Saturday, May 31, 2008

My First Football Game in a Stadium

If only I graduated like the normal folks, my grad trip would have been to Europe, touring the continent while at the same time, watching the World Cup games. But of course that didn't happen.

I had always wanted to watch a football game at a stadium... the atmosphere, the live aspects of it. And today I was able to do that.

Having heard a month ago that the Brazil national team was playing against Canada today in Seattle, I had gotten tickets to go watch it! (ya, you'd think they play in Brazil or Canada... but Seattle???). Wasn't really expecting Canada to win or be even close; but then being the Canadian that I am, of course I still cheered for them... (and sometimes Brazil of course :) ).

The best part though was that Canada actually did pretty well I thought. They had a couple great chances to score, and that second goal by #6 was amazing! With the final score being 3-2 (for Brazil), it's proof that Canada didn't really do all that bad.

The atmosphere at the stadium was awesome as well (as expected when Brazil is playing). Lots of drum banging and horn blowing. As well as every time a goal almost happened, the whole section stood up to get a better glimpse.

After the game, went to IMO to drink a bit, where we saw a couple girls dancing and going pretty low. This IMO (or is it EMO?) place is pretty fun. No lineups, cheap drinks, friendly atmosphere... pretty fun place to be at.

What a great nite indeed!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Debut of Beta K

The missions of Beta K can be summarized best in a fellow youngling's blog entry...
"Beta 'K' is a code name for the pre-production stage of the official 'K' platform, which is to simulate the actual experience of a karaoke lounge and drinking at the pleasure of one's own home, ... and drink to his/her heart's content while removing the constraint of forcibly paying boatloads of dough for a good time."

So basically everything in the above blog link covers what I would have said. So less typing for me!

here's the link again! a fellow youngling's blog entry about Beta K...

Monday, May 26, 2008

End of Memorial Weekend

So woke up at 2pm today... ate lunch, then decided to do a jog. I am now up to 16 min! After taking a shower, it was off to a second BBQ. There were lots of bugs towards the end. So I think I will be feeling the aftershock of this later. That was basically the events of the day!

All in all.. this long wkend was pretty good.. didn't get to go to Portland and the beach (in hindsight.. probably could have gone to enjoy the beachy weather and Portland)...but did get to do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. I think I even got slightly more tanned from this weekend!

This weekend also made me think to be more hardcore about keeping fit. Maybe I got reminded by the Wii Fit game, but I just realized that I am very out of shape right now (as I have been saying for the past year!!!). But talk is cheap, so I will start doing little exercises at least once a day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Olympic Sculpture Park

Today, with fellow CS buddy, went to get cultured at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Have been wanting to go here quite some time. And what better day to go than on a nice sunny day that wasn't too hot.

So this park is where a bunch of sculptures are put out in the open and each piece has a short description of it. The coolest one I thought was this one called "Love and Loss". Don't have the pictures yet (you can see it on the SAM's website), but it was really cool. The description describing the piece was very insightful, and it was one of the few that I actually saw what the artist was trying to do!

There was another one at the beginning of the path that was a blue trumpet/sewer thingy of sort. Being the kids we were, we each took one end of the trumpet and tried to speak into it to see if he other can hear. Turns out you are able to hear it... not through opening, but just because the two ends were not really too far After our wonderful demonstration, a little kid who was watching us decided to do the same... hahaha. 5 minutes later, the kid was still going at it... what good role models we are!

Another one that I thought was pretty cool was this one that was suppose to have the idea of 'empty being solid, and solid being empty'. The solid part was made of mirrors so that it reflected the surroundings... which I guess was the solid being empty part. But I wasn't really able to see the 'empty becomes solid' part though. Nevertheless, I thought this one looked pretty cool too.

After getting cultured, we were led to Tiger Mountain to find a park. You may ask, a park in a mountain... wtf?!?!?! My sentiments exactly! Gullible me went, and 10 minutes into the slugs and bugs trail, we turned back because there really didn't seem like a park would be there. So we ended up going to a nearby place where we were sure there was a park.

Also got to play Wii Fit today. Was told I am 35 yrs old, underweight, and that my balance is slightly off to the left.... hrm... there may be some truth in that!

Friday, May 23, 2008

First Hot Pot in Seattle...

After 11 months, I finally had hot pot for the first time in Seattle. It was a home style hot pot. The usual stuff was there, so it was pretty good. Only thing missing was the lamb.

After that, went to Imo's for a drink. Still like the place quite a bit. No lineups, cheap booze, and pretty nice atomsphere. Only thing I wished is that they have newer songs!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Corteo - Cirque du Soleil

After having a quick bite of 80 dumplings between 6 people for dinner, we proceeded to the main event of the night... a Cirque du Soleil show!

So this one was called Corteo, and was about a clown on his deathbed dreaming about all the people he had put on a show with. Tons of acrobatics, but one thing I noticed though is that the acts were not executed as perfectly as Ka. There looked to be quite a few slips throughout the show... the actors at the see-saw act did not land on the same spot all the time. I crinched each time they landed back on the board, because the recoil that shot up through their legs looked so painful! Some small parts were also not completely synchronized. But it was still an awesome show nevertheless.

The show was in some ways better than Ka. There was a lot of audience interaction. During the beginning of the show, some actor stole our popcorn and threw it around. (We did get a fresh bag afterwards). The other cool part was that during the show, this lady was strapped on a bunch of balloons and so she was floating and jumping around the audience. It was pretty funny and cool!

All in all, it was an awesome show. Best part is that I didn't even have to travel to Vegas for it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Supermall Day

Even though I did not look up the mall, I did end up taking my fellow Canadian tourits to a shopping mall - what kind of tour guide would I be if I did not :)

So the place we went to was called Supermall. It was actually pretty huge and even after 3 hours, we still did not end up walking through the entire mall.

Supposedly it was a really good deal going on there today! So we ended buying a whole bunch of stuff from Corelle.

Mom was giddy with delight after these purchases (as seen from the pics :D)! Between the 3 of us, we ended up buying 8 tops, 1 pair of pants, 6 lids, 2 pyrex, and 3 plates at the mall... with the latter 11 items all from the same store!

After shopping, went to Ray's Boathouse. Surprisingly, the food was not too good this time. There were fish bones in sampler (I did not recall encountering bones the last few time I had it), and the sauces did not taste all all that well. The prawns were ok, but the fish was cooked a little too well today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Whidbey Island Day

For the past few days, have been having good home made food! What a nice change to be actually wondering what dinner would be, instead of wondering what to make for dinner. Ah, not having to wonder what to have to cook after I get home from work, what a nice life!

So this weekend is one of the hottest weekends ever in Seattle. Friday was soo hot that after dinner, we went and looked for a fan... but ended up getting a rug instead. Now my place has a nice pretty rug... but still no fan. But meh... I have a rug!!! :)

The next morning, we set out to Whidbey Island for a nice and relaxing day there. We visited a friend of my aunt's and was shown the island. My aunt's friend place was very nice and very pretty. Had a great view of the mountains, and was very bright! Most of the windows did not have any blinds at all, and were these big windows that let in alot of light. Strangely though, the house was not overly hot from the sunlight, and not excessively bright. It's nice enough that instead of living like a vampire 24/7, I am starting to consider opening my blinds during the day at my own place!

After lunch, drove an hour or so to this place called Deception Pass... which had a pretty nice view. Took a bunch of pictures and even saw a seal! On the way back, went to good ol' Baskin Robbins. Haven't had it since OAC.. still ever just as good!

Returning to the Seattle area, went to a restaurant and tried Peking Duck. Wasn't expecting too much, so wasn't overly disappointed. The duck was crispy, but the way they skinned it... they REALLY skinned it. There was zero meat attached to the skin, so it was just getting skin with the bread. The color wasn't all that shiny and bright either. Though the main part wasn't done well, the lettuce wrap was actually pretty good. So I guess it wasn't too too bad. So the hunt continues for the perfect Peking Duck in Seattle!

Monday, May 12, 2008

End of First Weekend Vacation

To end the trip at Calgary, had a final dim sum session in Calgary with aunts and uncle. The dim sum place was pretty good. Was very impressed with the food. I think Calgary actually has better chinese food than Seattle! This was also those more modern styled dim sum places, so I really liked the decor. Square plates just have a certain zing to it.

After lunch, then proceeded to the airport. For various reasons, arrived there 4 hours+ early, so had a chance to catch up on shows and also start going through the hundreds of pics taken over the last few days.

This marks the end of the Calgary weekend and my first ever 'weekend' vacation trip!

And so with that, back to work tomolo...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Grandma's 80th Bday Day - Day II

Today's plan was to go to Lake Louise (2 hours or so away), and have brunch at Fairmont. Then be around Banff and enjoy yet another day of scenery.

In order to make brunch, needless to say waking up early was a requirement. So once again, trooper Mson woke up bright and early and hopped onto the car to snap some pictures along the way, and also to continue the much needed beauty sleep.

So two hours later, we arrived at the Fairmount. The service was pretty good, and you can definitely tell it is a classy place. There was a harpist harping away, and the maitre'Ds moved tables away for us so we can snap some family pictures. To top it off, when we asked for crab tools and all they had were the nutcrackers, the server at a later time brought out some crab meat all peeled out of the claws. Talk about going the extra mile!

But I guess that's what is expected at $50/per head (excluding tax and gratuity)! Even though it was a buffet brunch, it seemed a bit pricey for me. Throughout the meal, I kept recalling how for $60, I could get a sizable all seafood (oyster, crab, shrimp) appetizer, a beer AND a seafood entree for dinner. Or for $45, brunch at Salty's on Alki. BUT, the older folks seemed very excited and enjoyed the meal at the place, and that is not something money can always buy. So I guess it was worth it afterall :D!

After lunch, we took yet another round of pictures around Lake Louise, then I bid farewell to a few of my cousins and aunt as they started to head back to Calgary to catch a flight back to TO. After the farewell, the remaining troopers continued towards Vancouver direction to go deeper into Banff/Jasper.

It seemed like this scenic tour requires quite a bit of driving. From one scenic spot to the next, there was quite a bit of driving involved. But I guess better the car do the walking than I :). At each spot, snapped a whole bunch of pictures. I ended up taking a little less than 200 pictures on this 2.5 day trip to Calgary!

Eventually, we headed back to Calgary to have dinner with grandma. After dinner, we went up to grandma's place for a little bit. Apparently I was suppose to have been there before, but didn't remember at all. Seeing this place, it reminded of a lot like residence. It had all the basic necessities (bed, couch, dining table etc) but not really all that much decoration or extra niceless. But I guess the more stuff you have, the more cleaning you would have to do... so it's probably better to have just what you need. I also heard a few stories from grandma this night, which was pretty cool. One thing though is that the place was really warm!

And with that, the Bday Wkend comes to an end....
Some Photos of the Calgary Weekend

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Grandma's 80th Bday Day - Day I

Waking up bright and early... we went on our way towards Kanakaskas... a place 1 hour west or so from Calgary. Lots of snow, trees and water... took tons of scenery pictures... but it was a lot of driving!

After the trip to Kanakaskas, went back with cousins to complete the picture frame project! So the 5 of us (yes, FIVE of us) endeavoured to the poster into the picture frame... One hour later, the picture is in the frame! :)

For dinner, went to this Chinese restaurant, where we had reserved a table inside a room. The dishes came out really fast and before we know it, most of our dishes were there. I guess that was ok but 3/4 of the way through, this random guy walks in, stares at our table, then starts mumbling about how he would not be eating until 9pm or some sh*t like that.

I am guessing he must have made reservations for the room or something, but wtf?!?! He should really have shut up and stop b*tching about how he booked the room out loud. So disrespectful and rude; and on Mother's Day too. Every 5 minutes the guy would go, "kids are suppose to be at that smaller table, and we (to his group) are suppose to be sitting here... We are not gonna get to eat till 9pm"... He's really lucky that grandma didn't seem to hear any of it, and that the whole family was here. Imagine if he said something like this in a bar, he would definitely get his a55ed kicked. Too bad I am such a gentlemen (and not drunk), otherwise sparklers that I bought for the cake might just have gone on his face.

After dinner, we went to the cemetery to see Grandpa's grave. This was the first time I've been to it since I was not able to make the funeral when he passed away. This was actually one of the reasons I had wanted to come to Calgary this weekend. Wasn't really sure what I am suppose to do, but just felt that I wanted to go and see it. Though we weren't there for a long time, what I thought was most touching was that when grandma arrived, the first thing she did was go up to the stone where grandpa was and wiped away the dust/dirt that was on it. Throughout dinner, she seemed to look very sleepy, but at grandpa's resting place, she moved with such agility that I didn't even notice she was at the front until she was already done tidying the place up! That was really heart warming...

After all of us paid our respects to grandpa, we went back to uncle's house and took more pictures and gave the picture frame to grandma. With all the cameras that we have, wouldn't be surprised if we took 100+ pics just from this part of the night!

Also called the little cousins in HK. Sadly, they didn't remember me... and here I was 8 years ago teaching them how to swim!... hahahaha... Guess I will forgive them though... since back then, one was 2 yrs old and the other was 10 mths old or so... (this and the fact that they called me 'bui gor').. wuhahaha!

Friday, May 09, 2008

En route to Calgary

So last weekend, I was thinking: wouldn't it be nice to go to Calgary and see my autns and uncle. So with that, the following Monday, I decided to book tickets to fly up to Calgary for my grandma's 80th, just like that!... wuhahaha

So after work, hopped on to a plane, and Calgary bounded I was!

First time taking Alaskan this time, and I was very surprised that they served complimentary booze on the plane. Me and the passenger next to me didn't believe it when we heard it. Supposedly they rationed people to get only 2 cups (as the lady flight attendant told me when I asked for a double refill). But as the plane continued to fly, the same flight attendant just walked by every so often and topped my cup off! So 1.5 hr flight later, 3.5 cups of beer for me. Guess I got more than the 'average' Jo.

So the person sitting next to me was pretty cool. We actually talked for the entire duration of the flight! She was telling me how her aunt is a war veteran, and she had her aunt's medals for with her for safekeeping. So during the flight, she pulled the picture frame with all the medals and showed me. That was pretty cool... first time seeing real actual medals. Turns out she is also an amateur photography and a cancer survivor. What I thought was most intriguing was that she looked very happy with her life, able to joke about her ordeals and such. It's really interesting to hear her talk about her life. Talking with her made the flight go by sooo fast - she is one of those people that you just get all cheered up talking to!

Arriving at the Calgary airport at midnight, I saw my mom, aunt, uncle and my 2 cousins (my mom and cousins just flew in 30 minutes ago)! Then it was off to the house for some picture framing time!

By the time we arrived, alot of people were sleeping already, but we ended up waking up pretty much the whole house except for 3 people! :). Saw my lil uncle and aunt for the first time in 10+ years :). So after waking up most of the house (not on purpose), we went to work on getting the picture frame set up. This was truly a team effort, and the movie I took of it is somewhere on another computer. But everyone at the scene had input and contributed to this collage my cousin made for our grandma. It was a pretty nice piece of art.. of which I had input in!

So an hour or so of this work, the Toronto-lites were all getting tired ... so called it a night to get ready to wake up bright and early the next day... at 9am GASP!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Culture Day @ SAM!

So the Louvre exhibit was in town for the last few months apparently. Supposedly the Louvre museum was undergoing renovation, so they sent most of their pieces out on loan. There were lots of sculptures present and seeing how I have not been cultured for quite a while, today seemed the perfect day for a little Roman art.

So arriving at the SAM just in time, we were able to catch the tour. The tour went on for an hour and a bit, which was much longer than the last tour I went on I think. But it was an interesting tour. The lady did a great job tying the historical context with the art. And seeing how I love history, the tour was pretty interesting!

Also saw a few people drawing the sculptures. I peaked at how they are doing and I think it's really cool that they are so artistically talented... able to draw something on the spot, that looks just like it!

I had always thought the other parts of the art gallery does not change much. But only walking briefly through the other floors, it seems there are new art pieces (though there were alot of the older ones as well). Next time I go back I think I will definitely go and walk through those floors in detail!

After getting cultured, with it being such a nice day, I went for a jog. I can happily say that I can now jog for 15 min (instead of 4:37min)! Hopefully in a couple weeks I can get up to 20 min, or even 30 min.

Cultured Mson out.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

First Ever Instructorless Scuba!

Summary: Got as deep as 50 ft, total dive time: 33 min. Started with 2200 psi, ended with 600 psi. The most interesting part was that 1000 psi was spent on the surface! 500 psi to swim out, and 500 psi to swim back. The current must be stronger than I thought.

Gathering the gear the day before, woke up bright and early at 8:05 am today (yes, on a Saturday ) to go scuba-ing. My first official dive after being certified :).

The dive itself was only 33 minutes long. But it was still pretty fun. A couple funny/interesting things happened...

1) Fell like a turtle walking to the shore...
So with all our gear set up, we proceeded to walk towards the shore with it. There were some logs here and there, and for the most part, they were easy to walk over. There was one particular one that was slightly higher than the rest. The 3 people in front of me easily went over them, so following their example, I thought it be easy as well. Monkey see, monkey do :)... But since I am slightly shorter, with the weight that I have (tank + weight system), and the decreased mobility from the dry suit... I put my leg up on the log, used it to lift myself up, then in SLOW motion, I fell sideways...TIMMMBEERRR! Hahaha... I think I had the classic running man pose (one hand up, one hand down) as I fell too. The coolest thing was because of all the gear, I did not feel anything from the fall (I was falling really really slowly, and I think the tank might have hit the ground first)...just like a turtle!

2) Drifting currents
All the previous times that I went diving, the water was pretty calm and not much swimming was really needed. A little kick here, a little kick there, and I am well on my way. Today though, there was actually a current, so actually had to kick in order to not drift away from the dive site. There wasn't any crazy currents, but enough to make me have to work out my legs a little. It did get better once we got deeper in the water though.

3) Supermaned up ~35 ft...
Started to dive, and began to see some starfish and what not. Went down to 50 ft for less than a couple minutes, then started slowly going back up a little bit. Prior to going back up, I had put more air into the dry suit so it didn't squeeze as much. But I guess with the tank having less air than before, going up 10 ft or so made a big difference in the volume of the air. So logically, I tried to release the air inside the dry suit to compensate. But the valve, like the last few times I was diving, does not seem to point at the right place properly and so the air couldn't get out of the dry suit. So with that, I began to shoot straight up ~35 ft!.. yikes! Pretty dangerous indeed. Tried at one point to kick myself back down, but then decided against it since I didn't want to get inverted - where a person would surface leg first (without a purge valve at the leg, that meant no chance of air coming out of the dry suit anyway). So I did the only thing I can do, and just fully exhale and kept my head down. Once I surfaced, I was hoping to go back down, but the air inside the drysuit just wasn't coming out. Even with the 20+ lbs of weight, I couldn't sink. So with that, I just made my way towards the shore.

I think I will try diving with a wet suit next time and brave the cold. That or I will need to find a place that rents dry suits where there's a button I can press to purge air from the dry suit, rather than a valve working based on height differential.

All in all though, it was pretty fun. I wouldn't say it was a perfectly smooth dive, but it was a good first official instructorless dive! Lots more things to work on before I will feel save going deeper into the abyss...

So the scuba adventure continues...
More Photos - Edmonds Oil Rig