something out!

Currently listening to: "Holo" by Ampyx

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

an eventful 4th of July

I had a pretty good 4th of July weekend, considering that we went to Pescadero and watched several movies!

Saturday

So my father took us to Pescadero on Saturday. Though we went there around 16 years ago, we didn't really explore the town. Because it was noon when we arrived, the three of us had lunch at a local tavern. The food was expensive but really good.

We then browsed the local stores before heading to Arcangeli Grocery Co. to buy some of their famous garlic artichoke bread. All of us were pretty full at the time, but the bread was too good to resist. This wasn't a bad choice because we saw a bunch of other buy the bread as well.

This was followed by a short stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse. We also walked around the trail, although we didn't stay long as it was a little cold outside. On the whole, the day trip was the best part of the long weekend.

Sunday

Having done so much the day before, my family didn't do much else except go on a hike in Los Altos Hills. However, I did watch Abraham Vampire: Vampire Hunter on DVD and two episodes of Jackie Chan Adventures online. Abraham Vampire: Vampire Hunter was a weird movie but otherwise entertaining. Jackie Chan Adventures was one of the shows I really like when I was in high school, but I only saw the first season before we lost cable access. I'm so glad it's so easy to find TV shows online these days!

Monday

Seeing the weather was nice, we went hiking in Los Altos Hills again. We then watched Manchester by the Sea for Henry's film club and Doctor Strange in the evening. The special effects in Doctor Strange were really awesome. I've never seen a movie so visually impressive.

Tuesday

One thing I wanted to do was to check out the 4th of July event in Shoup Park in Los Altos, but we changed our minds as the weather was kind of warm. Dad wanted to go a German restaurant for lunch, but we stayed home after it turned out the place was closed on the 4th.

We then watched Inferno in the afternoon. Despite the critical reviews, I really enjoyed the movie. On the whole, my long weekend was pretty awesome.

Currently listening to: "Reflections" by Kasger

Thursday, June 8, 2017

a new computer for Mom

I just finished setting up a new laptop that I bought for Mom as a late Mother's Day gift. Seeing that her eight-year-old laptop was becoming unreliable, Dad and I agreed it was time to get her a new one. We settled upon the Lenovo Flex 4 because its predecessor has worked really well for me.

The Flex 5 has an Intel i7-U7500 processor, an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU, 16 GB of memory and a 512 GB solid-state drive. It's definitely a lot better than the crappy old Acer Aspire 6930 that has been giving Mom a lot of trouble!

In other news...

Our family friend Grace has invited us to her house tomorrow to watch the Golden State Warriors game. I'm pretty excited!

Currently watching: The Flash - "The Nuclear Man"

Monday, May 22, 2017

a convoluted commute

"This is gonna suck." -- me

So something crazy happened today.

As part of my commute to my new job, I take the Caltrain to the Millbrae before taking BART to the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. Due to equipment problems, the BART to Millbrae was delayed by about 20 minutes. It just happened that we had a team meeting this morning. I was only late for a few minutes, but still...

The BART train somehow got delayed again. The delay wasn't as long as the morning one, but it caused me to miss my normal Caltrain ride. Shit happens.

Speaking of which, Caltrain got delayed as well. Because of an accident, one of the tracks was closed. I didn't get home until 50 minutes after my normal arrival. You could say that things weren't on the right track today... if you'll excuse the incredibly lame pun.

According to news reports, there was a minor collision between one of the trains and a car. From what I gather, nobody got hurt in the incident. I'm glad it wasn't a suicide or anything - those things are always really sad.

Currently reading: The Martian by Andy Weir

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2,400 skill total in RuneScape

I just reached 2,400 skill total in RuneScape. Click here for the screenshot!

This milestone took much shorter than expected. It's nice to be not as busy in real life, but the huge amount of bonus XP stars and lamps from recent events definitely helps too. For those curious, my next goal is to get level 90 in the port-related skills. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Niles field trip report

Today was fun as we went to Niles with our family friend Henry's film club.

The day began with a ride on the Niles Canyon Railway to Sunol. The views weren't that impressive, but the company of our friends made the ride a lot more enjoyable. The train arrived in Sunol about 30 minutes later. But because there wasn't anything special about this place, our group decided to take the next train back to Niles.

This was followed by lunch at a local cafe. I was pretty hungry at this point as it was already past 1 p.m. On the other hand, the food was delicious. The lunch also doubled as a birthday celebration for CY, for which Mom made her signature persimmon cake. Sweet!

Our group then headed to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and bought tickets for the tour. We also got to watch some really old movies, including The First Seven Years and some Laurel and Hardy shorts. Night Owls was totally hilarious!

It was around 6 p.m. when the tour ended. A few people suggested staying for dinner, but the three of us were a little tired and decided to head home. On the whole, the day trip was a worthwhile experience.

Currently listening to: "Play That Song" by Train

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Bowl weekend report

I had a pretty good weekend, especially considering that we went to our family friend Grace's birthday party and watched the Super Bowl!

To start off, my company had a Super Bowl happy hour on Friday. This was our first time doing something like this. It was really fun as there was good food and karaoke. The only downside is that the food ran out pretty quickly, but I can't complain about the quality of the event.

Saturday was also nice as we celebrated Grace's 70thy birthday at a Thai restaurant. With about 40 people in attendance, the party was much larger than expected. There was lots of food, and everyone had a great time. The only issue is that the limited space made it hard to socialize. Grace's husband CY invited us to hang out at their house afterwards, but we decided to leave that to another time as Grace seemed exhausted.

I watched Justice League: Gods and Monsters on DVD after getting home. It was really good for an animated movie. This was a great way to end the evening.

I spent most of Sunday evening studying Android programming. However, Dad and I watched Super Bowl LI in the afternoon. I must say that the Patriots' comeback was hella impressive. It was overall a great game.

Currently listening to: "Waterloo" by ABBA

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chinese New Year weekend report

"Don't worry, I won't bug you about reviewing my code here." -- me to Desiree"

The Lunar New Year weekend was great as we had a big party at a family friend's farm. I also got to attend the Lab126 post-holiday event. :-)

Lunar New Year party report

I'll start with some background: my mother was elected as president of a Chinese writers' association sometime last year. Mom decided to organize a celebration for Chinese New Year that our family friend Charles was kind enough to host.

The party took place at the Won family's farm in Hollister. There was lots of food as this was a potluck lunch. After the meal, the Wons gave us a tour of their farm. It definitely brought back memories of New Zealand. There was nobody else my age, but I can't complain about a good party. :P

Lab126 post-holiday celebration

Later in the evening was my company's annual post-holiday celebration. This one took place at Levi's Stadium, where we had a similar event in 2015. However, unlike the last party, we also had a live band this time. That was a pretty nice touch. I was a little tired and didn't stay until the end this time, but I don't think I missed much.

Today was mostly eventful. Having done so much the day before, I spent most of the time studying search algorithms. Other than that, I managed to get level 86 dungeoneering in RuneScape. :-)(

Currently listening to: "Starman" by David Bowie

Sunday, January 1, 2017

a quiet end to a rough year

I'm not going to lie - 2016 was a rough year. So glad 2017 is here!

Our New Year's Eve was mostly quiet. Like last time, we didn't have a party or anything. I looked for local events, but there weren't many this time - at least not those that are like $100 person. On the other hand, the evening wasn't too bad as I watched Captain America: Civil War on DVD. It's probably my favorite of the series so far, although it's more of an Avengers movie than a Captain America one.

It's often said that 2016 was pretty tough. For a start, 2016 saw the passing of many beloved celebrities, such as Anton Yelchin, David Bowie, Prince and Carrie Fisher. Then there's the election. I usually don't write about politics, but Trump doesn't seem like a good fit for the President of the United States. On a personal level, my job has been pretty stressful in the past few months. Being a software engineer in the Silicon Valley ain't an easy thing!

But for all the bad, 2016 had its highlights. The best part was when we went to the Southwest U.S. with four of my aunt's students. The memories from that trip will last a long time. The other activities we did with them (such as going boating and the movie club field trip) were also memorable.

At any rate, it's best to not dwell on the past. Speaking of which, my New Year's resolutions for 2017 are to learn more software development skills and kick some bad health habits. Wish me luck!

Currently watching: Captain America: Civil War