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.