Sunday, August 31, 2008

Los Angeles Part III - A Ferry Ride and a Club

Our plan was less aggressive today... wake up at 10am (instead of 9am), then go to Venice beach, follwed by a nice dinner at Del Marina, then proceed onto some LA nightlife.

Ended up waking up at 10:30ish (better than yesterday...), and then we actually ran some errands. LA Swim Buddy went to IKEA to buy furniture while other Swimming Buddy and I went grocery shopping. Picked up the laundry as well and then we headed off to the beach.

As luck would have it, lots of people were at the beach, enough that there was no parking... driving around for more than half an hour, we decided to go to Del Marina and see what there is to walk around there.

The most interesting part was the ferry ride conversation with the 'girl who never smiles in photos'. Very interesting girl who seems very wise (which you would never guess seeing how she forgot ALL her clothes after surfing the day before... lol)... But nevertheless, it was really refreshing talking to her. Quite a few interesting things I heard, but the one I keep thinking about is:
..."Anyone can treat you nice, but who do you see as someone who you can be with for the rest of your life and be someone who you can see your kids grow up well with"...
Its funny that as simple as this sounds, its something I have never really considered in the past. I agree completely with the first and second part, but really never thought about the third part at all. And come to think of it, that is exactly something that I would want in a person... and in myself...

Recently, alot of very simple phrases have been making quite an impact on me. Little analogies here, few one liners there, they all seem to make so much sense, just in their raw form. Makes me think that I have just been over-complicating and overthinking too many things these days. Should really take a step back and reevaluate where I am headed, and what my goals really are...

Anyway, moving back on to the day... Dinner was really good (the place was called Shanghai Reds). It was a seafood restaurant, and I was REALLY full by the end of it. We ended up having 1 bottle of wine, 3 appetizers (oysters, garlic bread, escargots), 4 main courses, and 2 deserts between the 4 of us. And my main course had lobster, salmon, prawns and clams in it... Mmmm...

Very good recommendation indeed!

We then headed back home and while everyone else was getting ready and putting chairs together, I took a quick nap... hahahha. 3 hours later (or 2)... we were ready to go, ending up in a lounge in Hollywood (there was not much going on in LA downtwon on Sun nite... which was really surprising for me)... This lounge is a bit different than what I've seen before. Most people were just talking, not really dancing, but there was not a whole of tables. It was more like a mingling center moreso than anything else. The other cool thing was that half of it was outdoors, and there was a 2nd floor where you can see the outdoor part of the lounge.

Got back home at a decent time... another fun filled relaxing day in good ol' Cali!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Los Angeles Part II - SURFING!

We were suppose to wake up at 9am... but ended up waking a little bit past that (ahem 11am...). So first thing we did was call up a surfschool and book some surfing lessons. After a quick lunch, we proceeded to go to Santa Monica for some good wholesome sun!

So this time, I was actually able to stand up quite a few times - which I thought was amazing. Sea water hitting my face... wiping out numerous times... being able to stand up... seeing the waves crash on top of me... I loooove surfing! lol

After a few fun filled hours of surfing, we chilled at the beach for a little bit, then went to a nearby bar and had some bubba shrimp. The shrimp was really good there!... that or maybe I was hungry from surfing.

Bumming around the area, we saw some pretty nice views of the beach and sunset, then went to 3rd street promenade for food. The funniest part was when LA swim buddy was hunting for a restroom at the gas station. Long story short, it was simply hilarious! Excerpt from that day...

LA Swim Buddy: Hi, can I use the bathroom?
Gas Station Dude: The girls washroom is broken...
(LA Swim Buddy just stands there, with legs crossed and twisting, eyeing the Gas Station Dude with that poor kid look as he served other customers)
Gas Station Dude: Do you wanna use the men's one?
LA Swim Buddy: YES! (Gas Station Dude points her in the direction, then she proceeds to run towards the bathroom... ... ... only to find it locked... ... )
.... At this point, I almost burst out laughing

Yes yes I know.... it's mean to be laughing, I did feel bad for her... but it was just funny how Murphy's Law ended up happening...

Had dinner at an Italian restaurant, then afterwards, saw this little girl (I think she was 8 yrs old) singing Alisha's No One song. That little girl was AMAZING and was soo cute with her piano and singing skills and marketing... She was selling her own CDs and was getting the crowd into her music and all. Can you imagine? A 8 yr old kid doing that... wow!

As we swung around the corner towards the car, we saw a crepe restaurant... so we jumped in for desert. Loooove crepes! Then after crepes we walked around and took some pictures by palm trees (Cali classic pics :) )

Pretty packed day... very fun and relaxing indeed!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Los Angeles Part I - First Night as a Local

A spur of the moment decision, a chance to see the Getty museum, and the possibility to surf...

Result: hopped on a plane to LA on Friday... and 3 hours later... there I was!

On the way there, ended up talking to the person next to me. It was pretty cool in a way. She lives her life by not thinking too much ahead; and so she ends up being pretty carefree. Same age as me, but just seems so hakuna matata. Guess that's a lifestyle I can never live...

Wouldn't it be great though, for just one day, to not have to think about anything at all... hrmm....

Arrived at the airport to rendezvous with my swimming buddies. Went to a local bar and tried some really cool and different beer. Then called it a day!

After 2 years.. I am back in Cali :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Seattle Predrink Experience

The genius plan CS Buddy and I came up with last week was put into action this week.
Predrink... THEN go clubbing... easy parking, get some dinner, safe some money... brilliant idea indeed.

So first there was a Seattle night market... sponsored by a casino. It was pretty small scale. There was a few interesting booths, but nothing too too eye catching. Did have coconut juice though! Soooo yummy!

After that, went to good ol' Imo for dinner and predrink. No need to show ID anymore as I have become a 'regular' there... The food was great, and the house sake is always good and suitable to my mood. Ended up having 3 of these just because of timing... haha...

Time passes by fast when you drink 3 of them in less than 2 hours... lol. So into the club we go, meeting up w/ the bday girl. Had a few drinks, and realized that the predrinking was miscalculated a tiny bit... Definitely need to lower the buy count inside the club next time.

The cool thing was though that we did get some VIP passes for the next few times we go. Nice bartender gave me quite a few of these cards when I was closing out the tab.

Note to self:
Predrink Algorithm:
If 3 bottles of house sake, then this is plenty good
If 2 bottles of house sake, then one or two drink is pretty good
If 1 bottle of house sake, means I had a dinner at IMO
If 0 bottles of house sake, means IMO probably ran out of sake that night...

Ever since I've been back, I've been doing a whole bunch of random stuff... My life can be eventful and full of activities... but why do i still feel so empty?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Intern Farewell

The one night at Anacortes was not really enough for me to catch up on my sleep. But it was a good start. Olympics though is killing my sleep time with such ease! You can call me lor lei chin, but hey.. this happens only once every 4 years!

But anyway, as tired as I was from the recent activities, hearing tonight was the night of the intern farewell, how can I say no and not go. I was originally going to take a nap before I go, but then after doing a few random things, it was already time to head over. The nap would probably have gone a long way.

It was great that almost everyone gathered for this outing w/ the intern. It was pretty fun indeed. Didn't really drink all that much but probably due to lack of sleep, just crashed at Kirkland native's place and called it a night.

Woke up the next day at the regular time, then decided to get an oil change (since I was in the area already)... and off to Friday we go!

Man.. I really need to start finding some time to just sleep in on a weekend to make up for the humongous sleep deficit I have been accruing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An inter-office mail...

Having remembered that I was expecting mail, I went to the mailroom to pick up the package. Surprisingly, there was not one, but two packages sitting in my mail box.

Turns out the unexpected package was a book, with a note in it... apparently it's been there since Aug 8 (right at the start of Olympics!)...

Sorry it took so long for me to see it. But nevertheless, if you do read this blog... thanks for sending the book over. You have no idea how much I appreciate it... Funny how I would come across this book at this moment in time...Timing has always been the key to everything hasn't it?

More to come in a later post (probably on Mson's Collection...) but I did finish this book within a few days. Very thought provoking and a good book indeed. I think this is one of the first books EVER that I am actually rereading...

I only wish I can do something to return the favor as well... but the current me can't really do much right now. Just goes to show how much I have fallen, or that you have grown...

Thank you again... (I promise I will return the book to you some day...)

Update: Alchemist...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anacortes Weekend - Part II b - The After Morning

Towards the end of the morning, we went down to the shore to 'clean the crabs'. It was pretty cool how the crab was ripped apart. I was even more impressed how easy it was to do.

1. Find a rock, and then slide the side of the crab shell against the rock and pry open the lid and legs apart
2. Snap the crab in half using a twisting motion...
It was actually pretty fun doing that! Using my bare hands to open crab up. Funnnnn!

The 'cleaning' part of it was actually the notion of washing the fat off the crab (ie. the yellow, and red stuff that is on the crab legs after opening it up). As expected in western cultures, the lid and this good stuff gets tossed back into the sea!.. After seeing sooo many of these crab lids go back, I couldn't hold back anymore and started to keep a few of them so I can grill them later. I mean... even though it's a bit weird... how can I let good food ...FRESH good food like that go to waste!!! So I ended up taking 5 of the crab lids back up to the cottage and grilled them... soooo yummy... so fattening. My body must hate me... but since I scuba-ed this morning, it should balance out!

At the end of the afternoon, we went to grab the crabpots and there were a few crabs caught. Apparently it needs to be a certain size in order for them to be considered edible. That's where the crab gauge came in! :)

Throughout the day, aside from the beer and liquor, I ended up eating crabs continuously! I must have had easily 6 or 7 crabs throughout the day. Tried so hard to resist, but since it was staring at my face, the crabs were basically asking to be eaten... and so I did! Loooove fresh crab! Soooo amazing! Ahh... I gotta learn how to hunt for fresh crabs on my own and start making them. Can you imagine, wake up on a Sunday, go Scuba around the area, then come back with a few fresh crabs to eat at night (these crabs are pretty big too because if too small, you have to let them go).

Aside from all this, I also managed to conjure up a new drink that I have now coined as 'brain eraser'... because of the effects it produced after consuming it. This lost innate sense of drink mixing random stuff must have been relearned by me after having been drinking a ridiculous amount for the past month... The secret recipe is below:

1. 2 (maybe 3) generous shots of rum
2. Fill cup to 3/4 with coke
3. Add a shot (not more) of raspberry vodka (to give it a nice smell)
4. Add a half shot of whiskey (to give it a little spice)
5. Top off with coke to induce the natural mixing effect
Result: Very good tasting... very dam strong... and two of them later... .... ... ...

Anyway, having not really have slept all that much for the past 3 weeks (been basically sleeping at 3am+ for various reasons, and waking up at pretty early times... I was told I was passed out by 9:30. The 'brain eraser' probably contributed to my early demise, but in a way, I was glad it did because I got a very good night's sleep out of it!

Also apparently I did a kegstand of some sort... but don't remember that at all... lol..

Fun times.. fun times indeed!

Anacortes Weekend - Part II a - The Morning

Waking up bright and early, I woke up to participate in the crabpot dropping adventure. It was pretty interesting, boating out to the lake, then dropping these crabpots filled with chicken meat, trying to lure the crab in. After laying these into the water, we went back to shore, and suited up for a scuba adventure!

My objective was to be a hunter and fish my own keep. Having bought a goodie bag the day before and also the crab gauge, I was all excited and ready to hunt!

Result: No crabs, only found a snail... and when I cooked the snail, it wasn't even
edible!... lol

The dive wasn't too good though, because the visibility was REALLY poor - had a hard time seeing even one foot in front of me. So the dive consisted of holding on to a line and pulling on it to move forward. Goggles were fogging up quite frequently too... not quite sure why. Another new experience was that I tried using a wetsuit in the open Seattle water today. Surprisingly, it was not cold at all. On land, I would even say I was boiling!

The saddest part was that throughout the dive I had to kick with my one fin. Made a newbie mistake of letting go of my fin on the shore when putting on the other... something the instructor had always told us not to do... but I did anyway. Let that be a lesson to me to always listen... haha... so with that ... bye bye fin! :( Now I need to get a new set of fins in order to go surfing. Lucky I didn't get the super $$$ fins but the starter fins. Otherwise that'd have sucked!

All in all though, it was another new (but extremely fun) scuba experience.

And to think.. noon hasn't even hit yet... and I've already gone out on a boat, scuba-ed... and had a few beers!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anacortes Weekend - Part I

Having gotten back only a few days ago, it was time again to travel. This time the destination is just an hour or so north of, at a place called Anacortes.

After a quick bite, we proceeded to head up and on first arrival, the weekend is off to a great start... because what laid directly in front of me were a few things...
1. Booze... and lots of it
2. Crabs... and lots of it
3. Clear sky... and lots of that as well!

After eating some delicious freshly fished crab, proceeded to have the India I vs. Canada ping pong match.. in which Canada won flawlessly and cruised easily to victory. Losing only to Team Japan, Canada did pretty well...

The highlight was when India I's knees gave out while filming the game between India II vs. Japan. Guess that's what happens when you say that B151 is just water... hahaha!

Pretty fun night, and tomorrow will be even more amazing... scuba adventure for crabs!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 7

Final day in TO, and so had the classic lobster noodle with family, then off to airport I go!

On the plane, having exhausted the movie selection, I ended up watching Definitely, Maybe on the plane. The one thing the movie keeps striking home to me is 'timing' and second chances.
Timing's right, missed opportunities...
Chance shows up, seizing the wrong opportunity...
Timing's off, realizing too late...
Fate strikes once more, promising to not make the same mistake again...
Perhaps the best lesson is that to realize a future, the first step is to start at the present.

Anyway, come home to find that the car battery died ... it looks like I turned on one of the lights right before I left... which is the only logical explanation I have of why the battery would die. Good thing I am not totally alone here in Seattle, and had someone to call on to help jump start the car.

So ends one week in Toronto... worked hard, played hard... Sooo tired!!! But alot to think about... ... ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 6

Day 5 in TO was chilling with high school friends. It's always awesome to see and hear how they are doing. Its so interesting to see how we are all doing different things nowadays!

Then on Day 6, had a nice lunch in the afternoon, and hearing all the fun times she was having makes me think why can't I do this here in S.Town? It's always nice to see her again... sure wished we can talk more!

At night, met up w/ Anime Buddy and Law for bbtea :). She was fashionably late... but it was well worth the wait because she was all dressed up and looked stunning!.. I guess next time I should dress better (instead of wearing whatever I can find :) )... felt like a bum in Anime Buddy's presence!!! Chatted about random stuff and what not, ahhh how nice it is!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 4

Family BBQ time!

Big cousin brought some mixers to make margaritas.
Other big cousin was our chef.
Bro was shucking oysters.

My contribution: I was eating and drinking!!! :D .. I was also shucking a few oysters too... it's alot easier than I remembered it to be... I must somehow gained some experience as it was devouring oysters in S.Town.

Key highlights:
Family Portion vs. Regular Portion
So while big cousin was making margaritas, Hermie decides that there's not enough kick to it, so we unanimously up the ratio... resulting in the terms Family and Regular Portion.
Family Portion - The ratio that would have made a mickey of tequila quite enough for making margaritas for 15 people.
Regular Portion - The ratio that would have made a mickey of tequila quite lacking for making margaritas for 15 people.

Liquor Run
Running low on tequila the young folks' decision was that we needed to go on a liquor run... only to find out that the liquor stored closed early. So instead, we raided lil cousin's stash... hahaha...
Sadly there wasn't much though (half a shot of rum and maybe 6 shots of grey goose...) but it had to do!

Thx for the donation lil cousin!... heh heh heh

Sangria.... aka Red Wine
Carefully making the 'family' style Sangria, we added only 1 or 2 glasses of red wine into the mix. As the older folks went off to watch Olympics, Hermie decides to go crazy and pour the entire bottle of red wine into the Sangria!!! So fellow Waterloo alumni and I had to fix up the Sangria to make it drinkable once again... Hermie denies that the red wine Sangria tasted bad though (when EVERYONE who tried it has a grimace drinking his original creation)...

4x100m Relay
Not really related to the family gathering, but a noteworthy mention. Tonight was also the 4x100m freestyle relay final for the Olympics. It was a GREAT race (at least half the teams were breaking the world record). The finish was also just ridiculously exciting - with USA coming from behind to take the gold over France. With 20m or so left, the anchor for USA just inches his way with every pull to beat France. Same stroke rate, but just that raw power and determination. Simply an amazing race!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 3

Today's highlight is Rickard's White...oh.. and also Melissa's bday! Haven't seen the gang since Xmas, so was pretty looking forward to it. Can't believe after 3 years, my 'story' is still spoken about... hahaha. It's too funny when I go 'Hi, I am Manson' and then the response is 'ohhhh... are you THAT Manson'... lol

Back to the beer though... it was very smooth and very refreshing. Perfect summer beer! Wish they had it back in S.Town.

Two interesting question at dinner:
To a guy:
a. If you can be a girl for a day, what would you want to do/experience?
and to a girl:
b. If you can be a guy for a day, what would you want to do/experience?

For question a., the consensus of the table was.... nothing!.. haha.
For question b., there were all sorts of things... I think one of them was pee-ing standing up... lol

Guess girls do think more than guys perhaps?

Pretty good night overall, really nice seeing everyone again!

Friday, August 08, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 2

Was suppose to wake up for the Olympics, but missed that slightly by 3 hours!

Saw the repeat of it over some wings and beer, then headed out for a K outing... been soooo long!

Heard some beautiful singing, drank some great drinks... and played some dice, and afterwards, had some meaningful convos with beer. Ahhh... what fun times!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 1

Meeting up with fellow Waterloo alumni, my first infusion of drinking money in Canada arrives :) - I had totally forgotten that I gave her all my textbooks to sell/use before I left for the US.

So we did the usual and found a place to eat and chat. Very nice as always catching up with old friends. Turns out she was a regular at the place we went to today.

After the lunch, did a little work and then it was off to downtown for some dinner. Then after dinner, went to see my friend's new place and then to a bar... Didn't know you can own a hotel room. That was pretty cool!

Also got reacquainted with the TTC system. What a nice system. Fast and efficient!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

One Week in Toronto - Day 0

Working insanely for the last few weeks, the day finally came that I fly back for one week to Toronto. The reason I came back for originally had been cancelled months prior, but then since the flight's been booked, why not come back! :)

First time connecting through Vanc, and it is not really a great experience at all. Was very rushed at the airport in Vanc. The baggage people 'forgot' to load our checked in luggage... so a bunch of us waited for 45 minutes fretting that we would miss our connecting flight. One group of three actually missed the flight because of this! Hope everything worked out for them and that they got compensated somehow.

With bro picking me up, we went directly for some shanghai food. Oh man it was good... ended up with a biiiiig bill... lol.. oops! Thx Bro! :D

Ah how I miss Shanghai food!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Cubbing and Movie Watching

The last time I clubbed in Seattle was about ... oh... 6 mths ago. So it was time to go and check it out. Drinks were very hard to get this time around...always had to wait to be served. I guess I have lost my knack for getting served. It was a good time though. Quite a few people ended up going (I was expecting 4 or 5... ended up being almost 10 ppl)

Before leaving for the club, I began watching this chinese movie with alex fong in it. After clubbing, ended up going back and finishing the movie - was suppose to continue drinking and playing games, but I guess that fell through.. so drank and watched movie instead!

It was pretty good. The plot was very messed up (in a good way), and the twists in the movie were very subtle but impactful. It was nice and short, so I wouldn't mind watching that movie again!

The one take away from the movie: timing is everything...