Thursday, December 10, 2009

blooooowfish and the boot

Today I booked off my evening so I can try for the first time in my life, blowfish. A fish I came to know about when I watched Simpsons wayyy back, today I finally get the chance to try it.

Supposedly a little bit of poision from this fish can kill 2500 mice. It has 5 layers of skin, and I think every layer is edible! Pretty cool eh?

We started off with a sashimi plate - that had both sashimi and 2 layers of its skin. Then we had a piece of sushi of it (which was really yummy), then a hot pot, and then the remaining broth was used to make 'pau fan'. The 'pau fan' was really
good I thought - I am always tempted to say it was actually sweet!

The taste is hard to describe. I would almost say its like beef without the blood - if that makes any sense at all. It did feel very healthy eating the meal though. It felt very 'clear'..., only thing was it was a tad expensive (ie. good to do once or twice, but not something I would do every week).

Still feeling hungry, we then headed back to good ol' Redmond for some happy hour oysters. Filled out our stomach, then I drove allll the way back across to go to a german bar. And then that is where I saw.... the Boot! Yes, the boot, the bubble, the bubble!!! Without waiting, I orderd one and off we went :). 2L of beer, in one container, THAT is THE one drink!

Who'd thought - of all places, I would eat blowfish and drink the boot here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

K w/ Booze - Finally

Inciting people to action, today we got our hands on a liquor license, and booked a room to sing... in Seattle!

Started off at this place called BBQ Chicken. Had some ramen (aka Instant Noodles) and some pretty decent fried chicken. Chicken and beer, ahhhh... made me think of the Cali days!

Afterwards, the main venue of the night came. Armed with liquor and wine, the 5 of us sang, drank just like old times. We even had chicken wings in the room from the BBQ Chicken place.

The only quirky thing was that apparently, we had to reserve the dice ahead of them - booking a room does not guarantee that there will be dice. Had we known, we'd bring our own... hahahahha.

It was great though being to just sing and, well at some point, yell... lol. Haven't done that in quite awhile. $35 a person wasn't too bad at all for a fun night of reminiscing of old times.

(yes, 3 drink limit definitely broken here... again)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Whistler Weekend

Having obliterated the 3 drink limit, I get a wake up call at 1:15pm on Thursday, so I quickly got ready and began the trek up north.

New boots, new skis, new gloves, new poles - Whistler, here I come!

Nothing too eventful today, there was some truck that got sliced in half. Other than that, nothing much except for just alot of driving and some Korean food.

Friday - Ski Day I
It was sooo icy! The boots felt slightly weird to start, but eventually it worked out. First time wearing brand new boots is such a different feeling it seems. By the end of the day, body was sooo in pain - good thing it wasn't from the falling thought. To remedy, went to hot tub... twice! :)

Saturday - Rest Day
Body sooo sore the day before, so just slept in. Waking up at normal time, went downstairs for a nice full service AYCE brunch. They changed my forks and knives with EVERY plate! Talk about class. After the brunch, started reading the Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho (yes, this is like the 5th book I read of the guy) at the lounge sipping my $20 drink! Ended the night with a lobster and steak meal... Mmmmm...

Sunday - Ski Day II + Trek Home
Morning - One last ski. It was alot less icy today, and maybe because I have gotten more used to the slopes, my body was not really sore at all. Went down my first black diamond in Whistler with fellow travel agent - well, we sorta went down it... lol. Did I think 10 runs today, so was pretty good given we were only on the slopes for 4 or 5 hours.
After packing up, drove by to Vanc and decided on having one of my all-time favorite restaurants... Swiss Chalet! Haven't had it for a few years now, and it looks like inflation have gotten to them. The $15 soup, chicken + pie combo is now $16+ :(. But it was still pretty good. The Swiss Chalet sauce is sooo good. Mmmmmmm....

No lil dragon dumplings this time though - decided against it cuz I didn't wanna swing into Richmond... got home at a decent time, and called it a night at 2am...

So ends the whistler weekend in a nutshell.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thxgiving Dinner

Today started with a call in the afternoon that there wasn't enough booze. Then I arrive, and there are 9 bottles of wine. Dam alcoholics... lol

Made a sh*tload of pasta, but not much was eaten because there was just sooo much food. Didn't like the pasta too too much though - something was off about it, but oh welll.

9 bottles of wine later... sooooo broke the 3 drink limit. Again... ... ...

I will pick up this rule again after the new year. One too many times I have gone past the 3 drink limit these last 6 mths... to the point where even quadruple banks won't help... ... ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am worth $8.20

On my bday, I receive a call from Anime Buddy out of the blue. I didn't even remember this, but the year before I had wanted a phone call from Anime Buddy... wuahaha, can't believe she remembered though! Ohhhh Anime Buddy, what a treat!

It was a nice chat - Anime Buddy always had a pretty interesting story to tell. Glad she is chasing after what she wants to do in life!

The highlight though is when I got a MSN msg that the long D call was worth $8.20! Thx Anime Buddy. I used to be worth $48 or something back in OAC -- now I am worth $8.20. I guess inflation has kicked in :(. Too bad that when I got the IM, that I was working at my desk with someone else - it would have been a nice conversation otherwise!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pizza Hut Day!

After watching a movie in the afternoon that had Pizza Hut boxes used as tablets talking about life, I was determined to eat at Pizza Hut. After 30 minutes of driving and finding that the place we originally wanted to go to was a drive thru, we finally found a place that was a sit down restaurant.

Haven't really sat down at a Pizza Hut for the longest time now - last time must have been the yearly Waterloo tradition. It was interesting, because it seemed like people who go to pizza hut were all either high school kids, or young families. In all my years, I had never noticed this! Pretty weird and interesting at the same time.

Nevertheless, it was a pretty nice outing afterall. Did get half price on the meal because apparently they were running with a short staff, so things were tremendously delayed. I really didn't mind thought, but a 2 person meal, $9.00 what a great deal!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mson's next trip...

.... need I say more? :D

Friday, September 11, 2009

United Way - Day of Caring

Volunteered today to help make a garden box, take out weeds, and to help make banners for a micro-city. It was actually alot more tiring than I thought!

It was a great day though. Sunny skies, not too hot, more importantly, felt very accomplished! :)

All in all, it was pretty fun. A nice change definitely! Will probably look into doing more of these one-off volunteering in the future.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old Man Visits Me Casa!

Arriving by bus from Vanc on Thursday, I met up with the Old Man at downtown Seattle. Apparently it was a pretty painless trip coming down from Vanc to here.... very interesting indeed... ... ...

Since we were in the downtown area at the 'right' time, finally tried Elliot's happy hour for the first time. Been waiting 2 years for this, and I have to say that it wasn't too too exciting. Matt's is still my favorite #1 go-to Oyster joint in the west coast... Anxiously awaiting the oyster farm call...

After that, walked around the waterfront awaiting the lobster and steak dinner we had planned on the spot. Also a first for me and long awaited. They didn't have 2 lobsters, so we went with 1 lobster and 2 sides of scallops + 1 dessert - needless to say, even I was full! The lobster was pretty small, but the steak was pretty good. And with that, another check mark for my to-do list completed!

Got home, bummed around and then fell asleep. Heard that a Canadian had made their way for one day down here, but I was too comfortable and ready to pass out on the couch, so I called it a night.

Abalone in a can. Mmmmmm... It is great to not have to cook and be able to eat a home-made dinner :)... wuhahahaha. Talked with grandma via Skype after dinner - which I thought was pretty neat. I think I should really talk to her more...

Woke up at 10:30am!!! GASP! Nothing too eventful today, but did try out another prime card location :P. I wonder if I can actually consistently wake up at this hour each weekend.. hrm...

To Be Continued... ... ...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dragonboat Race Day - Victory!!!

Went home early last night to get ready to wake up bright and early at 7am to go for Dragonboating!!! Having practiced 5 times in the last month, today was the race day. 2 races + 1 if we make the finals - going head on against other teams. Got to the location at 8am, and then started getting ready for the races to come.

The Races and the Venue
We were in the community cup. So not really going against the pros, but it was sooo much fun. Loooove watersports!

We ended up winning all 3 of our races. The first race we won by 1.5 boat lengths. The second one we won by 2 seconds, and the last one we won by 6 seconds. Pretty good!

The first race seemed so short compared to the practices. We actually paddled less than 1 min 30 sec. So this was a big difference than what we trained to paddle with (2min and 30sec) - which meant we were able to paddle strong and hard!

I guess at the end of the day, I am by nature a very competitive person. Racing against other teams (and winning) was really fun. Even if our team didn't win, I think I would still have enjoyed it alot - because here I was, pushing myself to do my very best, being very focused, and at the same time basking in the sunshine and great outdoors. I have to say that I don't think I have been this focused for quite a few years.

The mindset during a race is completely different - I mean, you are in that zone for a couple minutes, thinking about nothing but just this upcoming task, oblivious to all else around you. You are encouraged to do this - but in life, you are not really allowed to do that!

I am really considering perhaps joining a Dragonboat team and train so I can join more competitions. The atmosphere and the intensity is great, and not to mention it is extremely healthy compared to the things I do here. Also, it looks like this can be a lifelong sport as well - because there were some older people paddling to (who were just as fast). The only con right now is that I would need to wake up early on Sat morning to attend the practices - which is a big barrier to entry!

The final note about this venue was that this event was called 'Celebrating Life'. This event is in large part to support cancer survivors. One thing I learned today was that apparently doing physical activities helps fight cancer.

There were quite a few boats of dragonboaters who had survived cancer. I am always amazed and inspired by people who went through an ordeal like this. Makes the problems that I encounter in life trivial compared to what they had gone through. They truly live out the motto 'what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger'.

On a lighter note,
Our team cheer - created by yours truly:
(start softly)...Bing, Bing. Bing! Bing!! Bing!!! Bing!!!! Bing!!!!!
Gooo Microsoft Dragons! Let's BANG it!!!!!

Great team cheer no? :P

After the race
Wasn't part of the full team picture, since I went to the first aid tent to grab a Batman Bandaid after hitting my hand on the drums when my hand slipped as we were doing the finish.

Thought we could just get a team photo when we get presented with the medals - but that wasn't the case because a few people had left before the awards ceremony and our captain was actually out paddling. So at the awards ceremony, with the captain of our team out paddling, I was volunteered up to go on stage to grab the medals for our team. Went up to the podium and got our medals, then was told to make a speech...

Put on the spot, and haven't made any speeches in a few years, I was lost for words. Mic in hand, I frantically looked around for inspiration. Then to my right, I see my dragonboat teammate go 'bing bing bing'... and I instinctively took that ... The speech sounded something like this:
Bing Bing Bing Bing Bing... Goo MS Dra .. Thanks for coming out. ... .. We are really glad to be hear today ... The weather is great today...

This was probably the worst speech I've made EVER... but I guess it was a very hilarious speech - because of its lack of content and sense. Not sure if there's a record of it, but if there is, I don't know whether to run away from it, or post a link to it just for sheer amusement.

I guess as bad as it was, my speech was memorable :P, because apparently after the event, there was a car who drove by that went Bing Bing to one of the cars of my teammates.

Newest item in my to-do list... Go do toastmasters...

Dragonboat Pictures

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Night Hike

Was scouted for oysters today, and since volunteering has been changed to Wed, the oyster happy hour call was gladly accepted.

Supposedly there was a meteor shower happening for the past day or so - they said that if you could find a nice dark place that is high up, you would be able to see it on a clear night.

There were 4 of us at oysters, and in the spur of the moment, we decided that we would hike up Tiger Mountain to see if we could see it.

Grabbing paragliding buddy along the way, we first tried to go to this place to see if we could drive up the mountain - only to find they had closed the gate. So off we went to the base of the mountain to begin a 1hr 30min up Tiger Mountain... at night!

By 2am we got to the top of the mountain. But the clouds were everywhere, didn't see anything. Ended up just chilling and drank a beer (or two), while taking some pictures at the top of the mountain.

A half hour in or so, starting to feel cold, we made our way back down, returning to the base of the mountain at around 4am. Got home at 5am, and watched a TVB, and went to bed.

2nd ever night hike of my life... not as serene as the one last time, but it was still pretty nice.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Anacortes Wkend

The yearly tradition of Anacortes - A full day of crab eating and drinking... great lake view, tons of floor space for drunks - another weekend outdoors!

Got in on Fri nite, where to my surprise, there were already tons of people there. Played some beer pong and won, ate a few hot dogs, and then called it a night at 4:30am in the morning.

Waking up at the usual time (1pm), proceeded to walk outside and be greeted by crabs. Delicious! Freshly caught crab is just wayyy too good. Later on in the day, Vanc tour guide comes down w/ two bottles of Geiken! Sake and crab just goes really really well. Vanc tour guide seem to have had a lot fun - was tipsy and all smiles within an hour of arriving... lol

To end the weekend, got home on Sunday afternoon and took a nap, then went for a jog and proceeded on with bum day.

This weekend was pretty nice. Was pleasantly surprised on Fri nite/Sat morning - woke up thinking I must have had been dreaming. Anyway, like a dream, it only lasted for a ever short while though... but I was really happy. Hands down the most serene and content moment that I had felt for the past 2 months. If only there was a way to make the feeling last, wouldn't life be great? :)

Another weekend out of town... haven't been in town for almost a month now. Will stay in next weekend.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Vanc Weekend: Neko visits the west coast

Another weekend, another drive up to Vanc. Lots of good food this weekend. Had two tour guides showing us around this time, so it was good.

Day 0: AYCE Hot Pot + Casino
... need I say more :).
Note: Was supposed to go clubbing, but the line was too long...

Day 1: Food and Fireworks
After getting back really late, slept in today and then went to Richmond for some little dragon dumplings. Soooo good. After that, hanged out at TVB mall for a bit, then went to this Hapa place. The coolest thing was that there was this huge bamboo tube filled with sake. So wanted to take it home :) - but knowing about my plans, the waitress took it away when I went to the restroom...

So as we were walking towards the fireworks place, in a stroke of genius, we decided to make some beverages :). Went to McDs for some cups, grabbed some Crown Royal, and with that, tipsy day continues :P. Only in Vanc do these random ideas come up...

Day 2: Grouse Mountain
No one wanted to hike up with me, so we took a gondola instead. It was pretty interesting that they built almost like a little town at the top there. It was a bit hazy though, so the skyline didn't look as nice as I think it could.

Pics from Vanc trip

As a sidenote, I wonder what would be harder:
Being completely out of a person's life that you care about
Not being able to be completely in a person's life you really care about.

I think both situation sucks. But if I had to choose, I would choose the latter - because the latter case implies the possibility that you could BECOME ABLE to be completely in a person's life that you really care about. You'd be living in a life of hypocrisy until things change because everytime you see them, you are forced by circumstances to back away. But then again, maybe it would be less painful to just not be a part of the person's life. Why care when the other person doesn't want you to care?

On a wondering note...
Is the inability to clearly see a future that important in a world where things constantly change? It went from 4 miles to 40 miles to 2000 miles to 4000 miles... only now we are in the same city, and she now works literally down the street. The story has long ended, but just interesting to see how unexpected things can turn out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dragonboat!!! ... and 1 mth later

Ever since the canoe trip wayyy back in OAC, one of the things I had always wanted to do was try out dragonboating. Yelling and pushing one another, paddling furiously and digging into the water seemed so much fun.

The major deterrent was that most teams practiced really early in the morning - aka 8am. This is definitely not a time that I could do wake up for - especially on a weekend. But lo and behold, a couple weeks ago, I see an email flash by, and it was a chance to try out dragon boating, with practices in the afternoon or evening!

So on this sunny day, I went about and tried it out. I was surprised to hear that in dragon boating, it is actually different from canoe-ing, and that instead of finishing the stroke, you actually keep the paddle pretty much in the front quadrant. The other cool thing was that in the few times we were synchronized, paddling was such a breeze - and with 16 people on the boat pulling, we flew through the water. It was an interesting experience... will probably try this a couple more times.

Only thing though is that for the next month, the practices are mostly on Sundays - which means I can't make alot of them. Will see how this plays out.

On another note..
It's been one month and a little bit since I saw that text message that got me very confused and disappointed. This month is pretty strange - from hindsight, time passed by pretty quick, but each day just seemed to be very long and dragging itself out.

Pretend to be happy, and when you have something to be happy about, then you can be genuinely happy... Happy thoughts... think happy thoughts... The sun and water does help me quite a bit - but I need more... ... ...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Crater Lake Wkend Part III: Sand Dune and ATVs

After 1 full day at Crater Lake, it was time to start heading back up to to get ready to go to work the next day.

For me, I didn't really ahve a good sleep last night. Pretty weird and I think of all the times I've slept outdoors, this is the first time I woke up feeling more tired and less refreshed. So I ended up sleeping in the car for what felt to me like 30 minutes, but apparently it was close to one hour and a bit!

Being the aggressive people that we were, we swung by the Florence Sand Dunes and went riding on ATVs in the sand. It was a pretty interesting experience. A bunch of us kept getting stuck in the sand at times, and we had to get out and help each opush the car out of the sand. Good thing those cars weren't too too heavy. CCame out of those cars full of sand - my hair, my clothes, my shoes, and even my face... all exfoliated and sandy.

I am also glad to report that on this drive back, with Richard's nagging :P, I kept relatively close to the speed limit -- even when they were asleep. Got home at around 3am.

So ends the weekend trip to Crater Lake.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crater Lake Wkend Part II: Hiking and Star Gazing

Mson New Pose - the thinking pose + the action pose Crater Lake!After a nice and restful sleep inside the tent, woke up bright and early today to started off touring around Crater Lake.

A little bit about Crater Lake. A big volcano a long time ago, it collapsed onto itself at some point, make a big a55 hole that eventually got filled w/ water by the melting ice and rain etc. It is close to 600 meters deep or so, and is the deepest lake in the US (7th in the world). Pretty amazing eh?
So first place we went to was a hike that led us down to the lake, where we could actually touch the water. The blueness of the water was simply amazing! This blue had a certain richness to it... and every so often, on the fringes, you would see this emerald green color on the water as well. The two, with the moutains in the bakdrop, combines to provide a very stunning view.

After the hike down and back up, we then checked out a few viewpoints. The one I particularly liked was the pirate ship lookout point - where supposedly the island is suppose to look like a pirate ship. In my opinion, it didn't really look like a pirate ship at all. Rather, with the water being so blue, I found that this island actually looked more like a castle in the sky. Tried to take shots of the island from different perspectives... this one being one of them.

After lunch, we did another short hike up to a forest fire lookout, where we got a panoramic view of Crater Lake. Being up so high is definitely pretty cool! Also took some close up pictures of a little squirrel. I looove the loooong lens! :)

After all this walking, we headed back to home base and started to prepare for dinner. Had a little deep chat while we were watching the fire die down, and started eating. Burgers, hotdogs + beer during camping is just awesome!

After dinner, we headed out to a viewpoint to look at stars. It was just spectacular. The view reminded me of the stars when I was at the White Desert. I originally did not have my glasses on, but then at some point in the night, I decided to put on my glasses... and wow! There were soooo many stars in the sky. Makes me want to really get into learning about the stars and knowing which one is what. Oh, also saw at least 5 shooting stars tonight. They were really short lived ones though - not long enough to make a wish...

It was really chilly though - I think a few of the others actually put on garbage bags to keep warm... lol. The cool thing though is after an hour and a half, I finally got one picture that I thought was pretty nice :). This trip has also convinced me to buy a remote control for the camera... a 8 minute exposure is pretty long to hold onto the trigger for and not shake!

Two things happened right before star gazing.
1. I wonder what the format button does
As we were riding to the viewpoint, in my stroke of genius, I decided to play with my camera. Looking upon the 'format' button, my curious nature told me to click on it, and then KABOOM... all my pictures from this trip were gone! :(. Ah mondieu...

Hopefully they can be recovered...

2. Camera, Ground, Connect!
Random Adventure buddy sets up his tripod, then walks away from it for a second. The wind was blowing a bit harder than normal, and moments later, we hear something making contact with the ground, and a shattering sound! There goes the lens hood and possibly a lens! yikes...

And with that, the net cost of this trip goes up...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crater Lake Wkend: Part I: Enroute to the fringes of Cali

Waking up bright and early, today would be my first ever camping trip on the west coast! I've always liked camping - the first time was the awesome canoe trip, and the second time I remember was a few years ago a little north of TO.

But anyway, we were all pretty on time today. Everything arrived ready to go, and we were able to get there at a decent time, build camp and fire, and eat and chill.

The drive was pretty long though - basically spent the entire day driving. But it was pretty worth it.

The lake was simply astounding. I have never seen water that blue before in my life! Also tried my first shot at shooting pictures of the night sky. Wasn't too successful tonight, but there's always tomorrow.

Called it a night after 6 beers :). Loooove camping.

In other news, looks like this will turn out to be a very $$$$ trip -- yes I know, you'd think camping would be a pretty low cost event wouldn't you... lol

Friday, July 10, 2009

Original Vanc Tour Guide visits S-town!

So Tues I get a message at 2 in the morning that the original Vanc tour guide is gracing her presence in Seattle! Dropping by for only a day,

After how well she has treated us the last few times we went up, it was time to show her what Seattle has to offer!

1. 'Dalewood'
So according to the her, I live in Dalewood.
After almost getting killed over the msn by Sam, a text message cleared up that I did not in fact live in Dalewood, and that where I live was actually pretty easy to get to.
Ended up going to Cheesecake Factory. I wonder if it's a Canadian thing, seems like everybody raves about this restaurant chain. Ironic part is that of all the times I've been, I have never had their cheesecakes...

2. Oysters Galore! (with vodka)
With 5 dozen oysters between 6 people, this was a great way to end the night!

Was shown a new way of eating oysters tonight. Dip oyster in horse radish, then dump into a shot of vodka, then shoot it.
Result: A very interesting taste (a good interesting taste).

Also learned that there is a place called Rodney's. Apparently it has really good oysters. Soooo wanna go next time I cross the border.

Between the puke car stories and the random chats with the Official Vanc Tour Guide and her friends, it was a pretty fun and relaxing night. Not too much drinking too, so very healthy! Still can't believe Official Vanc Tour Guide did a day trip aka shopping galore trip down here amidst tests and exams lurking in the horizon. Amazing!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Highlight of the Day: Runs Car into the Wall

Another first...

Driving up to the parking spot in the morning, I casually slotted the car in... then 'thump'!. Ah mondieu...

Luckily, zero casualty... The license plate took all of the impact. So the whole front was ok.

I guess as bad as things could be, sometimes lady luck just comes to the rescue!
... Taking little small victories in life, one step at a time. :)

After all these years, I still remember one conversation I had at the pool during the ever fun guarding times.

"If you are not happy, pretend that you are happy. When something that does get you happy comes along, then you will be genuinely happy. By doing so, then you are always happy!"

After all these years, I still find that an interesting thought...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reflection: Am I too laissez faire?

So about a week ago I was told that I seem to be a laissez-faire person.

Definition of laissez-faire (from the wiki):
...used to describe a policy of allowing events to take their own course

For the most part, yes, I do agree with that statement. I mean, I don't really believe things should be forced. If it is suppose to happen, then somehow some way, it will happen. Ha. for someone who does not believe in fate, it's ironic that I have developed a laissez-faire personality.

Having said that though, this doesn't necessarily mean I would leave everything to chance. My 'laissez-faire' approach I think is more like setting up a foundation and putting the pieces in the right place, then when the time comes, letting them go and let it take their own course. In this model, there are some uncertainties -- for example, I would not know where exactly these individual pieces will go at every point in time, which gives it the possibility to completely fall off the map and never arrive at the finish line. The sad part about this is when it happens, I will have lost - because once you fall off the map, it's pretty hard to un-laissez-faire that particular moment... n'est pas? With this model though, if everything works according to plan, then you accomplish quite a bit more than others -- because now you have effectively saved alot of time governing how every single piece or moving part should behave.

So the question though is, how laissez faire am I? Am I too laid back? When should I not be laid back and chase for things to happen? The answer is really simple: When you see something worthwhile, you should go for it. But the implementation is not. Here's the dilemna - when someone is used to taking the seemingly carefree approach to everything (even important things), who is to say that they would be able to master using a non carefree approach to accomplish a goal? It would just seem forced and out of place... wouldn't it? And then it's bound to fail.

So does that mean I should start expanding my repertoire and slowly try out the 'non laissez-faire' approach in some things? Or should I just continue becoming better at the laissez-faire approach, mastering it so that I would never need to be non laissez-faire - in that because I have planned everything so well, that I can just let things move on their own?

And so here you have it... once again I come full circle. A person living in a life of contradictions...

Friday, June 26, 2009


Another Friday, 2nd week back from TO. Today's main venue was paragliding - originally going on Wed, weather prevented me from going up into sky. So comes Friday, weather is good, so after the last meeting at work, we headed out for paragliding!

What is paragliding you ask? Well, it's a leisurely activity where you go to the top of the mountain, then run off it with a big parachute behind your back. Once you are in the air, you drift around and just sit back, riding on air currents for the next hour or so.

I have to say, the view from up that high was amazing! We got to the top of the mountain at around 7ish - just in time for the sun to set. I saw the Seattle skyline all the way from Issaquah! It was really really pretty. It was a tad chilly (I was steering the entire time almost throughout the hour long flight), but it was worth it because this whole time I was just floating around in the air! Surprisingly though, I didn't feel at peace at all -- usually for these activities I would come back down feeling a sense of togetherness... but not this time. Weird...

Next time I go, definitely bringing the camera. The question is, should I go with the long lens, or just the regular one... hrmmm...

Did you know, supposedly there are less accidents in paragliding than scuba diving. Also, supposedly if you run into a tree, the parachute would actually not rip. Interesting facts eh?

After this, we went to Matt's for some oysters... Mmmm.. Haven't had it for awhile now. It tasted really good! Then headed over to intern now full-timer's place and played some beer pong and flip cup. Just have to say, having not played flip cup in 4 years, I was surprisingly AWESOME at it. I think of all the flips that I did this night, I only missed maybe 10 in total. Beer pong on the other hand... man I sucked.

Another day of drinking... 4th time in the 2 weeks since I've been back. At some point, I should really stop doing this. I am very bordering on the 3+3 limit these days for these nights.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NYC Wkend: Home Time...

Today plan was to check out United Nations, and then walk down 5th Ave before hopping back onto the bus to head to the airport.

As we walked out to go to the bus, we find that the entire street is blocked off and there were booths set up. By the time we walked through them, we were only 5 blocks or so from the United Nations!

So turns out that on Sunday, the United Nations does not have all the flags of the different countries up, nor does it have guided tours :(. So we ended up walking inside the non restricted areas and then heading back out of it.

Got to the airport at a decent time, and originally, the flight was suppose to arrive an hour early. However, we ended up circling around for an hour on the ground, and the plane ended up being 30 minutes late. And with that, I am back on the west coast.

Did quite a bit in NYC. But still gotta go back again and do the following...
- Statue of Liberty, actually go inside
- United Nations, actually get on a guided tour (so go on a weekday)
- Walk around Central Park again and not get lost
- See the MET
- See the rest of MoMA (we only saw 2 floors of it)
- Watch another Broadway show

Pics from NYC Weekend

Saturday, June 13, 2009

NYC Wkend: Part II: Culture Day in NYC

Woke up this morning in pain! After a 10 hour walk-a-thon the day before, I was certainly feeling the after effects of it. Good thing today would probably end up be alot of sitting around compared to yesterday - since part of today's agenda was to watch Billy Elliot!

Today's scheduled activities: Guggenheim, Central Park, MoMa, Mesa Grill, Billy Elliot, and then a walk around Times Square/Theatre District. All pretty artsy! :). I keep thinking how funny it is that someone like me - who is so artistically challenged - is always interested in this stuff. I don't know much about the stuff I look at, nor do I really prepare for it in advance and read articles about what I am about to see, but seeing these pieces of art awes me at times, not to mention I swear it makes me smarter!... lol. The other thing I guess I realized that I like about going to 'culture day' events is that I feel very peaceful there, and it gives me alot of time to just let my mind wander and think about stuff... maybe that's the main pull that makes me like having 'culture days' every so often. I find that I don't think enough or reflect enough these days :P. Always going from one place to another, and when I do stop, I am stopping only to rest, not to just think. I gotta watch out for this and set some time aside to think some things through...

At Guggenheim
There were 3 things that jumped out at me. One was the architecture that this Lloyd Wright guy built. Looking at his work, the coolest ones were the ones that did not get built. Some of these ones were really futuristic, others were really great ideas - but none of these ones got built. Don't know enough about architecture to know why that is the case, but interesting nevertheless.

The second was this quote I saw at the entrance of one of the 'sub galleries'.
"Yesterday is not quite out of sight; tomorrow is not yet clear in view. But the atmosphere of vitality is unquestionable" -- James Johnson Sweeney, 1953
The past haunts the future, the future is murky, but happiness was knocking right at the footsteps. I keep looking at this and wonder, is there going to be a chance that things will just be like the way it was before I took this vacation?

The third one was this room where they showed off works of art of students. I think it's really cool that kids at such a young age can create something like this with guidance. This one particularly looked sooo cute. Not quite sure if I was allowed to take pictures, but I couldn't resist. I think my tour guide for Victoria Island would have really liked this section of the museum...

Central Park
With Guggenheim being next to Central Park, we walked around in it. The whole time, I keep thinking, wow, if this was a sunny day, how much Victoria Island tour guide would have liked it here! There was a walkway right along this lake, with the buildings just protruding out from the horizon, yet very much looking like its part of the park. Didn't take any pictures of this though, because it was pretty drizzly today.

Anyway, originally the plan was to head in a southerly direction, so we get closer to MoMa, but being the pure tourist that I am, I decided to not look at the map, and we ended up walking in a big semi-circle. With yesterday's toll of walking, this walk felt really loooong! After getting back onto the east end of the park, we gave up and took the bus to MoMa.

In my opinion, I liked the MoMa in Seattle more than the one in NYC. Even though the NYC is much bigger, I didn't particularly see any 'wow' pieces... there were a few Picassos (I still don't get these pictures...), but for the most part, there wasn't anything that jumped out at me.

Mesa Grill
Busing further down south, we reach our dinner location at 4:45pm. Being 15 minutes early, we left our name and then walked around. Stumbling into a 30% off sale at Kenneth Cole, I emerge out of it with 2 more pair of jeans :D. Finally I have new jeans to wear. My old jeans that I got 2 years ago should have been thrown out weeks (if not months) ago. One had a hole in the back pocket, the other had a hold at the right knee area (that expanded as the NYC progressed), and the last pair - well the zipper broke! For the rest of the night, I would carry this big shopping bag around... lol.

The food at Mesa Grill was nice. Had bison for the first time. Didn't really like it too much though -- felt really smokey and just a big too gamy. The service was really good here though, but seems a bit overpriced (especially when compared w/ the prime card specials in the west coast :P).

Billy Elliot
Then for the main venue of the day, it was time to watch Billy Elliot! A story about a kid who stumbles upon ballet and falls in love with it. This part of the night deserves its own entry. In summary though, I really liked this musical... more to come on this in a later entry.

Times Square
Alot of people, even at 11:30pm at night! This whole day, I keep thinking how much Victoria Island Tour Guide would have liked this place. There was a nice buzzing shops area, a nice park right in downtown that has a nice pond and trees.

I have to say, Neko was a great company -- I didn't end up having to plan much for the trip. Good thing this was because when I did try to fit everything we were doing this weekend, I had things scheduled at 8:30am...! Also seldomly did I look at the map, because we had these trip planners map all printed out. My only roles were to figure out adhoc routes to our destinations, and to guide others to j-walk.

Got back to the hotel at around 1am today. Another eventful day of touristy activities. Lots of thoughts going through my head today - among one of them, as weird as it feels, in a way, I was glad that this vacation was coming to an end. This silly 3 hour difference was just very hard to deal with... much harder than I had imagined it to be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NYC Wkend: Part I: Statue of Liberty and SoHo District

Woke up bright and early on Friday to catch a flight to NYC. First time ever being there, so was pretty excited. Just thinking about the stuff we had planned though was tiring! So much to do, in some little time. Today we would see, Battery Park, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Financial District, Ground Zero, Bloomingdales, and Empire State Building - all in the span of 12 hours!

After landing at the airport in EWR, found out neko's plane got delayed. So while waiting, scouted the airport and found some info about NYC, and also finally finished looked and sorted through the wedding pics.

After rendevouzing with neko, we went to the hotel to drop off our bags, then off we went to the subway to head to downtown NYC! Just like with Vanc, the buying of a subway ticket is ever so perplexing. Must have spent at least 5 minutes figuring out how to pay for the pass... First we went to the booth to ask what the best value would be (after staring at the sign for like a minute), then I pull out a credit card -- to be pointed to the machine since the booths do not take credit card. I get to the booth and try to stick the card in, and it does not recognize it. Try to stick in cash, but machine doesn't return change more than $20... So we went back to the booth to pay for the pass... lol. Either I am very dumb with subways, or it's just EXTREMELY difficult to

First stop was getting to Battery Park to hop onto a ferry to the island with Statue of Liberty. So here we were, lining up for the ferry, and we see the audio tour and an ferry ride ticket. Thinking 'oh, it'd be nice to have an audio tour of the Statue of Liberty', here some history, etc., we spent $8 more to get this 'audio' package. WE get on the ferry, get to the island, and then realize that apparently, you can't actually go into the Statue of Liberty unless you book in advance... So we ended up just walking around the island, taking pictures of the Statue outside... all the while with these $8 headsets... Feel so jibbed!

Visited Ellis Island afterwards, and that was pretty interesting. The audio tour was very useful there. Spent a good hour I think there. Returning back to the main downtown island around 6ish, headed up the financial district and saw the bull. Lots of people were taking pictures of the front of it, but not so much the back...

Dropped by ground zero as well -- only to realize that ground zero was no longer ground zero anymore. On top of where it is, they were building the new thing on top of it, but knowing the history and looking at the size of the construction site... can only imagine how scary and shocking it was when the building collapsed that day...

After strolling around, we headed up to the bloomingdale mall area, only to realize most of the shops were closed by 8ish. There were a few places opened though - so we looked at a few. I ended up buying a much needed new pair of jeans from Old Navy for $14.50 w/tax! Loooove half price sales!

After the 10 hours worth of walking, we headed back to the hotel for a quick break, before heading out for some food and the Empire State Building. It was actually a pretty hot day - I felt very sticky and gross, and I keep thinking if it's because of the big city and all the pollution/smog that must be there.We arrived at the Empire State building at around midnight - only in NYC will an 'attraction' be opened till 2am in the morning! Turns out the place we were staying at was only 2 blocks from it. So walking to there was a breeze. There were soo many people still at lined up at this hour. The good thing though was that it wasn't too cold up at the top of the Empire State building -- that or I just was very happily playing with my camera and lens taking pictures of the night lights of NYC. It took awhile for me to find myself a temporary tripod so I could get a nice picture - good thing Neko's camera pouch came to the rescue! With it, I was able to set the camera still on a slightly declining angle, so I could take pictures of the city. More pics of today to come later once I upload them onto SkyDrive.
After I think a good hour or two up there taking pictures... we headed back down, and then called it a night. The plan originally would have had us waking up at 9am or something like that, but with my great persuasion skills, we set the alarm for 10am! wuhahaha!

To be continued...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

TO Week: Wedding Day

Got dressed and put on my tie today for the main purpose of coming back to Toronto - my big cousin's wedding! My first wedding that I can remember going to, I had the role of guiding people to their tables.

Today's venue started with the tea ceremony, then a dim sum lunch, followed by a 2 hour intermission, then the actual wedding. After the rings are put on, it was picture time, and then the dinner (where I guided people to their tables) and after dinner, dancing. A long eventful day that got me home at around the same time as the night before! Strange that even I didn't do all that much, I was pretty exhuasted by the end of it all. Maybe the years working have made me unable to wake up early and last a whole normal day anymore - that or I've just been sleeping wayyy too little these past few weeks :P.

Today I ended up taking about 300+ photos! (Link to them is at the very bottom) I played around with the long lens :) and got some pretty nice photos -- particularly liked the close-up pictures of my cousin receiving her ring from her fiancee now husband! Also, today I played with the new flash that I got just for this event! I am pretty glad I brought it because without it, the pictures would probably not have turned out nice. The flash allowed me to take nice pictures during the tea ceremony, and also inside the tent during dinner. Loooove 100 foot flashes!
Throughout the wedding, for some reason, I can't help but keep thinking of my tour guide on Victoria Day. But I guess it'd probably freak her out more than anything if I told her that. Really wish she was here... On this topic, the bride and groom gift was these pretty cute red and white salt and pepper shakers -- just saw this a couple weeks ago (but they were black and whtie). Maybe it's a sign that it showed up today that things for me are going to work out!

Other notable highlights was that I got 2 honorable mentions tonight (once at the beginning of the dinner, and once during the bride's speech!). Dammmm it was well worth it to fly back to attend.

Congratulations Cous! Pictures uploaded here

Saturday, June 06, 2009

TO Week: Pre-Wedding

Night before had a chat w/ bro in the backyard. It was a nice chat, and put a few things in perspective. There are a few things I would need to see about, but for the most part, I have faith that this could work out. It might have been just a tad colder than I thought it'd be cuz I wasn't feeling too too well today - combined with the hitting the 3 drink limit last night, I was closing in on the upper bound of my 'sick formula' fast...

Had early morning dim sum with aunt (who called at 9.30am) in the morning, then off we headed to my cousin's place for a lunch. Originally we were planning to be there for lunch, but we ended up staying there for dinner. Missed meeting up w/ a friend because of that - and instead, when the ladies went for their manicures, I took a nap on my cousin's couch.

Another interesting note today was that Hermie was drunk by 4pm! lol... aiiiiiiiiiii... such an alcoholic. I wonder if all client meeting office people end up drinking large amounts of alcohol constantly. It is sooo not healthy! Ironic that of all people I would say that - maybe it's because I feel like wanting to be more healthy so that I can do more things w/ my life.

Anyway, got home pretty late, and was really tired. Turned down going clubbing for a 2nd night in a row. And so, with the big looming cloud of sickness hanging over me, I called it a night since the next day would be something similar -- waking up at 9:30am again...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chi-town: Part III: Tourist Day

After 2 days of booze, booze, and more booze, today was tourist day! Went first to Navy Pier,

In the afternoon, after visiting the bean and this waterfall thing, we went to a bar for some wings and beer. After the game, went into Coldstone and grabbed some ice-cream... cuz I was craving it.

At night, we stayed in, got some famous ribs, and watched some basketball. After which, we started packing and getting ready for the morning flight back.

Feel soo fat this weekend, all we`ve been eating were like ribs, wings, beer, pizza, and oily stuff!!! Soo good, but sooo unhealthy.

It was nice seeing everyone though. Was missing HHH, but all the Waterloo folks were pretty gathered this weekend... felt like university days alllll over again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chi-town: Part II: Morning Aftermath

Supposedly getting home at 4am or something late like that, this morning we had to get up at 10am to go to Rigley's field to watch some baseball. Mannnn that was sooo tough and gruesome.

Lack of sleep, head and throat slightly hurting, we went to the cubs game and in my brilliance, I decided to go without a jacket... in the windy city. So there I was, sitting through the baseball game, feeling cold from the occasional wind, and watching baseball - which is not all that interesting in my mind.

Good thing I guess was because of this, I was able to sober up since I was probably awake for maybe 3 This baseball game went 7 innings without scoring (which to baseball fans, is suppose to be an awesome game -- but to me, it was like Zzzzzzzzzz....), and so by the end of 8th, we decided to leave. At the end of the night, we find out the final score was 5-4 (so 7 runs were scored in the 9th inning). Go figure eh?

After this sobering up event, went to lunch at Cheescake factory. Was pretty much out of it here and think the lack of sleep in the past few weeks plus the night before is starting to get me sick - so it wasn`t a nice feeling. Strolled a little bit around the 5th Avenue after lunch, where all the shops are at in Chicago. By 5:00ish, I gave in and went back to take a nap... a 3 hr nap :).

With the refreshing nap under my belt, went for some famous deep dish pizza, and then we went clubbing again. Everyone was sooo tired from the night before (since most of them did not take naps), so it ended pretty early - that and the place we went to wasn`t all that good. We ended up going back to Law`s place to chill for a lil bit, then headed home.

3 drink limit unbroken! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chi-town: Part I: Italian Tapas and Club

After a 2 hr delay at the airport, off I went towards the east coast for a weekend in Chi-town!

First destination was to an Italian tapa place, where we ended up eating one thing from every menu it looks like. Really good food -- but don't know the name of place.

After a few hours of sangria and tapas, on we moved to experience the clubbing experience in Chicago. Nothing too too special, just normal clubbing stuff -- drink, dance, drink, dance, sit, etc.... It was the first time though that I had bottle service. The one cool thing I thought was seeing how the bartender poured into 5 glasses with one pour by stacking the glasses on top of one another. Never thought you can do that!

The last thing I remembered was that of taking a picture with the bartender... but suppposedly we had McDonalds that night... and supposedly I was not passed out! lol. The story goes that I was in the line reminding people to get Happy Meals and get a free smile :). But nothing too too rowdy other than that... Also somehow I magically pulled out the sleeping bag and changed on my own too.. hahaha... guess my subconscious homing beacon is still doing well!

So needless to say, the 3 drink limit was broken once again. Since its inception in Oct of last year, it has been broken 4 times. Not too bad, but not too good...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Boat Day!

After an all crab fest, woke up relatively early today to go boating!

Bought some good wholesome Molson beer (which was on sale), then headed over to the docks to board the boat.

Pretty chilling.. steered the boat for a lil bit, but mostly just laid around the boat and drank beer, watching and hearing the salted sea.. wuhahahaha

The captain of the boat made us some food as well. Sausages, wings... mmm... all taste so much better on a boat!

Link to pictures to come... (currently on facebook)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Crab Fest

Having had a craving for crab two weeks ago, I ended up buying king crab legs at the regular price. As I was chatting up with the store clerk, he mentions to me that just a couple weeks ago they had a sale on it... half price!

Fast forward to a couple days ago, where I had begun to stack of flyers I get each day and lo and behold, this week, they had a sale for king crab legs! Putting a plan into action, we create an all crab meal using the 3 lbs of king crab we bought :D

1) Egg Drop Soup w/ King Crab Meat
Pretty good soup. The seasoning was from a pack, but the egg was beaten by my hand and slowly mixed into the soup at the end. The king crab meat was shredded by my other 2 accomplices :P
2) Oven Baked King Crab Meat and Vegetables Stuffed Mushrooms
Found the recipe for this online. The instructions had red peppers mixed into the mix. But turns out, it tasted better without it. It was pretty tasty overall though
3) Steamed King Crab Legs with a touch of butter
Mmmmm.... Sooo good. Could use more butter though.
4) Mochies... (ok, this one wasn't made of crab... but it was desert!)


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tulip Festival

After having said I would go for 2 years, this year I finally got the chance to go... the tulip festival!

Have to say that I was amazed at the sheer number of flowers that were present. It was really eye opening to see that many photos. Armed with the long lens, we ended up spending 3 hours taking pictures of flowers!

In addition to the flowers, it turns out I provided the other tourists there another attraction -- my camera lens. Couple typical reactions:

1. Oh wow, look at that lens
Mson stands with camera, and snaps away at pictures. Onlookers with DLSRs walk by, admires the tulips. Sees the lens, admires the lens as well...

2a. What the heck is that guy standing there for?...
Mson stands at a the tulip bush, onlooker sees Mson, wonders why he is standing there. Traces where Mson's looking, sees a camera, then looks back and forth between the two and has the expression "really?!?!?!"

2b. What the heck is that guy standing there for? (Part II)...
To get a better picture, cameramen extends the lens, onlooker sees this and realizes the answer to 2a, that it is possible. 2a's expression is now replaced by "wtf..."

Link to pictures at:
Link to Pictures

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Salsa Night and Timeout

After a fun night of attempting Tango, tonight I took the bait and went to try salsa. Last time I tried salsa was almost 5 years ago, so it was all brand new to me by now.

Started off with a quick lesson to learn a couple basic moves. Then tried dancing a little bit with some fellow beginners. It was pretty fun, but also pretty tiring for me. Keeping count, keeping the steps... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8... who knew counting could be so hard!?

Dancing guru as always is AWESOME at dancing... completely mesmerized when she dances... Think I will look into taking some classes...supposedly it only took her one year and a little bit to get that good.

After the salsa dancing, went to the weekly Kirkland hangout to welcome the fellow intern back as a full fledged full-timer. Had some ridiculous mystery drink that was awfully minty and strong, but made me really good at pool it turns out because I was sinking tons of balls.

Got home at a decent hour... but ended up sleeping at 4am-ish...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tango Day!

Watching ppl dance is pretty cool. Tried something new today and went to watch a Tango dance show. Turns out tango is supposedly an older person dance - but it almost felt like art in motion -- so much different than the dancing you see at clubbing...

So the show was one which the main couple dances on stage for two songs, then they rest while the people who are watching get to dance for a little bit. Always wanting to try new things, the dancing guru that I went with showed me a few basic steps and danced with me, and I have to say, it was pretty fun! I was really surprised at her patience though, cuz I was REALLY bad.

The coolest part though was watching her dance... really amazing. She was just flying around the dance floor, and was like an all-star! ...And to think I know her!
I wonder if in one year, I can dance just as well as her...

After that, we went for dinner at the sushi joint at Snoqualmie... they have pretty good sushi there surprisingly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vanc Part III: Granville Island and End of Wkend

Getting back to the hotel at 3ish, we slept in and woke up to the NBA playoffs... AND the NHL playoffs.

Having exhausted the 3 drink limit rule, today was a relaxing day where we just enjoyed the hotel TV and the Vanc sun. Went to a hk tea cafe for lunch, then with Vanc tour guide #2 guiding us, went to Granville island for a stroll.

Granville Island
Lots of art galleries there, but I guess they were all closed since it was a Sunday...The main place looks more like a disorganized T&T... walked around a little bit, then went to a restaurant and just snacked. Pushed up dinner early and then went back to the hotel to collect my things.

The drive home was more tiring than I thought... Swear I almost dozed off at one point, but luckily ran into a cop and that woke me up quite a bit.. lol. The coolest part about leaving at night is that I can get past the border really quickly. There was minimal wait - which is AWESOME!

Arriving back at home at 2am, ending a weekend of yet another great time in the land of Vancouver!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vanc Part II: Shanghai Food and K

Waking up to a headache, went to feed the meter and then hunted down a grocery store for some orange juice. Saw an organic mango lemonade along the way, so picked that up and tried it out. Very refreshing!

After bumming around more for the better part of the morning, met up w/ a few Seattle-lites for a dim sum lunch, then walked to GasTown to take a picture of the famous clocktower. After which, we spent 5 minutes figuring out how to buy a ticket to take the SkyTrain, thinking that we'd see the 'sky'...only to find out that the SkyTrain was underground for the one stop we were going on. Turns out the 'sky' in SkyTrain is only valid for the non downtown pieces of the track -- in downtown, it is actually just a subway. If I only knew this, I would not have bought a ticket (they didn't even check our ticket!)

Returning to the hotel, I took a nap to the sounds of the NBA playoffs, and then for dinner, met up w/ some fellow Canadians from Vanc for Shanghai food. The food was really good at this place, and the little dragon dumplings were really good! Looove little dragon dumplings. Surprisingly, even w/ 9ppl at dinner, the bill came out to be LESS than what we had at Guu the night before between 3 ppl.

With dinner over, we then proceeded with the planned the 'KC' Combo Night - a Vanc tradition :). It was a pretty fun time. Learned some new games, met some new friends, and also got my singing fit! Wouldn't wanna do it every week, but once every month or every other month I'd definitely be up for. After K, headed for the C part of the KC Combo Night. I was up for awhile, then got too greedy... tsk tsk. Oh well, let that be a lesson to never be greedy and be content with small victories.

Another fun filled day and night in the city of Vanc!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vanc Part I: Guuuuuu and Club

A random spur of the moment decision, and before you know it, I was in Vanc :).

First event of the night was going to Guu. Walking around lost in downtown Vanc, I get a phone call... with the question of if I was wearing a white shirt. Hesitantly I said yes, and then realize that I was being stalked and that someone had spotted me in Vanc. I was being stalked!.. lol...

Anyway, after a quick chat, I found my bearings, and then found Guu. Such a great place for food and seeing fellow rooommate waiting in line, the mini-vacation had started! We start eating and sake-ing... and 5 bottles and a ton of food later, we were ready for the next set of events :)

Stopping by for a quick booze run, we pick up some crown royal, predrink, and after this, Vanc tour guide took us clubbing w/ her friends. It was pretty fun, but soo $$$$$. $20 Cover, and every drink was the price of an AMF, with 1/4 of the alcohol. It was pretty fun -- just like old times! Combined with the sake and predrink, my '3 drink limit' was obliterated by 11pm :(. Maybe I need to add a new caveat that the '3 drink limit' rule does not apply in Vanc :P...

The night ended surprisingly early, stopping briefly by the elevator lobby, had to take care of someone who decided to spray the floor with their dinner (and no, it wasn't me!), and then proceeded to the hotel room to order pizza...

My bed invaded...with my classic pose in place, I sleep on the ottoman and called it a night -- too lazy to get up for the pizza that eventually arrived.

So ends night #1.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cherry Blossom at U-Wash

Meeting up w/ a new friend for food, then heard about the cherry blossom trees that were at U-Wash.

Pretty Nice!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend of Changes...

Things are finally slowing down at work...

Also, starting this weekend, I will need to find people to eat oysters and random food w/ :(. tsk tsk tsk...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleep-in Day

Having slept <5 hours a night for the past 2 weeks, sleep was the only thing on my mind today... What a great coincidence that today there was an office move... what a perfect day!

So after getting home around 1ish, took a quick 4 hr nap. Today was suppose to be an infamous IMO-Trinity combo night. Wasn't feeling too well though (probably from the lack of sleep), so I was going to play it by ear and at least go to IMO for dinner, then on the spot decide if I should soldier on...

Turns out though that today WASN'T an IMO-Trinity combo night, but just a misguided use of the term. The originators of this term both thought when IMO and Trinity were paired up on the same night, this implictly implies that a dinner at IMO followed by predrink at IMO and then a waltz over to Trinity, completed with the optional side-quest of 3am hot dogs or food == the plan... BUT apparently this wasn't the case.

Thinking that I didn't have to make dinner, here I was bumming around until 8pm - the usual time when events get kicked off, I am told tonight is not an IMO-Trinity combo night, but a Trinity night - with IMO thrown in as a tease. To add salt to the wound, we won't have time to even grab a quick bite at IMO (at least that was the plan)... wtf?!?!?!

So all that being said, feeling already pretty crappy physically, and having to make my own dinner now, I ended up chillaxing at home and by 12am, I was safely tucked in to bed! Ahhh.. what a nice bed I had.

Oh.. today I also started my first JA session today (at 7:45am in the morning!...). It was pretty fun, it has been awhile since I last taught anything to more than 5 kids (today there were 24). I think I was actually nervous and slurring alot! Also, I definitely am not a morning person... thinking back, I had felt like crap this morning too...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Culture Day: SAM

Having been a few months, it was time for Culture Day!

A stroll around pike place, grabbed some pastries, then it was off to SAM. They was a collection there today on loan from Yale. The paintings and story behind it was pretty cool. These were paintings related to the US Civil War and being into history, it was pretty cool.

Then went to back to work... tsk tsk... was very unproductive though - made almost 0 progress... Soon this will allll be over... soon... I hope.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Had a quick bite today, and as we chatted, got inspired to go to imo...

With a new found motivation, went back to the office and worked till 11pm, then then headed down. Sang a few songs, drank a few bottles of sake, and then went back home and continued more evening activities...

...Before we knew it, it was 5am in the morning...

Work hard.. play hard!.. wuhahaha

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Whistler Wkend Part III: Home Time

After passing out at 12am, today the plan was to wake up bright and early to slot in one more morning worth of skiing before heading back down to I have to say, it was hard trying to get up this morning. Was sooo tempted to just stay in and sleep more. It was pretty funny how ALL of us seemed like we were waiting for just that one person in the group to say "I am going to sleep-in" so that we can all just call it a day. hahaha! But troopers that we were, that didn't happen and so off we went for another day at the slopes.

Sore from the day before, today was not as good a day as the day before for skiing. Yesterday was actually really good, not too cold, new snow and not a lot of people. Today, it was actually above 0 C, and it was drizzly at some points. It looked like some of the higher runs were closed too, and man-made avalanches were happening every so often.

I think we went down 6 or 7 runs and then it was time to head back. Our lunch was good ol' KFC -- where they served poutine and hot wings! With today, this will mark the 4th time in the past 6 days that I have eaten KFC. I feel fat.

After lunch, we continued driving, and stopped by a Timmy's for some timbits and refreshments, and headed to the border.

At the border...
Officer (O): Hi, where you headed.
Us (U):
O2: Open the side door please (we were in a minivan so they wanted to see the faces)
O: Do you have anything to declare? Food, fruits, vegetables...
U: Nope. None at all.
O: (as the door is opening) ... Uhh... what is that (pointing to the grapes right in front of him as the doors opened)
U: Um... grapes... they are from Costco in Kirkland
O2: (picks it up) Oh! They ARE from Costco.
U: Err.. ya.... (at this point we are all like.. hrmmm.... oops... we are getting probes up our a55es... )
O: You can't take this back in (confiscates grapes) Do you have any other food or fruits or vegetables.
U: Err.. nope.
(O and O2 looks at us again... then lets us off)...

Funny experience thinking back...

Anyway, so we got back at the expected time, and so ends the Whistler weekend.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Whistler Wkend Part II: Ski Day

Been awhile... but here's Part II of Whistler...

It was pretty amazing I have to say. First off, we were so close to the base of the mountain... We got our gear, and walked outside and there we were - right at the base of Blackcomb lifts.

The lifts went pretty quickly, but they still took 10 to 15 minutes to go up. The cool thing about this lift we went on was it had a little shell that you can put over to block the wind and such. Pretty nifty idea I think.

The first run of the day was interesting. We went down maybe a quarter of the hill, and then we ALL had to stop and take a break. My legs were burning by the time we rested... which was probably maybe 2 minutes or so. We did make it down though - but man was it tiring! We went on a few other runs -- there was this one where the snow was up to the boot - it was pretty interesting.

Blues are blacks... this statement is pretty true. I didn't dare myself to go on a black. I was pretty content going on the blue runs. The one thing with this trip is that I realize that my eyesight seem to have gotten worse than it used to. I remember way back I was able to make out the trail signs from pretty far away, but today... no such luck. It was also hard to see a path to go down the hills... I actually had to put on sunglasses so I can see where the bumps were in the snow. I guess I am getting old :P

For dinner, we went to a Japanese restaurant at the village. We had sukoyaki and suomono, sushi, some sake, and some (3 dozen) raw oysters. Almost felt like we had everything from the menu! It was soooo good, especially after a long day's worth of skiing.

Got back to the hotel.. and passed out by 12am... just couldn't keep my eyes open at all!

Great day overall!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Whistler Wkend Part I: En route to Whistler

After the usual Thur night outing in the town of Kirkland, today was the long awaited trip to Whistler!!!

Waking up bright and early at 8ish, we proceeded to board the rental minivan and started going up to Vanc! Stopped by the outlet mall on the way, and after the crossing the border, we went to see the White Rock.

White Rock - a rock that is white. Used to be white because of natural forces, but now painted white every so often because people would put graffiti on it. There is supposedly a story behind this rock, but don't remember anymore.

After the slight detour, we went into Vanc and ate, ate, ate! First we had sushi, then we went to Aberdeen center for some food court little dragon dumplings (which was awesome -- just goes to show how deprived I am here :P), then went to Richmond for some Taiwanese food, where we had this pig knuckle dish (which was really good).

After dinner, we swung out of Vanc, and by 11pm, we have arrived at the Fairmont!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

KFC Night

It's been years since I had some good wholesome chicken. Tempted by the popcorn smell outside my office today, I was reminded friendly that there was a KFC about 5 minute drive from where I was...

So I drove and got a 8 pieces of chicken..walking out of there like a champion! :D

Got home, started devouring it... wuhahaha

3 pieces later... I feel FAT!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Ski Session in the West Coast

After having wanted to go since last year, today the stars and moon aligned.... and off to skiing it was!

First time west coast skiing experience. In many ways similar, in some ways different.

Weirdness #1 - Getting the rentals
So they are extremely weird here... I get my boots, then walk over to get the skis. When I am there, the person tells me to give them a shoe... Hrmm... Shadddddy...
Sidenote: They might have as well not asked to take my shoe off for them to set the skis up, because the bindings on one of my foot was lose anyway (found this out towards the end of the day... when we were waiting for a bus... yes a bus). Here the whole time I thought it was because I haven't skiied often enough (which is true too :P)

Weirdness #2 - Snow, snow everywhere... only 40 minutes away
Where I was at, there was ZERO snow. If anything, I'd call it slightly mild weather. But 40 minute drive away... BAM! Snow banks, cold air... the whole shibam!

Weirdness #3 - Tricked by Staff
Lift was going to be closed soon - so we went for a final run, thinking we would be able to get one more ride up. We got past the staff closing off the slope, and so we happily thought that we made it... only to get down there and have this other person go "No. We are closed."... wtf?!?!?!

All in all though. It was pretty fun. It's nice to be skiing different slopes. Will go again definitely!

Now... should I or should I not buy skis... .hrmmmm....

Monday, February 02, 2009

Recovered after a Lazzzzzyyy Weekend

After 2 weeks, my body seem to have finally recovered from the Jog of No Return...

This weekend has been good for my body. Rested alot and slept alot. Just today, I had a nap after dinner (just passed out on the couch for 2 hours). And on Saturday, I had slept for 11 hours :D

Boy I am getting old!

Now it's that time again for me to go nite nite...

Mson out.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recovery Day...

Waking up the next day, I continued to read the book the Devil and Ms. Prym by Coelho. I have to say that this author is pretty good. After reading the first chapter or so last night, I was just itching to find out what happens.

This book was a story about good and evil... and seeing if people are borne good or evil, or that a person always fights between choosing these two extremes throughout life.

The premise:
A person with a sad past comes to a small village where everyone is honest does the following:
1. Shows a villager a gold bar (enough to let her do whatever she wants for the rest of her life). Then he tells her that he will just leave it in a certain place. Knowing it is his, she could steal it and run off with it -- which would be morally wrong and a sin -- (thou shalt not steal)
2. Then he goes on to say that there are 10 other gold bars (enough to let the entire village never do work again), which he does not disclose where it is. BUT, he will hand it all over if the villagers does one thing... murder a person from the village. Those at the village have 7 days to do this act.
3. The villager is the one telling the entire village of what this man had said.
If you were the girl or the villagers, what would you choose?

After reading this book and yesterday's run, I remember how dull physical pain is compared to any emotional or psychological pain... haha. Even though I can barely walk without wincing, I think it would probably be far worse if I had to go through the psychological turmoil that Ms. Prym in this book had to go through.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peking Duck and SBK

After a random facebook message of wanting Peking Duck, someone actually went ahead and organized a Peking Duck outing! So off we went to try it out. The place we went to was called O'Asian (in downtown Seattle).

It was a 'new style' Asian restaurant... very little round tables, pretty classy decor. Surprisingly though, the food tasted pretty authentic. The peking duck itself was decent... but it was pretty expensive! I think there were only 12 pieces of skin on the entire dish, with no other courses after. The service though was really good, so I guess that makes up for it. Definitely got to try the other place in Intl District and compare how the Peking duck ther fares.

After a filling dinner, we went to Seattle's Best Karaoke (SBK) to sing some songs - cuz it was still pretty early into the night. First time being there, and I was not impressed at all. Aside from the lack of booze (which I can grudgingly accept):
- the place wreaked and smelled. Not just the chairs, but the books were smelly on certain pages...
- they played songs off these big disk racks, which would fail to load songs every so often...
- It had an old number input style selection systems (the kicker was you can only enter a max of 12 songs at a time)...
- no AC and it was pretty muggy and hot...

So after that experience, probably won't be going back for a long long LONGGGG time!

Having said all this, we ended up singing for 3.5 hours... only leaving because we were getting kicked out cuz another group had booked the room. Ironic eh?

Thg Jog of No Return!

Was originally going to the library to pick up a few reading books, but after having a pack of bacon for lunch, decided I would jog instead. Becoming curious, I looked up the route I had been running. Turns out the path is actually about 3 miles. Which means that in the past year I have managed to go from a 5 minute run.. to running 5km :). Guess I finally completed one of my 'to-do's...

So back to today, wanting the best of both worlds, I looked up how far it is to the library... 2.8 miles one way. Having not jogged for 2 months, I probably shouldn't have taken this on... but meh, I wanted those library books. Worse case I would take the bus back on the return leg. So armed with the essentials (phone, keys), and extra items water, bus pass and a credit card, off I went!

So I was able to run most of the one way trip. Only walked twice for a little bit as I was going uphill. Never realized those hills were that steep! Total running time = 31 minutes... so I'd say I probaby got there in 40 minutes. Not too bad at all!

Once I was at the library, I went in and started reading one of the books I borrowed for a little bit (and also to rest a little). I am very glad to have made this trip! Because the book's opening was just amazing. This Paulo Coelho author is pretty good indeed!

Seeing the sun starting to set, it was time for me to attempt to jog back home. At the library, I realized that both my quads were pretty sore from the run (a good indication that I did a pretty good workout :P). If it was only that, jogging home would not be too tough because as I run, my quads would loosen up again and it will feel ok. However, the semi-expected issue came up... and this made the return home pretty tough! Having mostly run on trails, The impact with the concrete pavement that I experienced today did quite a number on me. And because of it, my ankles/foot were actually pretty sore from the run... to the point where walking caused my left foot to hurt. The interesting part of this was that the part that was most sore was not my right foot, but a part of the left foot that has never hurted before... EVER! I found it both surprising and amusing at the same time... haha.

Nevertheless, I started off jogging from the library, but within a few minutes, decided that I would stop jogging for fear that I might cause some permanent damage to my foot (seeing that I felt pain every step I took!). At this point, I could have used my backup plan and taken the bus, but being impatient with the bus system, I continued to march forward - turns out the time between buses == the same time for a limp to get to where he wanted to go...

Arriving back home in one piece, took a nice shower and then got ready for part II of the night, peking duck in!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Imo and Trinity night

Having had a mystery drink that was unexpected strong (a B151 with Malibu :X) the night before, the Friday was pretty rough throughout the day - seeing I went to bed at 4am...

Troopers that we were though, tonight we would continue the outing and have the first Imo and Trinity combo night of the new year.

Supposedly we were to be at Imo by 8.30pm...but after getting home from work, I took a quick power nap and before I know it, it was 8.30pm. So by 9.30ish, we were there. Surprisingly, it was pretty empty...

Wasn't really in the mood for drinking today, so just sipped a little bit of sake and then we headed into the club. Got introduced to some "Indie dancing" which was pretty interesting.

By the time we left the club, I was exhausted and so called it a night...

Have to say that today was a struggle... guess I am getting old!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Umi Sake House!

After going there twice for dinner and having to give up because the wait would be too long, finally, today I finally got to try Umi Sake House! 3rd time's the charm!

The food was pretty good, and they were pretty unique. Had this dish with octopus as an appetizer, and that was REALLY good. After trying out other dishes, decided randomly to go watch a movie. Looooveee random plans!

We ended up watching an Adam Sandler movie called Bedtime Stories... A classic Adam Sandler movie - funny most of the time, has a little plot to thread the story together. Very nice and relaxing.

After the movie, we walk back out and on our way towards the car, we see 3 groups of 12 yr olds walking around at midnite... wtf? 12am in the morning, and kids are walking around. If it was only one group of little kids, then it'd be still a bit normal, but 3 groups??? That was just weird.

When I was 12, hrmm.. what did I do?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Reflection 1/8: Enroute to Seattle

After 2.5 weeks, it was time to head back to the west coast. The lines were pretty long today, and it looked like everybody everywhere was delayed... but me! I arrived in SeaTac at 11pm-ish - the expected time because of my connecting flight, but very many people enroute to Seattle weren't so lucky. Turns out the city got hit with snow for a few hours in the afternoon, and they had shut down the airport for a few hours. So all the flights that were suppose to arrive from 3pm to 7pm or so could not land and were all rerouted to nearby airports. Which meant that by 11pm-ish, the baggage claim was packed with people, and zero wait taxi line that usually awaited me was ended up taking me 1.5 hours+ to even get into a cab! On the way home, the taxi slipped sooo many times, that I was actually pretty scared.

So on the way back, I had a stopover at O'Hara, and as fate would have it, I would run into the person who lent me the Alchemist. What are the odds eh? Here I was in Seattle at the same city, working at the same place, and I would not run into her, but instead, I run into her at an airport I do not usually go to, out of all the possible connecting flights and stop overs location, it was this one.

This was the first time I had talked to her face to face for a few years now. I remember the last time we talked was when I was picking her brain about the life here, and it seemed more like a Q&A session with a frustrated/incomprehension face from her more than anything...

So this chat as we waited to board the plane was different. It felt awkward in a way, but that's to be expected :P. It also seemed like there was alot less judging this time around, so there was ALOT less frustration (which is good or bad depending on how you look at it)... but what kept striking me as odd was that here I was, always believing that it is not difficult to keep up a conversation with old acquaintances, but then with her, I can definitely feel the lack of topics... Good thing that as always, I can count on her to find stuff to talk about :P - to keep the awkward level from becoming overbearing.

The interesting thing was that while this slight awkwardness was floating around, I was able to at the same time, feel that calm state that I had never been able to quite grasp on my own. That feeling of just being content... be not thinking of anything else, my mind feeling like a blank canvas, not desiring and conjuring up ways to have more of anything and everything... Actually, now that I think about it, this probably partly explains the reason why it was hard for me to think of something to talk about with her... even back then... Of all the people I have met, I think she is the only one who can bring me to this state of mind. That or lots and lots and lots of booze... hahaha

Which makes me wonder. In my life, I have come to know quite a few people. Those who can inspire and motivate, those who can lead, would help others, are compassionate and considerate, are driven, are fun, are wild... which in turn becomes a catalyst for me to reach higher and try to enjoy life. But none of these catalysts (other than perhaps helping others), makes me feel content or happy. Why is that?

I seem to feel most content when I am in this blank state. Though in this state, I am headed nowhere... I would feel stagnant, calm and content but not indifferent. But then, isn't that better than being stagnant, agitated and indifferent? What about the state of moving, agitated and indifferent? Is the ideal case to be moving, calm and content, and not indifferent? How do I reach this state?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Revisiting High Class Bbtea Place

Been waiting a year for this... the high class bbtea joint!

So meeting up with VIP BBtea-er, we chilled and drank GREAT bbtea. Before we know it, it was already 2am.

So we talked about some pretty random things and everything, but though many things have changed, there are certain aspects that reminded me of her high school days. hahaha. Guess people don't really change all that much. Maybe it is true that change is not something that can be done easily... even after all these years and experiences...

One interesting idea that resurfaced as we were chatting away... Is it possible to retire in 5 years and do anything I want! Ahh... wouldn't that be a nice life...

The biggest question I guess is how. I mean, it does seem that it could be possible. It is restricted only to a few people... but they are proof that it can be done right? ...if only i have that great idea and drive!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Eve 2008

Getting home and then chatting w/ Hermie for a bit, I proceeded to go to a potluck thing to see an old friend. It's been awhile since I've saw her...almost one year... if not more!

Alot has changed in the past year it seems. Funny as it sounds, this trip back has made me realized just how much everybody has been moving forward, but I have not moved much at all...

But anyway, after having dessert and playing a few games and catching up, I proceeded to go up to Law's place, to find the Waterloo crew drinking away...

One game that caught my eye was Black Jack for drinks. It has all the black jack rules, and everyone rotates being the the dealer. Dealer plays against everybody else, and if dealer loses, they drink, and vice versa. It's a pretty scary game - since in one deal the dealer could drink quite a bit! Pretty interesting idea though.

Once the new year's kicked in, Law comes up to me, and within 15 minutes, I have broken my 3 drink limit... As the night moved on, we started with beer, then moved to drinking shots of wine with uncle, and even drank some hard liquor at some point. Ate at the wee hours of the night, and before we knew it, it was 6:30am and time for bed. Got up for dim sum at 10ish and recovered the rest of the day...

Another year, another yearly tradition! Thx Law for hosting another year.