Friday, December 28, 2007

Xmas in TO: Oyster and Club Nite!

We've been talking about this for a year now... but tonight, it finally happened! The Oyster Bar we had talked about going to for the longest time! Tried four types of oysters and mannnn they were awesome! So fresh, so tasty!

Also was able to see fellow Canada Day organizer... it has been quite a while since we've last met up with her. What a treat! Still as energetic and happy as ever!... Ahhh... what fun times!

After the oyster gala, proceeded to a club... yadiyadiya.. same stuff... nothing much worth mentioning... did get to eat pho at the end though! :)...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Xmas in TO: Classic BBtea Night

Have been back for a little bit less than a week, and still haven't had any bbtea. So on that note, ended the day going for bbtea twice!

As always, bbtea is the BEST! The highlight must be going to the 'new' Ten Ren up in Hwy 7. This is the first time in my life that I've needed to line up and get a ticket to sit at a table for bbtea... oh how things have changed.

It was well worth the wait though, cuz the bbtea was extremely good! Mmmmmm.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Xmas in TO: Xmas Dinner at Home

Turkey, food and more food! Another family xmas dinner... another good day of fun and jokes! Me cousins are tooooo silly indeed!.. heh heh heh

Ahhh.. no need to do dishes, great food... it's good to be home!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Xmas in TO: 2nd Night

Logically, the next must do after wings and beer is a K session. After being deprived of real karoake for 6 months, it was time to re-educate myself in the ways of dice, singing, and drinking. With my trusty teachers, I was able to do just that! :)

Didn't really get to talk much this night, but did get to see quite a bunch of people!... and of course, play dice and drink!

As always, there's never a dull moment when I get to see Anime Buddy. First greeting from Anime Buddy as she walks in:
"You are worth $40!"
lol... Wish I'd have been worth just a tiny bit more... Too bad Anime Buddy couldn't stay the whole night though, otherwise it'd be even more fun!

As always, not quite sure where pics from the night are scattered around, but one of these days, I will find them!

Thanks for coming out! :)

ps. Thanks for the cookies anime buddy! :D

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Xmas in TO: Wings and Beer

After 6 months, I am back!

First thing was the age old classic.... Wings and beer. Since Morty's was a bit too far away, had to settle for All Stars. As always, nothing beats the combo of wings and beers! :) The only bad thing was that we had to wait quite a while for a table to be open.

After wings, decided to go watch I am Legend... It was a pretty good movie. But having only slept 4 hours the night before, I was extremely sleepy by around 11pm eastern time and actually fell asleep for bits and pieces of it... lol.

It was a good night of catching up with some good friends though! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

6 Month Anniversary

Today marks the 6 month anniversay since I left Toronto. It will be interesting when I set sail for my return back to good ol' Canada... :)

I wonder what it'd feel like when I go back this time around....

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Year's Resolution

So these past couple months....well Nov and Dec specifically, alot of things have happened that is just smacking me right in the face... and hard! On that note though, here are some of my upcoming new year's resolution:

1) Dress better and look more proper...
As much as I enjoy the lack of time required to prepare for dressing like a bum, it's time that I start dressing slightly more proper. It does make a world of a difference just having the right posture and not looking like a plopping fish!

2) Communicate Better
Vital skill to have, both at work and not at work. Not sure how to yet quite do it.... or actually, what this entails... but I will get better at this before the end of next year.

3) Be more active
Gotta start working out or doing some sort of physical activity. I actually feel that my mind gets sharper if I do that. My current status?... Let's just say my mind feels extremely dull. If my mind was a knife, it'd would not be able to cut water...

A Little Motivation for Myself...

Sh*t may pour... but I will just bring some deodorant. I will win.

If I cannot even take care of myself, how can I ever carry the weight of two people on my shoulders?

For my goals, I will continue to move forward...

Reflection: Know and Ask for What You Want...

So it seems that after years, I am finally able to show my emotions. But then again, come to think of it, have I ever been able to hide my emotions?... Now that I am able to show it, perhaps its time to be able to show/not show it depending on the circumstances... hrmmmmmm....

Anyway, so recently, I've been looking for ways to improve one of my major weaknesses... lack of communication skills. Decided to read a book about it, but ended up reading one of those self-development books... Two points that struck a chord in me...

#1) "Know what you want, ask for what you want"
So this seems pretty straightforward eh? Decide what you want, then go for it. But extending on this, the book mentions that 'asking' for what you want is more than just walking up to a person and asking. It actually requires 'acting and doing'... Knowing about the details of what you want, preparing for it, and actually asking are necessary to show your interest. Just walking up and asking without having done anything is a waste of time... for both you and the other person... and conversely, planning out everything but not acting is just the same...

I think back now and realize that alot of times, I fail because either I don't know what I want, or I don't ask after I know what I want. For the times at tasks that I am successful in, I do know what I want, and prepare for it, and then I go for it.

Such a simple phrase, but so much wisdom within it.

#2) You must take risks. And you must be at the table to win...
This is contrary to what I am used to. Be it with proper planning, or just random luck, I have always only executed a task when the probability of success is high. But reading about this made me realize that this may not be the best approach. What is interesting is that the book mentions that you can deliberate all you want and guess what the number (say in a roulette game) is gonna be... But you will not win anything even if you are right. Sure, you don't lose anything, but you will never win!!! If you were at the table, there is a chance you will lose, but what happens if you win? And what happens if you win big?

The book also goes on to mention that others tend to focus on seeing that successful person win that one big win, but what they do not realize is this same person probably had lost countless number of times before the big win... AND will lose countless number of times after until their next big win. The difference though, is that this successful person will be able to recover from their losses, and continue to play the game.

So when do you know when to risk or not risk?... Answer: Intuition! I really do want to believe that my intuition is not bad... but I guess I can never be 100% sure because some hunches can never be validated. The only way to improve on my intuition is to put my money where my mouth is... be it for better or for worse. Doing this enough times, maybe one day when that chance of a lifetime comes, I will be able to risk it all and win...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Flurries in Seattle

Another week, another round of flurries in Seattle...

It rains, and snows... guess this city's preparing me for my return trip back to the arctic north...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Neko's Weekend Visit to Seattle

Earlier on in the week, Neko appeared for the first time in 2 mths on MSN to let me know that she was coming for a visit! And so by the end of week, here Neko was, in the rainy city of Seattle!

Giving the full tourist treatment, we took Neko to Pike's Place, and of course, the Space Age Restroom!!! Other places included the Ray's Boathouse and alot of malls!

One random thing we did was go on a Merry Go Around. For some reason, I ended up on a horse that was wayyy too small for me. It was really fun, but I had to be very careful that my 'lower' body did not get too close to the back of the horse's head... because the seat did not really fit me... and with the horse rocking back and forth, it would have hurt quite a bit if it hit my 'lower' body...
I did notice one peculiar thing though. For the Merry Go Around, I realized that the 'small' horses were on the inside, the medium ones in the middle, and the large ones were on the outside. Is that always the case?

Hrm, not quite sure who has the pictures, but I am sure it will probably take me 5 years to get my hands on them (just like how I don't have half my university pics still as of right now either)...

To add to my list of tourist attractions: shopping seems to satisfy any fellow Canadian! We did ALOT of this all weekend...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snowy Seattle

Woke up today and I saw what they say does not happen for 10 years.... flurries and snow.. in Seattle???

heh heh heh... It isn't really as bad as the picture though :). There was maybe less than 1 cm, but this was enough to make the city come to a slow halt!

Anyway, so on that note, still went to the company dinner. Highlight of the night is playing 3 card poker with fake money. Being the aggressive gambler that I am, I at one point had $25000 in poker chips! ... which is more than what the dealer had... wuhahaha! If only it was real money... ... ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

US Thankgiving: Las Vegas II

The second US Thanksgiving in the US... Originally planning to go to San Fran, ended up going to Las Vegas on a whim...

Leaving from 1am, started another sun rise drive towards the sin city. Arrived late afternoon, then did the regular Vegas thing... Food, drinks, gamble, etc. etc. Would this be the start of a tradition for me?

Once again, wasn't able to catch a Cirque de Soleil show, but did manage to get into a David Copperfield show. Next time I swing by Vegas, I will have to make sure I get into a Cirque show... The best part was that we got moved up to the very very front of the stage so we could have kissed David Copperfield's shoes if we wanted to! It's pretty amazing to think that he can make a car appear on stage, without us knowing how it got there even though we were right at the front of the stage.

Also learned how to play crabs and blackjack... The lessons were free, but the 4 drinks while I was there came out to $80 :)... hahahahhahahaha... Good two/three hours of fun!

And on the topic of betting...
"...Be someone who people willing to bet their hopes and dreams on" (inspired by watching Naruto...haha)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wkend at the Movies

Watched two gangster movies this weekend. The first one wasn't too great, but the second one was pretty good.

American Gangsters...
A man who had nothing, took big risks and became the kingpin of a city... So strong... so powerful... All through his own hard work and effort.

Even though he ends up being caught, what a way to carve out his own destiny!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sammamish Park and Halloween Corn Maze

It was a beautiful day, so randomly decided to do a local activity... hiking.. or at least a slightly watered down version of it :). Searching for a random place to be outdoors, we ended up at Sammamish Park... Almost lost my glasses, but it was nice to be outdoors and breathe fresh air.

After that, went to the first ever corn maze and an outdoor haunted house of my life. Drove half an hour north to this farm field place. It was an interesting, but I think it's one of those one time experience things. Reason: Waited in line for hours, and it was really cold!!! Without being cladded in snow gear, it was slightly chilly! The highlight though was that I poked some random lady that I thought was just some mendicant...but she turned out to be real.. oops!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bittersweet and Thoughtful Day

My first scholarship ever in my life, but I will most likely not be claiming it. Though this was a bit late, today I find out that I am a NSERC process of elimination.. haha.. but still a NSERC Recipient if I choose to become one...

With this, all the preconditions for what I had thought about executing a year this time ago are in place... only it is 6 months late. Is this fate telling me there might still be hope?...Or is it fate trying to test my mettle to see if I am still the same boy I was who hang on too much to the past?

Don't get me wrong, I cannot regret the decision that I have made.. and in actuality, the preconditions were not met before the hard deadline. Besides, I am liking what I am involved in right now... and the potential that is inherently infused into it. So it's not really like I made a wrong decision at all. Perhaps the best way to think about it is that I had two good choices to pick from... so it was a win vs. win situation? But nevertheless, it's just interesting that 6 mths later, fate seems to be telling me that if I had chose this other path, the plan I had drafted a year ago could have been carried out...

But then again, though as impossible as it may be, I wonder what and where would I be if the desired uttered the words of desire. The trump card that alone would suffice for me to attempt what all these preconditions would have led to. 5 mths later yet still I dream...the bet that I would be willing to risk everything for...

It was funny today actually. In a day when I am reminded of my past, another part of my past magically appeared literally out of thin air. There were two peculiar things this night... One is really not my business, nor should I be thinking or caring about it, so we will leave that one aside. But the other peculiarity is the comment about that 'my face looked drained' after this encounter. This struck me a little bit.. since I really didn't think I was feeling anything at all... I wonder how I look at that moment, and more interestingly, how this vibe got picked up...

...Look forward and don't look back. If it was meant to be, then there will be another chance and a reason to work to get the pieces to fall into place. If it was not meant to be, then even if the world is moved, and heaven is flipped upside down, the endeavour is but a pointless and futile one...

On a lighter note, almost cooked my own face today when I opened the oven half awake... That was funny, yet dangerous... haha

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Willy's Weekend: Pike Place

Bound by the rules for all tour guides in Seattle, a tourist must be shown Pike Place. So off we went, bright and early at 10:00am-ish. One of the highlights had to be finding the perfect parking spot when we got there. Time it took to get the parking spot, 0 minutes. Location of parking spot: right on Pike street, by the 'public market' sign. You can't get a better parking spot than that on a Sunday!!! I think Willy must be the perfect lucky charm for finding parking spots... because yesterday at BSquare, we got the perfect parking spot as well! 2 out of 2 is pretty decent statistics!

Anyway, so parking spots aside, we had some chowder for brunch, which was pretty good. This place we went to had a bunch of awards up, so maybe that's why it was so good.

Also so for the first time what I'd like to call the 'space age washroom'... This was a stall that was made of stainless steel, and had a space capsule look to it. You pressed a button to open the doors, and it opened automatically (and closes automatically too). It was a pretty interesting stall I have to say. There were many bums around there though, otherwise I would have taken a movie of this stall. It was really cool, even though it was pretty smelly inside...From now on, the 'space age washroom' will be added to my itinerary for all future tourists coming here.. :)

Dropped Willy off at airport after trying out the 'space age washroom', then bought some groceries and went back home to sleep. Woke up at 5:00pm-ish and started to steam fish and make the normal Sunday dinner...
Result: The fish turned out great, but everything else I cooked that night was burnt! :(

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Willy's Weekend: Random Outings - Snoqualmie Falls, Future of Flight, and Melting Pot

As planned, woke up bright and early at 9:30am-ish to get ready for the hike. Hiking.. as we determined, was an unique Seattle experience... so we figured we start off with that. Luckily it wasn't raining too hard (it had been raining pretty badly this whole week), so we didn't need to bust out the custom designed rain gear (aka garbage bags with holes in it). So off we drove towards the east to reach Snoqualmie Falls.

None of us have been there, so we just randomly got to the vicinity and started looking for the trail path. We ended up driving all the way up a mountain, seeing pretty wonderful leaves and scenery, only to be led downhill to find that the falls was actually alot closer to the highway than we thought!

At the actual site, we realized that it wasn't really a hiking trail. The trail was less than 1 mile and was more like a lookout point. I definitely can't consider it as a hiking trail after seeing that the paved road we walked on led to a power plant, that and a truck was parked next to it...

It was a nice place though, I love waterfalls, they always look so peaceful, yet majestic... not to mention pretty.

After grabbing a quick lunch, we drove up north to the Future of Flight (one of the Boeing factories here). Once again, we randomly drove near the vicinity (since we sort of did not write down the exact details to the location) and managed to find it somehow. The most random thing is that we arrived at 2:56pm... which was the PERFECT time because there was a guided tour at 3:00pm. So we made it into it, without having to plan for it! One of the biggest highlights was that being so out of it from waking up so ridiculously early, I actually walked right into a pole... Yes, you read right... there was a pole in this auditorium, and I was looking to my right, and then thud... walked right into it... (face first if I recall correctly)... Oh, and the planes and what not were pretty interesting too.

After the Future of Flight Museum, headed back towards Btown for some bbtea... This place was great.. They actually used real green tea, so it was very flavourful. Rested up there until dinnertime at Melting Pot.

Melting Pot is this place where they do fondues. They have this famous cheese fondue, which tasted better than I expected, and also a main course, and a chocolate fondue to end it all with. It was one of those long sitting dinners. We started at around 8:30... and ended at around 12ish. It was a bit pricey, but it was an interesting experience.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Willy's Weekend: Blue Fin Lies

Getting a message last week, I was notified that the SyDe Crew will be invading Seattle. So like any proper tour guide, I went about thinking of places that S.Town can offer. The first idea I had was to try out this new AYCE seafood place at Northgate called Blue Fin. Since AYCE oysters is a rare thing in the east coast, I thought it'd be nice to take the SyDe rep from Chi-town to this place.

The restaurant was called Blue Fin. I was sooo excited too. I called them 4 thems that one day... one to make a reservation (which I couldn't as they told me), once to ask them if they had AYCE oysters tonight (which they said they did), once to ask them when they stop serving food (since rep from Chi-town might be coming in late), and once to ask them exactly where they are (since apparently the google maps mapped it across the street from where it was suppose to be).

And in summary, it was absolutely disappointing. So we arrived on time (after going on the wrong lane.. and going 80 to 90 miles an hour on the highway on a rainy and windy night). That was ok, but when we walked around the food section, one critical thing was missing... the oysters. We asked the guy there where it is, thinking we might have missed it, and the guy goes 'oh, the company that delivers the oysters got 5 other restaurants sick, so we don't have them'. I was like... er... wtf??? You'd think when I called them that 2nd time they could tell me that... They are lucky I was hungry, and that they had octopus sushi, and that I am more patient nowadays... otherwise I would rip that guy apart!

Blue Fin.. What lies!

After Blue Fin, headed to Parlour for some drinks and pool. After pool, showed showed Will Forza 2 and then time magically passed by. By 4am, we were tired and called it a night. Tomorrow, the plan is to wake up at 9:30am... to go hiking (rain or shine)!.. haha. So ends the first night of Willy's Weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shark's Fin in a Bag

Shark's fin in a bag for $3.99. Best thing about it is that its ready to eat... Authentic or not, it did have shreds of shark's fin in it. It tasted decent. It was a nice soup base, but they should take out the rice part of it. Mmmm... my first shark's fin soup in S.Town.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Early Flight

It was fun and all, , but this morning marks the last day for my guests. Dropping them off at the airport meant a REALLY early wake up time for me...

Originally, I had planned to drive straight into work after, but after being stuck in traffic for an hour... decided to go back home and sleep a bit...

Blahhh... soooo early... sooo sleepy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Salty's Sunday and Gun Range

What is a Sunday morning for tourists without a trip to Salty's on Alki... mmmm...All you can eat oysters and valet parking. What a great place.

Surprisingly, I only had 30 oysters or so... and the more surprising fact is that my mom tied me (or even beat me) on the number of oysters eaten. For all those who think I am CRAZY for eating this much oysters... guess it runs in the family.. HA! :)

Also ran into fellow tour guide showing another TO tourist around... Once again we help out Seattle's economy. NICE!

After lunch, with special request from my guest, we went to the gun range... this time with my glasses on. Didn't really make a difference though, I still kept hitting around the guy's groin area. The scariest/funniest thing is that I lit the lanes on fire! I, with my less than perfect aim, shot into the stockpile of bullets... and then poof! The bullet shells area lighted on fire. That's something you don't see everyday.

After the exciting fire lighting experience, it was time for the semi-Thanksgiving dinner! Mmmmmm.. Turkey! yay!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tour Guide in Downtown Seattle for a Day

The weekend arrives, and so it was time to venture into Seattle for the 5th (or 6th) time ever to showcase the city.

After reading and listening to the more experienced tour guides, it was decided that a walk around downtown would literally fill up the day. Places that were hit include Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, and Space Needle. Randomly also walked through the Aquarium. This one was the surprising one, because it actually turned out really cool! You get to touch the starfish there, and its just presented very well. I was very impressed with it.

For lunch, had dim sum in the International District. The food there was ok, but the wait there was tremendously long. The bill did come out real cheap though, but factoring in the wait, the restaurant was not really worth it. The cool thing though was because we had to wait for an hour, we walked around the International District and got into this teapot selling place. There the lady served us 'kung fu' tea. Pretty interesting... The teapot sets looked pretty cool as well. Too bad they didn't have any glass ones (I was told that wood and clay is what is usually used), otherwise I would have got a set.. heh heh

Pike place was the usual... nothing special there. Just seemed like a big flea market. Space Needle though was interesting. The view was ok (it's nothing compared to CN Tower), but the view at night is REALLY pretty. Armed with my camera, I played around with it and got a pretty nice pic of the Seattle nighttime. Come summer time, I am gonna go back and take more pictures!

They also had this ice cream that was really cool. The smoke comes from the dry ice that they put in. After I got it, the 2 tables around me also got this dry ice ice cream :). What a great salesman I am.. haha

Personally, I think the bulk of Seattle's tourism revenue comes from friends and family visiting the people who work here. With amazing discounts on everything, the tour guides (us) take friends and family around and help out the tourism business here quite a bit. All these buy 1 get 1 free, and half price and subsidized stuff... it's a very neat perk! I wonder if TO will ever start doing something like this... hrmmm...

Friday, October 05, 2007

More Kitchenware... :D

Another day, another addition to my kitchen collection!

Here is the final tally...

Before parents came to visit, I had the standard Waterloo gear (2 bowls, 1 plate, 1 small pan, 1 pot, a few utensils here and there). After today, I am now the proud owner of 8 bowls, 2 plates, 1 big serving glass plate, 2 glass tuperware, 1 big wok, 1 small pan, 1 pot, and 4 more sets of chopsticks.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Tupperware...

So after a homemade meal last night, my parents realized one thing: I don't have enough bowls. So arriving back from work today, my place suddenly had 2 more bowls :). NICE!

Not only that, but they also got me a glass Tupperware. Something that was on my 'todo' list... NICE x 2! Now I can begin making hot lunch for work!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Parents Arrive... :)

Today marks the first time I have guests at MY place... wuhahaha.... Taking half a day off, I went to the airport to pick up my parents for their week long stay :).

First off was some good ol' dim sum chinese food, then it was straight to the supermarket... heh heh. Mmmm... Homemade meals... my fridge got stuffed w/ food... AND I learned some new dishes.

Biggest discovery was that steamed fish only takes 10 minutes to make... ahhh.. if only I knew this back in residence. Hard to believe that there are that many dishes that only takes 10 to 15 minutes to make. My recipe repertoire will be increasing exponentially over the next week! yay!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bday Wkend: Japanese Tea Garden

Continuing with the low alcohol consumption weekend gala, Sunday was all about learning about the tea. Booked a tour-like/show on tea ceremony. So this took place in a little hut in the Japanese Tea Garden! The Tea Master lady explained all the traditions to it, quickly demonstrated the tea ceremony, did that little lady like Japanese walk the whole time. She even did the whole sit on ur legs on hard floor thing (this despite the fact that she was 60+ yrs old!).

One of the facts that I found very interesting is the scripture that gets hung during each tea ceremony. Supposedly these scriptures are chosen each time and people contemplate and think about its meaning while drinking tea. The one they had up today had 3 characters on it, but supposedly to explain it would take 4 hours!!! Wow!

..Highlight of one conversation:
Tea Master: So, it's not often that young people (there were 6 of us in total, Me + Anime Buddy + Fraudman + 3 older folks that we didn't know) come to these. So what brought you here?
Me: Anime
Tea Master: (with this very deep thought provoking look)... Hrm... (ramble ramble... blah blah blah blah blah...) In summary: Yes, that's what alot of young people tell me as their reason for coming.

The only slightly bad thing was that it was raining, so wasn't really able to take pics at the Japanese Tea Garden. Doing a quick walk around, this garden is smaller than the San Fran one, but this one had ALOT of fishes.

Oh.. I even got to whisk my own tea... but I wouldn't do it for too long, 'cuz it gets REALLY tiring!

One more healthy bday wkend completed! (now 3 yrs and counting)... woohoo!

Many thanks to all those who came out during this weekend. Had alot of fun.
To those that couldn't make it, thx for all the bday wishes!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bday Wkend (Sat Night): Pontis and Brocolli?

After finishing up building my chair, it was already dinner time. Thinking I was running late, I arrived panting at the restaurant to find I was the first one there!

Supposedly Ponti's is one of the best restaurants in the Seattle area...The food at Ponti's was ok, but I think Ray's Boathouse is better. The service was very good though. Waitresses there were pretty nice and very polite :). My glass of water was never empty (not to mention I had two glasses).

My first of two gifts was also very interesting. No pictures to show here yet (it is on somebody else's camera -- will add to it once I get my hands on it...). But a brocolli giftwrapped and packaged in a box was very unexpected. The Gold Label was also unexpected... Thanks! :)

Many thanks to the Bday planners for organizing all of this. Offering their place for all of us to hang out at... making the reservations... listening to all of my random ideas :). The cake was very delicious as well!

Thanks Thanks!

Bday Wkend (Sat Afternoon): White Allak!

At the bar last night, I kept thinking about one thing I wanted... Waking up this morning, I decided today would be the day. After a quick lunch and a quick call to make sure it was available, I drove down to the good ol' Ikea to give myself the present I've been waiting 2 months for... the WHITE ALLAK!!!

Also listening to the sage advice of the Wise Surfer Man, I went and purchased the indoor antenna to get HD channels! $20 for lifetime HDTV.... Wise Surfer Man is just too wise!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bday Wkend: Friday Night

To kick off the bday weekend, decided to try a little bar hopping. However, ended up really only going to one bar called Lava Lounge...

The drinks there were cheap...wayyy cheaper than other places, but didn't really feel like drinking all that much.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Streaming TV from Internet

After missing the season premiere of heroes, I was at my wit's end trying to figure out where I can get it. Then out of nowhere, the Wise Surfer Man appeared from nowhere and blessed me with a gift... an URL that in it, contained the NBC's full episode watching website. With it, after fiddling around with it a little bit, I was enjoying the first episode of Heroes, in full screen style! Heroes Season Premiere was GREAT!

Turns out there are other TV stations doing the same... wow! How technology has changed... Who needs cable when you can stream from nbc's website :) ...

Personally, I think being able to stream from these TV station web sites is even better than cable, because I don't have to sit in front of the TV at a specific time and have to go through all them commercials. This will make me watch shows alot more.. wuhahaha

Monday, September 24, 2007

Safeway Sale

The local Safeway was having a sale today. So being the faithful Safeway shopper, I had to go. There were alot of people as it was their grand reopening or what not, and the staff were all pretty friendly and all smiley. I wonder how long it would last...

Result: Saved 47% today! :) And got 10 cents off next gas purchase as usual!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gun Range

Went to shoot real guns for the first time today. Tried a 9mm? Glock. Below is my target after 50 rounds.

It was hard to push the bullets in, and I was really careful with the gun (since this is the real thing afterall!). But as careful as I was, they had to replace the gun I was playing with because somehow I magically broke it... haha.. Not sure what I did, but they had to give me a new one to play with .. wuhahaha.. All in all, it was a pretty interesting experience... Next time I wanna try a shot gun! :)

After the gun range, went to rotating sushi, and then the plan was to go hit a club. However, I guess all my energy went into thinking about random things and so I ended up being reallly tired. Took at nap after dinner, hoping it will revitalize me; but instead, just made me sleepier and lazier...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pool and Fruity Drinks

So another Friday, another week. This Friday was all about shooting pool :). Having not had a good drink in quite awhile, I felt like going to a bar and having a drink. With CS buddy and crew, we had a nice dinner followed by a trip to the billiards. Waited an hour and a half for the pool table, but it was fun as usual... never really good at it, but always fun to play.

It was a slightly posh place that we went to. Drinks were slightly more expensive, but they did taste pretty good...Ended up ordering quite a few drinks from the place over the night. For some reason I was liking the sweeter and fruitier drinks... they all had pretty funny names to it. Gladiator was one of the drinks that I had that I liked.. now that I think about it, it might be the same as a Sicilian Kiss... hrmmm...

Also realized I've lost my imagination for creating random drinks in my head... There was a time when I can conjure up a taste and the name of the drink would pop up in my mind...and if it didn't exist or I didn't recall the name, I could just run off the ingredients required and then voila, drink would show up in front of me, with the taste I had in mind... Nowadays, I find it hard pressed to even remember the names of my ol' time favorite drinks, let lone the taste of them...

On another note, seems like I have been going out for food and booze alot this week... should start looking at going out less for food and learning how to cook!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Very Late Dinner/Happy Hour

Ever since I had gained the power to see all the specials from Happy Hour in the area, I have been looking for these deals... (Note: This was how the oyster day was found on Monday)

So after a seemingly long night at work (involving mostly walking around and talking :)... and real working of course), decided that we go for half price appetizers at McCormicks. The place sold me because they had oyster shooters for $2.50, and cheeseburgers for I think $2.00 after 9:30pm. With this having been a long night, it was peeerfect!

First time having raw oysters in a shot glass, it was pretty interesting. They put the oyster inside the shot glass, then put some red Tabasco sauce on it and some tomato stuff, then you just shoot it back. Pretty neat way to eat oysters... though I'd still prefer cold oysters on the shell :)

Another night, another round of oysters... yuuuum!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

King Crab Experiment

On my way home from work, I casually drove into my favorite store, thinking I will stock up on some groceries. As I walked the aisles, I noticed some very nice looking legs just jumping out of me in the seafood section...

Not knowing how to cook it, I casually stared at the legs until the person behind the counter told me how to cook it... some butter, some oil, some lemon, and steam the crab... He was a good salesman; cuz the king crab legs ended up being my dinner :)

Result: 1.43 lbs of king crab legs
Price: $15.18

Mmmmmm.... It was good.. but next time I need more butter!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oyster Bar!!! @ Happy Hour

After an early day at work (4:00pm), I went about a few errands... On the way, I suddenly thought about a conversation I had earlier last week...

Result: An hour and a half later, I am sitting at Seastar, enjoying a glass of white wine and some very good $1 oysters... mmmm...

Looooove Happy Hour!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

99 Nights

Like the ever addicitng Dynasty Warriors... 99 Nights proved to be the exact same :).

3 hours later... I feel that much dumber as I lay on the ouch and hacked away at goblins w/ a sword... hahaha

Sure beats cleaning up my place! :)

Ray's Boathouse and 3am Setup

So on Saturday, I decided to make another purchase and got an XBox... The first place I went to was sold out.. but luckily the second place I went to had it.. woohoo!

After this, proceeded to have a nice dinner at a place called Ray's Boathouse which was REALLY good. It's been a long time since I had fish that good!!! I looove seafood! Had an entree sampler that was simply delicious (3 different kinds of fish made in 3 different ways)

Ended the night watching a movie called "Catch Me If You Can". It was a pretty cool movie. Here's a kid who conned his way into millions of dollars and finally gets caught... only to be hired by the FBI to work on bank fraud stuff. Supposedly this was based on a true life story too. Impressive!

Returning home, took a shower and then figured since my hair needed to dry, I might as well put that time to good use. Having purchased 2 games on Friday, I spent this time setting up the XBox and then trying out the games... this began at around 3:xx am! Played a bit of it and before I knew it, I was approaching 5 am...

With that, I decided to call it a night (or day)...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Day of Waiting...

An eventful day full of waiting...

1) First hunted around for printers, then waited for printers to print 300+ pages of stuff

2) Went to Fry's... in hopes of getting a router.. only finding out that they didn't sell it there, so had to wait until I got home before I can order it online!
Also lined up for 15 min until I was able to buy anything else

3) Went to Ikea to get extra parts and refunds... waited half an hour+ to get the part(s) I needed. Couldn't really be mad though, the girl at the counter was so nice and all smiley.. even offered to buy me a coffee cuz of the long wait!

4) For dinner, went to a Vietnam restaurant which seemed to have opened a few weeks ago... It had a very nice bathroom... with rocks in the sink and everything. The stall was actually higher than normal, but the bathroom was pretty nice.
The waiting was ridiculous though
a) Waiting for a table...
They took 10 minutes to set up a table of 8 (which was for a group before us)... meanwhile there were empty tables everywhere else. Server told us that she wanted to set up the table properly before letting us sit down.. which seemed reasonable.
Result: When we sat down, the only 'setup' she had to do was give out menus... Of the 6 ppl there, 3 got menus cuz they ran out.

b) Waiting for water...
This took another 10 minutes. Funniest thing was the first cup of water (for 6 of us), came 10 minutes before the rest. The 6 of us were just wondering who gets the water... or if we have to share... lol

c) Waiting for food...
Seeing quail on the menu, I jumped at the opportunity to get it. So we ordered and nothing seemed wrong. Half an hour later (and right before 2 of the other 6 ppl got server), I guess the staff there realized they weren't gonna be able to catch 2 quails for our table... so the server comes by to tell me that they are out of quails... and I had to reorder another dish... Sure wished they told me this earlier.
Result: Me and CS buddy (who ordered quail as well) had to order something else... and by the time I got my meal, everyone else at the table had finished their meals.

Later on, the server comes by and goes 'oh, so you are still eating your dinner'... What am I suppose to say to do that I wonder... lol

So this ends the day of numerous waits...

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Today was the Seattle Todai! Mmmmmm....

Before that, tried to go kayaking... but that didn't actually materialize (since they were closed today). Ended up walking around Seattle (2nd time ever) for a few hours.

In summary, Todai Seattle didn't seem as good as the Todai up in Redmond or San Jose though... Maybe I had too high an expectation... but it was still a good meal.

Then went to my first bar in Seattle... pretty nice. reunited w/ AMF.. ahhh what a good 'girly' drink...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Day of Missed Purchases

Having been Builder Mson for the past little while, there was enough room to acquire more goods...

In a spur of the moment thing, tempted by fellow CS buddy, and my diligent coworker, I decided to purchase yet another item(s)... So on a semi-nice Friday night, we got off work and began yet another shopping adventure. Unfortunately, this shopping outing left all 3 of us with a slightly empty feeling...

Fellow CS Buddy
Goods sought: A $$$ bag
Result: Bag was slightly scratched... only 4 left in the west coast which were all display items! So ended up not getting...

Diligent Coworker
Goods sought: game console and games
Result: games bought... but no game console

Me: Bought what I wanted... but needed to wait 5 days for it... So left the store with nothing... except a big hole in my wallet...

Ended the day w/ some Wii action. Will be sore the next day.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Midnight Construction: Secret of LAXVIX

This long weekend, Builder Mson spent most of his time acquiring the skills to become the LAXVIX master.

By the end of the night (around 2am), I have proudly built a 3 drawer dresser, a shoe rack, a few desk lamps and THREE LAXVIX shelves of varying height... This includes the monster 4 shelf LAXVIX, the 3 shelf LAXVIX, and also the 2 shelf LAXVIX.

15 pieces of glass, 3 LAXVIX base, 6 LAXVIX extenders...

Couple tips:
1) Those screw holes are too small. To put the screw you, you need to make sure you drive the nail in straight... and twist VERY hard

2) Following the Ikea directions is great for beginners... but for the advanced and master builders, consider opening multiple boxes of LAXVIX base and extenders at once and building it together. This will save tons of screwing and unscrewing time... so you won't get screwed!

3) Never tighten fully each section until the whole thing is built. Otherwise, be prepared for some brute force action!

4) If it wobbles, tighten or loosen each part until it stops wobbling.

Other discoveries by Builder Mson:
1) The opposite end of a screwdriver head is great replacement for a hammer. **DISCLAIMER: Be careful where you aim, your fingers sometimes get in the way**
2) Building stuff is pretty intuitive, but reading manuals in detail MAY save lots of brute force labor... intuition saves time, reading saves labor... that's the tradeoff

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Reading Book Completed

At 12:54am, I officially finished the first Reading Book borrowed from the library. It was an interesting read. The book is called the "Book of Reuben" (354 pgs), and its a story about how a person who tried to do the right thing, only to have his life screwed over time and time again...

Here's a short spoiler (partly created by paraphrasing from the blurb from the book)
The story begins with Reuben (main character in the story), a kid who's father committed suicide and left him to tend to their farm in a small town. Because of this, Reuben, who was the finest baseball player that ever came out of this town, had to give up chasing the big leagues and start working to support the family. He works hard and by 18 is able to buy the local filling gas station. He meets a rich mistress with whom he develops a relation with, only to witness a mysterious murder of the mistress's child and also getting caught cheating by his childhood sweetheart.

Still very much in love with the childhood sweetheart, they eventually get back together and he was given the chance to marry her, only to find himself "in a battleground that lies bewteen desire and responsibilities" straight after the honeymoon. The childhood sweetheart eventually cheats on him later down the road, and in the process messes up their kids pretty badly.

The story ends with him starting to get things on track once again, and realizing that it's time to move on with his life.

Pretty sad in a way... since this guy tried to do all the right things in life, but misses time and time again what he truly desired. So close, yet so far...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Random Sunday Part III - 2 lb Steak and Shrimp Dinner

Having not ate real meat in 4 days, I decided to splurge a little and go for a gourmet meal.

Earlier in the day, I had saw the sign that today's the day for a carnivorous day when I saw a close to 4 lb meat package on sale at $3.49/lb. This was not uncommon, but what was strikingly odd was that this package had only 2 pieces in it (usually, for this size and packaging, there would be 4 pieces of steak).

To add to my gourmet meal, I decided to buy some shrimp and learn how to steam it... I am glad to say I have semi-mastered another dish in my ever expanding cooking repertoire

So a couple hours later, and close to 2 lbs of meat and 0.66 lbs of shrimp later, Mson is once again satisfied :)

Note: Real meat means meat that looks and tastes like meat. Not the vegetarian tofu meat, but the real meat that comes from animals. Also eggs and stuff that comes from a cow does not count as 'real meat'...

Random Sunday Part II - A Little Lighbulb Math

Also got free lightbulbs today!!! Not sure how it quite works... but here's the details:
Bought 8 lightbulbs in total...
2 x $5.97 (100W equivalent)
2 x $3.97 (75 W equivalent)
4 for $3.97 (ie. $0.99 each - 60W equivalent)
Total Cost: $23.85 + Tax

Now I had 8 coupons at $2.00 off each lightbulb. Meaning a total discount of $16.00. In total that means I paid $7.85 for 8 lightbulbs...

But technically, each coupon applies to one lightbulb... so actually, it meant I got $4.00 from my purchase of 4 lightbulbs for $3.97!!! :)

Random Sunday Part I - Shopping at Safeway

Today I became a 3-time Safeway member! Having forgotten/misplaced my card yet again (realizing right before I checkout as always), I applied for another Safeway card! Saddest thing was I even went back to the car to look for the card and wasn't able to find it initally, only to find my original card in the car AFTER I got my 3rd Safeway card...

But true to Safeway that I am, I saved $14.50 (18%) today! :)... And in the process, racked up another $0.10 off my next gas purchase at a Safeway gas station!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Builder Mson at Work

On an early Sat morning, Builder Mson, true to his calling, wakes up and proceeds to go about building his furniture.

His first masterpiece... called the LAXVIX was completed after 2 naps and 4 hours later, is shown below (note the time elapsed used to build was maybe 1 hour)...

Next to the LAXVIX, is a pic of the fabled cutlery set, assembled by taking it out of the box and hanging each piece of utensil with the utmost delicate care onto the rack provided.

A few other pieces of furniture had been assembled today ... ... by others :).

Below are other pieces ... notice the nice faux fur backseat cover and the white bath mat :)... soooo soft and niccce!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hiking and Happy Hour

Today was another team event... this time a 2 mile hike up Tiger mountain.

The hike was not strenuous (though some ppl might disagree). The only thing that happened was that I got bit by a mosquito perhaps on my hand, and that resulted in my left hand swelling up like a bear paw! (Staring closely at the left hand, where the index and middle finger meet, and you will notice some swellage...

The other cool thing is that people apparently do paragliding on this mountain. They carry all their gear up to where we had lunch, and then fly off!!! That sounds sooo amazing. Their gear looked very heavy though.

Without Benadryl or allergy medication or insect repellent, the only way to reduce the swelling was the age old remedy... BEER! After the hike, went to a local pub and got a passport, officially becoming a citizen of rogue nation :). By being a citizen of rogue nation, I am entitled to a free yard and a free T-shirt on my birthday, as well as some discounts here and there when I go to a rogue nation bar. Woohoo!

After becoming a citizen, went back to work to check up on a few things and then went to my first Happy Hour with my fellow Canadian coworker. A local bar with cheap pitchers... ahhh, the taste of cool beer on a sunny Friday evening! ... Mmmm...

Of course, all this beer drinking was to reduce the swelling caused by the reaction to the mosquito bite... because I usually do not drink... right Anime Buddy? :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Goal of the Week Achieved!

Today is a special day on many fronts...

1) Got in at 8:30am for work today! I had planned to get into work early for the entire week... but have something failed miserably. Monday was 9:30, Tuesday was 9:45, and topped out with Wed arriving at my desk at 11:00. But today I made it all up by arriving at 8:30!!! :)

2) 8/23/07... A great day for a big event in my life :)... (notice the numbers 8-23 :) )... coincidence? DEFINITELY NOT! ... wuhaha

3) Finally got a chance to watch Forrest Gump. A movie that's been on my to-see list! Another good recommendation from the folks at Issaquah... haha. Very interesting movie indeed... will likely have a follow up post on the Mson's Collections part of this blog soon for it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Late Day at Work

So today I broke all records and was at work until 9pm+.

First time in my life working this late... but then again, it serves me right for waltzing into my desk at work at 11am...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My First Haircut and Charging Up my CC

After almost 2 months here, I finally decided on a rainy Sunday morning to go in for a haircut.

After the haircut, went to Ikea to charge yet more onto the credit cards... Luckily, the damage wasn't too bad. phewf!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yet Another Shopping Adventure

Since I have gotten into the US, it seems that I am starting to developed an interest in shopping...and buying stuff. I came to this realization when I was offered a battery of activities to choose from for this weekend, and I replied "I rather go shopping."

To start things off, we went to a rotating sushi restaurant that was really tasty. Tried sea urchin for the first time... This is the first restaurant I have seen in a while that even offered sea urchin, so I had to try it (as part of my experience new experiences mode here). In summary, the sea urchin reminds me of the black stuff in cooked oysters.. yuck!

After sushi, we proceeded to drive up north for 1 hour and finding ourselves in an outlet mall. There I bought yet more stuff, including a cutlery set that looked very pretty (above). A crescent moon as a stand with dangling sparkly cutlery... all for the price of $30.00!

At the outlet mall, also spent 2+ hours at the adidas store. It's been a long time since I last bought shoes... for the longest time, I couldn't decide which ones to get!!! But in the end, I decided and now have 2 more pairs of shoes...

Shoes, cutlery set... AND I also bought some new shirts :). Ended the day at a Mongolian Grill. It was not very busy there, but walking inside a Mongolian Grill did give me a dejavu moment. Can't believe it's already been almost 6 mths since I had my last Mongolian in Waterloo!

As always, AYCE food is always good! As we were paying the bill at the counter, I noticed 3 Hello Kitty figurines on the counter and started playing around with it... Turns out they are actually pens and these were toys from Happy Meals from McDs in Taiwan. Seeing my extreme fascination with them, the girl at the counter gave me one :). What a nice girl!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Day of Signing

Today was another big step for me.

An hour of signing papers later, I come out feeling that much more independent...though the word independent is ironically used for how I got to where I am today...

One day, one day I will be able to fully stand on my own two feet. Until then...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mson's Salad Gala #2

So today, with the help of my Master Salad Maker Officemate, I set out for my second salad experience.

Recommended by Master Salad Maker, I went for the 'kitchen staff tossed the salad approach'. This is where the kitchen staff would make the salad, but I would get to pick the stuff to put on it.

Staying ever true to my salad goals (of not getting meat), I stayed away from selecting the bacon bits and chicken that could have gone with the salad.

In salad gala #1, I had went for the no dressing salad - supposedly a big no-no in the world of salad; so when the kitchen staff asked me what dressing I wanted, I went "I want one that is sweet and not sour". Unfortunately, this choice did not exist and she started running off these foreign names to me. Lucky Master Salad Maker was there to safe the day and helped me picked the sweetest of them all, a dressing called "Honey Mustard".

Pics of Salad Gala #2 (note the salad is alot more colorful than the the salad in Salad Gala #1)

For Salad Gala #3, I will need to recruit a new Master Salad Maker since my officemate will be leaving in late August.

Goal for Salad Gala #X: Be able to make my own salad, without the help of the kitchen staff

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A la Bibliotheque

Waking up at the good regular time of late 11ish, I proceeded to eat the original breakfast of champions. I think I've been eating out wayyy too much this week, seeing that I ate out on on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Sat!!!

Today was a very special day though... because today is the day I go to the library! My goal is to borrow a 'reading book' to read (something that I have not done in 6 yrs). Here is the definition of a 'reading book' (as defined by Mson's dictionary):

"A 'reading book' is a book that is a non-textbook. It can be fiction, or of non-fiction type. If it is a non-fiction book, it must not be a researchy type-like book. A 'reading book' is not a classic; books similar to Shakespearian literature, Aristotle's Ethics are not 'reading books'. Another criteria of a 'reading book' is that it must not resemble a brick. Also, a magazine is not a 'reading book'.

An example of a 'reading book' is, but not limited to a novel."

So after a 4 hr laundry session, I set out to the library in search of a 'reading book'. The library system here is pretty cool. Even though I cannot show that I don't live out of a box on the street, I am allowed to borrow 2 books :). You also get to choose from 6 different designs for your library card...AND you have the option of either getting the card version, or the key chain version. I got the keychain version because I have wayyy too many cards already that my wallet would burst if I put another one in!... But then again, there are so many things on my key chain right now that it looks like I stuck a football in my pants when I walk around.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Seafood Galore Day Part II: After Salty's

After the good brunch, we proceeded to work it off by spending the next 4 hours at Ikea! Yet another scouting mission but it was fun watching other people buy stuff :).

Exhausted from the walking around, went to the local McD to grab a meal... only to find that they are not taking any customers into the restaurant. First time EVER being rejected by McDs! Refusing to get drive-thru, we went to another McD and got stuff off the $1 menu there instead!

After McD, chilled to watch a movie called "The Usual Suspect". It was a very good movie. The characters were developed nicely, the plot was very cool. Good recommendation indeed!

Seafood Galore Day Part I: @ Salty's

Woke up bright and early today to go to an AYCE seafood brunch. We arrived early to find complimentary valet parking for this restaurant. After talking to the hostess, we realize that the others did not make a reservation, so we had to on the spot make one... luckily the restaurant had a table for 12 available; and it was a good one too! It was a table outside on the patio, facing the Seattle skyline! It got a bit chilly towards the end when I was eating the fruits portion of my meal, but it was a very relaxing and filling brunch.

The food at the brunch was amazing! AYCE raw oysters (though there were pieces of shell on it at times), hot and cold Dudgness crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, chocolate fondue, crepes, roast beef, ham, omelet cooked on the spot. The service was also top notch too. I didn't have to ask for my water to be refilled the entire time! (the night before I had to ask at least 5 times for my water to be refilled).

At times I felt bad for the oyster shucker, cuz I would see him chuck an oyster, only for me to grab it from him to put on my plate. I saw him rubbing his hand a couple times, but them oysters were just too good for him or me to take a break! :)

But of course, for all good things in life, there is Mastercard...or VISA in my case for a $48.23 per person bill.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Prelude to Seafood Galore

Another day, another night out for food. Tonight the destination was Crabpot, a very nice place that I visited a couple months ago where they dump the food right on the table. Instead of getting all Dudgeness Crab, went for the mixed combo platter (had corn, king crab, Dudgeness crab, clam, and mussels). In my personal opinion, the all Dudgeness Crab galore I had last time with young grasshopper suits my tastes more. But it was good nevertheless to chow down on that much seafood!

To think, this is just a prelude to what's the come...Tomorrow, it's AYCE oyster and seafood brunch. I am so excited! :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Teapot: A Vegetarian Restaurant

Being too lazy to cook... I unknowingly said 'yes' to an undisclosed location for dinner. Little do I know that in a few short hours, I will be eating dinner at a vegetarian restaurant!

It was an interesting experience. The night before I had tried Kung Pao chicken (the real kind), so today I thought I'd compare it to the vegetarian version... aka. Kung Pao 'vegetable' (the chinese name explicitly says 'chicken', but the english name says vegetable...hrm... false advertising?).

Anyway, in summary, vegetarian food still leaves me w/ that empty feeling. No matter how much spices you slam onto the tofu, tofu just cannot substitute for meat...

Other dishes tried:
Mongolian ...vegetable
Mushroom and Bamboo Shoots
??? (Mystery Dish that I forgotten the name of)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Anacortes Nite

After waking up early and hitting numerous non touristy spots... I set out on a 1.5 hr drive up north to eat some fresh crab and good booze!

Was pretty tired after all the talking and walking about in the morning and afternoon. Haven't had much 'relaxation' time these past few weeks (actually mths), so it was refreshing to be able to just sit down not have to do anything.

One of the things I learned is a drinking game called 'beer pong'. Beginner's luck wasn't on my side, so my team didn't win, but then again, is there really a winner in such games? lol. It was tremendously fun. You line up 10 cups on either side of a ping-pong table, and you tried to throw the ball into the cup. You sink one in, the other team drinks, then remove the cup. Game ends when all the other cups of a team disappears. Very fun indeed.

Haha, apparently I was also talking up some guy twice my size at some point.. hehhehehe... oh well. All fun and games!

Ended the night pretty early, sleeping on a random couch :). Ahhh.. the worry free life!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day After Operation Hail Mary Part II: First Movie in US

Exhausted from the 400m dash, Mson was 80% recovered by the time he reached his destination, where he would meet up w/ fellow CS buddy to go mattress hunting and other fun post-Operation Hail Mary activities.

Some of the activities included:
- Randomly walking up and down Main St for 10 minutes in search for a mattress shop that neither of us wrote down the address or name for
- Spending an hour+ lying on every other bed at the mattress shop
- Walking into high class furniture stores and realizing how nice furniture can be...I have to admit, the furniture were REALLY nice, but not quite sure if I would end up using a $3K table if I had bought one (since I wouldn't wanna risk damaging it)
- Finding a kiddie horse swinging thing that may soon become a resident for my home
- Finding a restaurant and discovering the wonders of Happy Hour
... and the piece de resistance: my first movie in the US!

Here's a picture of the cinema 5 minutes before showtime...

In total, there were 7 ppl (including 2 of us) inside the theatre. The movie had only been playing for 3 days, was supposedly a thriller, but turned out to be a comedy-suspense genre movie. Some scenes were horrifically gory, but did not necessarily advance the plot. There were big holes in the storyline here and there, which made the movie almost comedy like... haha. It did have a twist to it (which I had expected), leading to the climax, but the ending was quite weird. Still I thought it was a nice refreshing movie.

So ends the fun post-Operation Hail Mary day...

Day After Operation Hail Mary Part I: 400m Dash

On this beautiful after Operation Hail Mary, the plan was: go grocery shopping, eat, return rental car, then hop on bus at 1:37pm.

Finishing a brunch of champion at 1:30pm, I set out and saw the bus that I want to go on 24 streets (~2.4 km) down the road... and so began my race with the bus!

I passed the bus w/ the rental car, and had a good 12 streets distance between me and the bus. Pulled into the parking lot, dropped the keys off and started a 400m sprint to the nearest bus stop.

Time of the 400m dash: Not fast enough to catch the bus... I think I just missed the bus by 30 seconds or so, because when I got to the bus stop I saw an elderly lady just crossing the street (indicating she must have just gotten off the bus)...

If only the cop car was not staking out and slowing down all the drivers on the road, I might have been able to give myself a 16 street advantage, and be able to catch the bus!

Lessons learned:
1) Need to start exercising more. Feeling tired after 100m is definitely an indication that I am out of shape.
2) If ever racing a bus again, give self more time.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Operation Hail Mary...

With the recently completed mock tests still below the mark, and the time for learning new words having expired, all hope rested on the outcome of Operation Hail Mary. As the name suggests, if the stars aligned, I might have a chance of getting the mark I need on the test.

On the plus side, in the past few days, it seemed that lady luck had been by my side. A couple days ago, I won a Zune; before that, I unexpectedly got a ticket to attend a company gala and got to eat and drink some delicious food and beer...

And today, I ended up getting a great deal on the rental car :). To complement my external fortunes, I added in a brunch of champion and drank the traditional drink of champions (aka coke...not to be confused with brain juice)... all to boost up my morale in preparation for Operation Hail Mary.

But even with all this, it would still be quite a struggle. Walking into the test center early, I didn't sign in to write the test right away, and chose to wait until it was closer to my designated time. Not feeling at all confident, I just sat down and reviewed my notes, while at the same time, tried to muster up all the concentration and confidence that I can gather. It seemed all too much like a lost cause until out of nowhere, the 'sign' appeared! It was not a godly sign, but it was a sign nevertheless! Needless to say, Operation Hail Mary seemed alot more achievable!

So a grueling 3.5 hours later, I come out. Though there were doubts in the middle that Operation Hail Mary failed, luckily, this was not the case. Operation Hail Mary was a SUCCESS!!! Yay!

Now Mson patiently awaits for positive news from the score of the 3rd part of the test, so he can declare that he has won the war!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Infinity Coupon

Seeing the sunrise due to an academic related activity for the first time in 3 years, it was almost nostalgic... that or I might just be too out of it!

Going to sleep when my landlords woke up, I slept a short 3 hours before I had to get up and get to work. With the help of a 15 min power nap I had on the bus on the way to work, I was surprisingly functional. It also helped to find there was a 2 hour all hands meeting right when I got into work. Not having to think after being self-deprived of sleep does wonders!

In like of these circumstances, and with Dday only a short one day away (which I am definitely not ready for), I decided it was time to power up and utilize the last of my Infinity Coupon*. Happily gorging down the dragon and rainbow rolls and drinking tons of coke allowed me to soldier on until night time.... Hopefully the brain food will make me that much smarter for tomorrow...

*Note: Infinity coupon is the self-coined term for my all-you-can-eat at the cafe coupon. The Infinity Coupon sounds alot cooler than the 'all-you-can-eat at the cafe coupon' don't you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Hunt for Pencils

With D-day coming up in a few days, it was time to gather the necessary tools.

After reading through the web site, I found out that I needed to bring HB pencils and erasers. So began my hunt.

At the first place, I was able to buy pencils. But they didn't sell any pencil sharpeners! Isn't that ridiculous? They sell pencils, but no pencil sharpeners, what a funny store! Anyway, in the end, I had to walk to another mall to buy a pencil sharpener.

**Note: I found this adventure quite humorous. But anyway, apparently I didn't need to bring anything except my ID to the test. Everything was provided... guess my reading comprehension skills are quite lacking!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Company Picnic

After passing the driving test, it was time for some fun @ the company picnic!

But before that, perfect as the car was for the driver's test, it would fare alot worse on the real open road. Since the picnic place is a good 20 miles away, I decided that I would see if I could switch my rental car...which I was able to :).

So with the 'perfect' car back at its home where it belongs, I took the new rental and drove to the picnic grounds. I felt it was a very well organized event. It was very interesting, there were lots of games for kids, and for adults as well. Free drinks and free food. Even got a massage for free! On top of that, I learned how to play crabs (with play money). And to top it off, I also got my fortune told (as always, I am a sucker for these things).. twice!

The only slight minus were the long lines. That and I hurt my arm while riding the bull riding simulator. I fell and landed on my arm, and actually went to the urgent care at the hospital the next day since no doctors work on Sunday. Three hours later, no broken bones, no pulled tendons, just normal pain... phewf!.. but ouch!

Driving Test Adventure

So the day before, I picked up the rental in preparation for the driving test today. There seemed to be something wrong with the engine... the tachometer needle would swing wildly at the lowest speeds, the car struggled to go uphill (and actually slid backwards if I was on an incline with it), and the car couldn't go past 70 mph without shaking like a machine gun (not too surprising since I had to floor it to get up to 50 mph). But all this just meant it was the PERFECT car for me! With all these 'features' in place, I am sure not to go over the speed limit :).

With the perfect car under my arsenal, I went ahead and did the driving portion of my driving test. I was pretty sure I failed since I had hit the curb during my test, but miraculously somehow I got 96/100!... Apparently me hitting a curb while simulating backing out of a driveway after having not understood completely what the tester person was asking me to do doesn't constitute as a big X. What luck!

As I glimpsed at the list of people who went before me this day, it seems that I was the best driver by far (everyone else had a lower mark than me), this with me hitting the curb! :)

But since I am unable to prove that I currently do not reside in a box out on the street, I didn't end up getting the actual picture card from the DMV. But in the system, I have passed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mson's 1st Historic Salad Day

After encountering the shiny, oily, greasy food that seem to appear everywhere, I decided that I will pick up a new habit... that of eating salad. Yes, you heard me right...S-A-L-A-D. A word that you would never hear me say at a restaurant. A kind of dish I would always pass off to another if I could...

But today, I will attempt my first ever voluntarily eating and getting salad experience...

Pic of my 'weak' looking salad:

As expected from a salad noobie, the salad I pieced together resembled nothing like the Kraft cook books. And also, it didn't really have that nice aroma that I'd normally get from a slice of pizza or burger. But a new day, a new experience!

Next Month: Salad Day #2... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brain Boost Req'd

Today I utilized my coupon I got from orientation. Here's an excerpt:
Abbreviations: Lunch Lady = LL

Me: So, I have this coupon, what can I get with it.
LL: Hrm, lemme see. (few seconds later)... Um, anything you want.
Me: Anything I want? So how much can I get with it (pointing to the sushi section)
LL: As much as you want!
Me: REALLY? (eyes wide open)
LL: Lemme see your coupon again. (few seconds later)... Yup, you can get 10 ppl's lunches if you wanted to
Me: Are you serious?
LL: Yes

5 minutes later, Mson walks away w/ enough sushi to make him very happy! :)

So hopefully with this brain power boost, I will be able to do better in my studies. Can't say they are going well right now... 17 days left, and I am still VERY far away!...

Perhaps I should invest in a bottle of high quality brain juice... it is half price here after all! Since obviously, the low grade ones I've been having doesn't seem to be having too much of an effect... that or I could start studying harder... hrmm...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

First Bus Experience

So the 1st week of work has officially come to an end. With that, it also means that I have to say good bye to the rental car.

After getting my bus pass, after work I went on my first bus experience here. It was around 5:30pm, and the first bus I tried to get on had 2 people on it. I ended up not going on it --- not because there was no one on it, but because it was the wrong bus! haha. I had 10+ bus route maps in my hand, and I STILL got on the wrong bus... not to mention the wrong direction!

So after asking the bus driver which bus I should take, I crossed over to the other side of the street and got on the first bus that swung by. That one had 10 ppl on it!... But it did get me home :)

Will be on the bus system for another month or so at least I figure, so let's see if this is usual for this city - to have no one take the bus during rush hour!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day Part II: Fireworks

It's not really a nation's birthday without fireworks! So even though watching fireworks is not one of my 'eager-to-do' activities anymore (I wonder when I will enjoy it once again...), figured with only 2 more days with the rental, it beats sitting at home doing nothing!

The choreography was not all that great, but dam there were alot of gunpowder used!!! 15 minutes of non stop fireworks. If I ever remember to I will upload the 1 minute video of the fireworks. All you hear in the background is balabala (sound of fireworks going off continuously)

Here are some pictures I took using the 'human' tripod (aka my hands). To my surprise, some of them turned out pretty cool! But saw the difference between a photo done with a tripod w/ nice camera, and I guess one day I should invest in a tripod and perhaps get a better camera too if I am serious about snapping high quality pics!... Not to mention I need to learn the basic stuff about photography too! :)

Independence Day Part I: Random Drive

After two days of orientation, I got a day off since its Independence Day! What a way to kick off work.. haha..

It was a beautiful day, and the house was hot. So I decided to drive around and see where it takes me. Driving up to Kirkland, I walked around two small beaches and the view is pretty nice.

Can't believe there are houses where every day they can have such a nice view!

Another thing I found interesting was that the crosswalks had flags. Supposedly, if you wanted to cross the street, you pick up one of these flags, then wave it around while you are crossing, then once you cross the street, place the flag back into slots on the pole. What happened to good old fashioned J-walking? lol

Monday, July 02, 2007

First Day of 'Real' Work

I'd say about 100+ people were here at orientation today. Typical orientation like stuff. Did learn quite a lot about the company though. Nothing too special to report other than I ended the day w/ a visit to the visitor's center and the company store.

I spent at least 5 minutes playing around these two stations. I am such a kid!