Monday, December 10, 2018

an exciting new career at Intel

I'm thrilled to say that I started my new job today at Intel. It's definitely great to be back in action after being laid off in October. For those curious, I'll be doing quality assurance for the Intel Sports team.

The morning consisted of the new employee orientation. The speaker went over Intel's history and benefits before an IT guy showed us how to set up our work computers. Our badges were then delivered to us. Breakfast and lunch were both served during the orientation!

After everything was said and done, someone led us to the building with my actual office. I met up with my boss before spending the afternoon setting up accounts and completing the online training required for new employees. It's easy to get lost here as the building is huge, but I'm sure I'll know my way around soon enough. It's actually a nice place to work as the building contains cafeterias and lounges with TVs and games. I'm definitely loving my new job so far.

Of note is that Dad used to work at Intel many years ago. I'm sure he can give me advice about the company's culture. Like father, like son.

Currently listening to: "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC

Sunday, December 9, 2018

another awesome holiday party

Today was the annual book club holiday potluck and book exchange. I had been looking forward to it for a while. It was certainly lots of fun!

The event was supposed to be at Elizabeth's house like last year. But because she was going to be out of town this time, the party was moved to Dane's new house in San Jose.

Everyone brought lots of food as this was a potluck dinner. Everything was delicious, especially the IKEA meatballs. After we got desserts and drinks, it was time to do the white elephant gift exchange. It got pretty heated near the and as people kept stealing each other's books. That was hilarious!

We then played a round of Left Center Right afterwards. This was my first time playing this game, and it was pretty fun even though I didn't win. Although I left shortly afterwards because I'm starting my new job tomorrow and wanted time to prepare, this party was definitely one of the best ever. I certainly wish I could have stayed longer. At any rate, I'd like to thank Dane and Che for hosting this event and opening up their home.

In other news...

I mentioned earlier that I'm starting my new job tomorrow. I'm a little nervous but extremely excited at the same time!

Currently reading: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

level 99 Slayer in RuneScape — the start of a long journey

I just reached level 99 Slayer in RuneScape today. Here is the obligatory screenshot. :-)

However, it's worth mentioning that the cap for Slayer was raised to level 120 last year. Getting a skill to level 120 takes requires about eight times the experience as a level 99 skill. I've heard that training gets easier in the higher levels, but there is still much work to do. I'll get there someday - I promise. :P

Currently listening to: "Euphoria" by Markelody

Sunday, November 25, 2018

a busy but exciting Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving was a little different this year. You may recall that we spent Thanksgiving with the Changs for the past four years. They actually invited us again, but we already had plans. However, that's not a problem because we'll be seeing them later in December.

So we had our family friend Sheila's brother Howard's family over for dinner. This was our first time seeing them in over four years. I also met their son Wesley for the first time. Mom made great food while the Hus also brought some. Yum!

Wesley and I watched Avengers: Infinity War on Blu-ray Disc after dinner. That was an awesome movie. It's definitely as good as people say it is.

This year I'm very thankful for the support of my parents. Good times or bad, they have always had my back no matter the circumstances. On a related note, I recently received and accepted an offer for a position at Intel. I'm definitely very excited!

The rest of the break was uneventful as I've been busy preparing for my new job, although I did finish reading The Haunting of Hill House and continued reading The Power for my book club. I also found time for RuneScape and should reach level 99 Slayer in a few days. :-)

So yeah, the break was pretty good.

Currently reading: The Power by Naomi Alderman

Friday, November 9, 2018

level 99 Crafting in RuneScape

I got level 99 Crafting in RuneScape about an hour ago. Here is a screenshot of me leveling up. This is my third 99 of the year!

Although I've been pretty busy in real life, the game has gotten considerably easier due to new training methods. I'm one level from 99 Slayer and hope to get there in a few months. The upcoming double XP weekend should definitely help. :-)

Currently listening to: "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

a bittersweet 33rd birthday

So today is my 33rd birthday. I wasn't really in the mood to celebrate because I was just laid off several days ago. Therefore, my family decided to not go anywhere to eat this year.

On the other hand, my parents did their best to make my birthday enjoyable. For starters, Mom made us a nice lunch with ramen noodles. She also bought some snacks for me when we went to Trader Joe's and Nob Hill Foods for groceries. The three of us later went to Starbucks to redeem my free birthday rewards.

Even though recent events put a damper on things, my birthday wasn't too bad overall. I really appreciate the support from my parents during these difficult days.

Currently reading: Coding Puzzles: Thinking in Code by Lei Zhang

Monday, October 1, 2018

last day at Mocana

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

The week started badly as I was unexpectedly laid off from Mocana. I officially hate Mondays. :-(

You may recall that I joined last year as a software QA engineer. According to my boss, the company was shifting its focus to a new product and no longer needed my services. Although he was satisfied with my performance, this is cold comfort and doesn't really help. This is unfortunate because I really loved my job and the people there.

Looking back

While my career at Mocana didn't end the way I wanted it to, there were some great memories. The holiday cruise was definitely one of my favorite moments. The summer potluck and the Thanksgiving feast were also enjoyable. The catered lunches and snacks were pretty nice too. The best thing about working at small companies is that everyone is like family.

All that having been said, the most important thing for me right now is finding a new job. So wish me luck on my job search!

Currently listening to: "All the Small Things" by Blink-182

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

an eventful Labor Day long weekend

It's hard to believe September is already here. Sometimes I miss being in school and the long summer vacations. But at least I had a great Labor Day long weekend even though we mostly stayed home. :-)

One highlight is that we invited the Tsais over for lunch on Sunday after finding out our family friend Joseph was visiting from Taiwan. It was great to see them again in almost three years. Everyone had such a great time that we're hoping to get together again in the not-too-distant future. I definitely hope to get back in touch with their kids Michael and Claire soon!

Also worth mentioning is that this was the second double XP weekend in RuneScape this year. The good news is that I wasn't too busy in real life this time and had a little more free time than usual. I didn't get any level 99 skills or skilling pets but did gain around eight million XP across my four accounts.

Of course, playing RuneScape for thee entire weekend isn't exactly productive. Therefore, I also spent some time listening to online lectures and practicing table tennis with my parents. :-)

Currently watching: American Made

Monday, August 6, 2018

a bittersweet weekend

The weekend had its highs and lows. The nice thing is that we had a big party at our house. However, the RuneScape Classic shutdown was a bit of a downer.

Summer party report

Saturday was great as my parents invited several friends over. Mom made great food as usual, especially the cold sesame noodles. The guests later watched a documentary about a Chinese poet while I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl afterwards. The best part is that everyone brought high-quality desserts, none of which were cheap. On the whole, the party was one of our best ever. I really need to convince other young people to join us next time!

The end of an era: RuneScape Classic shut down

The bad news is that Jagex closed RuneScape Classic today after running the game for 17 and a half years. I figured this would eventually happen but didn't expect it to be so soon. Although I haven't played RSC much since the free version was removed, the game was a huge part of my childhood. Because I'm currently not a member, I couldn't even get a final screenshot of my character. :-(

But what sucks the most is that I had a bunch of rare items on my RSC account. They'd be worth billions of GP if Jagex allowed us to transfer them to the main game. I really wish I had transferred my items back to RS2 when I had the chance. Oh well.

In other news...

Congratulations to my friend Eddie on his recent marriage!

Currently watching: Starship Troopers: Invasion

Thursday, May 24, 2018

level 99 Fishing in RuneScape

I just got level 99 Fishing in RuneScape a few moments ago. This is definitely a skill I didn't except to get level 99 in so soon. All those daily challenges and the Giant Oyster definitely helped. At any rate, here is a screenshot of my current stats. It doesn't show the level-up fireworks because my PrtSc key was having problems. Oh well, close enough.

In other news...

On a related note, Jagex has announced that RuneScape Classic will be shutting down in August. I had a feeling this would eventually happen, but it still sucks to see that a part of my childhood will be gone. :-(

Currently listening to: "Break Free" by Ariana Grande

Saturday, April 7, 2018

level 99 Runecrafting in RuneScape

Today was a good day as I finally got level 99 Runecrafting in RuneScape. Here is a screenshot of me leveling up!

Because I'm pretty busy in real life these days, I don't play RuneScape that much anymore except double XP weekends. This is actually my first 99 in almost four years. On the other hand, I should get a few more 99's in the not-too-distant future as I already have 98 Fishing as well as 97 Crafting and Prayer. :-)

Currently listening to: "Sky" by DJ Manian

Monday, February 26, 2018

2,500 skill total in RuneScape and more!

This past weekend was pretty nice. For starters, I passed 2,500 skill total in RuneScape on Saturday thanks to the double XP weekend. Here is the screenshot for those curious. These double XP weekends are always really fun. :-)

The other highlight of the day is that we invited the Hsuehs over for lunch. It's only fair to return the favor as they had us over a few weeks ago. Because their son was with friends and didn't come, I spent the afternoon playing RuneScape and reading The Sparrow for my book club. On the whole, the gathering was pretty enjoyable.

Later in the afternoon, my mother noticed that our thermostat was dead. The heater was stuck on until we turned off the emergency switch. To make matters worse, the replacement thermostat we bought at Home Depot wouldn't work either. Our neighbor Bob came over a few times to take a look but was equally stumped.

After we spent most of Sunday trying to fix the issue, my parents concluded that it might be the heater that was broken. Mom asked PG&E to come over, but until that happens, then it looks like we'll be without heat for the next few days. This should be fun. :\

In other news...

1. Dad got a new Roku TV a few days ago. It's pretty nice, although the Fire TV is easier to use in my option. But then again, I'm probably a bit biased, considering that I used to work at Amazon. :P

2. After careful consideration, my family has decided not to go to Alaska due to the lack of hotel availability. However, I'm not going to complain because we've already been there a few times.

Monday update: It turned out the problem with the heater was due to a switch being burnt out. The good news is that we didn't have to pay too much to get it repaired!

Currently listening to: "Dixie"

Monday, February 12, 2018

new iPad Pro!

So my father recently got a new iPad Pro. Because my mother felt that the display on our iPad 2 was too small, Dad decided this would be an excellent time for an upgrade. The 12.9" screen and the 256 GB of storage are really nice. The tablet is like a new laptop, only lighter!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Super Bowl weekend report

I had a pretty good weekend.

The first half of Saturday was uneventful as I was busy studying work-related things. However, our family friend Lily invited us over to dinner on Saturday. She prepared a nice hot pot with all the fixings. The Hsuehs had recently come back from a trip to Turkey, so we enjoyed hearing about the things she did there. The only downside is that Alan didn't come as he was very tired following a trip to Japan, but I'm sure there are opportunities for our families together again. Because there was nobody my age, I spent most of the time reading The Sparrow for my book club. The first few chapters reminded me of Contact by Carl Sagan.

Yesterday was Super Bowl II. I don't really follow American football but have always enjoyed watching the big game. I didn't root for any specific team this year, although I'm pretty impressed that the New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl twice in succession. It was overall a great game.

Another nice thing is that we're planning a trip to Alaska with the Changs this summer. Therefore, my parents went to Henry's house after dinner to discuss trip plans. So far, the trip looks like it's going to happen. I'm pretty excited!

Currently reading: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I met Andy Weir!

You may recall that I joined a book club for people in their 20s and 30s a few months ago. Our club just met at an event featuring Pierce Brown and Andy Weir. It was really cool to meet the author of one of my favorite books!

The downer is that I didn't get my copy of The Martian autographed because Andy had to leave early for some errand. I understand that Andy doesn't owe us anything and isn't obligated to sign our books, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. On the bright side, at least I got to shake hands with him. Perhaps next time!

Also worth mentioning is that I ran into my old classmate Jessica from Egan and LAHS. It's always nice to see a familiar face even though we never really talked in school. Small world indeed.

Currently reading: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Monday, January 1, 2018

an eventful New Year

I hope everyone had a great New Year. Though our New Year's Eve dinner sucked, the past two days went pretty well.

Linda's holiday party

The nice thing is that our family friend Linda invited us and several other friends over on the 30th. Our group met at the Oakland California Temple for pictures as the view from the church was quite nice. Everyone then headed over to Linda's house for tea and snacks. The gathering was to be on New Year's Eve, but Linda accepted my mother's suggestion to move it forward a day so that it would be convenient for others. This was pretty fun even though it was all old people.

New Year's Eve report

The day had a good start as my father and I watched The Sting together. Dad wanted to see that movie again, so we went to get it at the library. The three of us then headed to Black Angus Steakhouse for dinner. Having enjoyed my birthday dinner so much, my parents figured this would be the perfect place to celebrate New Year's Eve.

However, this experience wasn't exactly stellar. For one, the service was slow and terrible. In addition, the waiter forgot about our request for more bread. He also didn't bring us any hot waiter until we asked three times.

The waiter also got my father's order wrong three times. He wanted a steak soup but got a loaded baked potato soup instead. Dad likes his steak cooked to medium but got a well-done one instead. They made him a new one, but it was still overcooked. He begrudging accepted it because we had already wasted enough time. Last but not least, the check didn't come for 20 minutes due to "computer problems." I ended up missing the Times Square ball drop due to all the delays. Fuck them.

Though the restaurant had the decency to comp my father's meal, it's unlikely we'll ever return there. Back at home, the three of us finished watching The Sting before my parents went to bed. As midnight approached, I did a countdown with some people in RuneScape before calling it a day.

New Year's Day run

2018 had a great start as there was a Star Wars-themed New Year run in downtown Los Altos. Though we skipped the last one because it was too cold outside, the weather was just right today. This was definitely a great way to start the year!

2017 in review

The past year definitely had its ups and downs. Getting my new job was certainly the best thing that happened to me. Speaking of which, the company holiday cruise was one of the highlights of the year. The same could be said for our recent trip to Bakersfield.

But there were some not-so-glorious moments. The worst part was when our family friend Eileen passed away in the fall. She was one of the few people that really cared about us. Another thing was that I lost my job at Amazon Lab126 in March. Though I managed to get a new job just a few weeks later, being let go out of the blue certainly sucks.

All that having been said, one must look to the future. Speaking of which, my resolutions for 2018 are read more books and get a promotion at my new job. Challenge accepted!

Currently listening to: "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans