• Chapters

    Birthday Lunch

    Sunday after cleaning up the house and rearranging our storage unit we drove down to take my old friend Shane out for lunch for his birthday (2/28). We went to Huntington Beach’s Las Barcas for lots ‘o Mexican food and hung out for a few hours. He’s getting married in June, and has lots of exciting things going on in his after school program as he’s moved into teaching kids about physics using legos. His first class is about catapults and trebuchets and teaching kids how they work and why they work, and let them fling legos across the room. Now where was this class when i was growing up?

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    Just another wedding

    Now that we enter our thirties the amount of weddings are starting to wind down. With that the desire to get all crazy at weddings is also starting to disappear. Saturday was Joy’s college roommate’s wedding out in Glendale, and as we were driving up, Joy said, no shots for me tonight, and i was very proud that she was able to say no at the reception. I found it nice that Joy was not in the wedding party so we didn’t have to stress about the day and were able to do as we pleased for the day. I felt bad for the couple as their DJ wound up in the hospital and had to send in a substitute to fill in. He was ill prepared and there were a lot of gaps and sound issues throughout the dinner. We stayed till almost the end but were pretty tired and ended up getting home by 11. The interesting thing though is that there was a celebrity sighting at the wedding that you might find in the picture below.

    In the very back its Jennie Kwan from California Dreams tv show of the 90s. We never talked to her, but at least it was funny to talk about amongst the table.

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    Last Day in the LA

    What a strange journey the last six months have been. Joy’s parent moved in September and last night were dropped off at LAX for their retirement in Thailand. It was a wide range of emotions during the whole time and especially their last day in LA. I summed it up as if it was a crash course in having kids. At first it was awkward, with a lot of tip toeing around the house (baby) that moved into being comfortable just enjoying the company (kids) that was followed by lots of bickering and complaining with things that needed to happen before their move (teenagers) and finally being all sad as they packed up their things and moved on with their lives (college).

    Joy and I both took off of work the yesterday so that we could spend the day taking care of last minute things and more importantly just spending time with them. We started off by going to the Chinese Temple in Chinatown for some prayers, followed by dim sum at Empress Pavilion. In the afternoon since we already out we took them out to Hollywood for a walk around town. We showed them around Hollywood and Highland and all the stuff being setup for the Academy Awards. We took some nice touristy shots in front of Grauman’s Chinese theater to finish off the trip.

    In the evening my parents came over with some KFC and loaded up the van with 5 suitcases filled to all 50lbs. The final moments for me personally was a bit of nervousness, and excitement for her parents. It actually went by a flash as after checking in their luggage i figured we would all mill about the terminal spending the last hour together but instead her parents were basically “thanks for everything, see you later” and walked into security.

    Joy held up pretty well, until we finally got home and everything was quiet and that much emptier. I tried to take her mind off it by cleaning up the house and rearranging things now that the other bedroom was free to use/store things. I’m sure they’ll be an adjustment period, but it was something that we knew was going to happen, and it gives us a reason to go to Thailand more often.

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    Birthday Celebrations

    Joy’s birthday is in the middle of the week this year so we had to celebrate this weekend. Janelle invited us over for a little get together to celebrate both of their birthdays along with Jodi (who shares the exact same birthdate). We did a little pre-drinking with some sake, and chased it with some sushi.

    The night continued in Hollywood where we fought off the rain and the crowds of NBA Allstar weekend to meet up with her friends at The Room, Hollywood. The place worked out great since we were able to reserve a couple tables without having to order bottle service and everyone got in before they started charging a cover charge. Too bad the service was a little slow, and there wasn’t a dance floor but of course we made our own dance area. Joy got to show off her dougie, and got a few guys to show her their dougies as well. The only thing that i couldn’t fulfill for her birthday wish was to get a danger dog. The rains must have scared them off because there were none to be found so Joy and I ended up in Thaitown for some fried pork and lard nar. Fun times.

    On Sunday we headed out to Buena Park to a place called John’s Incredible Pizza Co. to celebrate Noel’s 40th birthday. I teamed up with Steve and Roland to get him a custom Lakers Jersey with the number 40, and the name NOQUILLE (rather than SHAQUILLE), which is a tribute to our playing days as kids. I was super stocked at his reaction and i’ve heard he still hasn’t taken it off.

    The thing that i couldn’t get over was the restaurant itself. Its taken over the entire bottom floor of the Buena Park mall, which is broken up into the buffet area, themed eating areas and a huge arcade with a twirling ride in the middle of it all. The smell of the place, with the blinking lights and amount of people made me think of the Circus Circus midway, if you put a pizza/pasta buffet right in the middle of it all. I know Joy and Roland were tripping out the entire time as well.

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    Muppets and Target!

    On the February 9th episode of Top Chef they showed a preview of contest that had to deal with muppets and Target. I was super stocked on the episode and it was like a double edge sword of excitement. The opening challenge had the contestant bake cookies for Cookie Monster, Telly, and Elmo which was really funny, but i could tell that the chefs weren’t totally into the challenge and it showed in the results of the dishes served. Dale actually won with a cookie that he didn’t even have to cook, but molded with different ingredients.

    The elimination challenge had the chefs basically setup shop inside the middle of a Target grabbing all their things within the stores inventory. That meant from the food, to their cooking equipment and decor (which really didn’t seem to matter).  Each chef had their own method to their madness, but only three of them actually had an idea of what to cook. Carla (one of my team) didn’t even look to see what was available to cook until after spending an hour shopping for pots and table decorations. I was sure that she was going to get kicked off, but amazingly Angelo made the biggest mistake by over salting his soup, and got kicked off. The judging seemed like they had a real tough time deciding, but after reading Tom’s blog, it was just more drama for the camera.

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    Pancakes, Wines, Cupcakes and Casinos

    The whirlwind tour of California continued this weekend as Joy and I try to share what her parents have been missing while they’ve been working for the past 25 years in the US. With only two weeks before the retire back in Thailand we took them up north to show them Santa Barbara, Solvang, and some wineries. Of course the mothers were more excited about going to Chumash Casino but still enjoyed all the other things that we got to do as well.

    My parents came by our house at 6:30am for the quick 2 hour drive up to North Southern California(?).  We got to Solvang around 9am and just in time for breakfast at Paula’s Pancake House where Joy wanted to try their Sweedish Pancakes, and i got my favorite chicken fried steak and eggs. We walked around town and looked at the windmills and all the tasting rooms got our palettes watering.

    The mothers were dropped off at the Casino as the fathers accompanied and dd’d our wine tour of the Los Olivos Santa Ynez Valley, CA. Tiffany was very adamant about us checking out Saarloos and Sons for their wine and cupcakes, and it was really simple to find since its the first one you see when you turn onto the main street where all the winery stores are. Lets just say that we started there with our free sample tasting for checking-in on foursquare, and ended there with the full cupcake and wine pairing tasting. We made friends with Keith Saarloos the son of the found and bonded instantly with quick references to Arrested Development and the Office. We also tasted some from Carhartt but found them slightly weaker in flavor than the Saarloos and is why we ended up coming home with three of their bottles.

    After we finished we drove down to Ventura for some fried seafood by the marina at Andria’s Seafood Restaurant. We ate plenty of fried fish, fried shrimp and a few bowls of clam chowder. To end the day we did a little shopping at the Camarillo outlets and made it home before 9pm.

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    The Great Debate

    Its been over two years now since i purchased my first smart phone (HTC G1) which i ran with for almost the entire 2 year contract. This past fall i switched over to Joy’s original iPhone and have been using it ever since. Due to excessive dropping the iPhone is now having audio issues, so I switched back over to the G1 to try it again, but the battery wont hold a charge any more. I have come to the conclusion that it might be time to get another phone, but which to get is the question.

    So the debate is again the same as i had the last time, whether i should suck it up and buy an iPhone, or go with an Android. This time around i have the option to buy a used iPhone as well.

    iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS HTC G2
    Network AT&T AT&T or T-Mobile T-Mobile
    Contract 2 Years n/a 2 Years
    Puchase Price $199 $300 $99
    Talk Time 450/minutes 600/minutes 600/minutes
    Data 2GB Unlimited Unlimited
    Text Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
    Contract Pricing $85 $75 $75
    Data Network 3G 3G 4G
    OS Apple Apple Android

    This is the simple graph that i’m using to compare the phones. In terms of OS between the iPhone and Android after i feel is a good amount of time to compare the two. I will say that the iPhone’s OS is a lot more refined and works much more smoothly navigating through the app. The apps are much more plentiful and fun on the iPhone and are just a little more well developed. As far as the Android it may not be as slick but it does have some benefits. Being Google ready means that that once you enter for your login information your phone is ready to go immediately with your contacts, calendar and mail instantly synced up.

    The over realization after owning both phones is that sure the iPhone was fun to use initially but now the only apps that i’m regularly using are mail, internet, texting, camera, twitter, foursquare and facebook. Beyond those basic apps i don’t really use any other OS specific app. So which will i choose? I probably wont actually make an decision until this summer when the next iPhone is probably released. If there are any other arguments for any of the phones please let me know.

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    The Pack are Back

    I actually had no plans to watch the Packers take on the Steelers in today’s Super Bowl, but i did manage to catch some of the game and some of the commercials too.

    I actually thought the Steelers were going to win, but i was cheering on the Packers. I’m pretty happy that Aaron Rodgers won and probably wont have to hear about Brett Favre at least until he starts get old and begins his retirement. The game got off to a pretty quick start with the Packers scoring twice in the first quarter, and the ads made a good attempt at humor but only a few stood out myself.

    These two were my favorite.

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    Lakers and Blakers

    Tuesday morning at work i hear from across the office “anyone want to go to the Lakers game tonight?” I hurry over and snatch up all three tickets for sale and quickly IM Roland to join Joy and I for the night’s game. We met up with Roland at the ESPN Zone for some food and beers during the first quarter and finished up watching the OT victory from the upper deck.

    I’m happy that they won, but it was so frustrating watching them play so poorly down the stretch. I know that they can kill any team they play, but often times just look careless and not willing to go all out. I liken it to a genius kid not doing well at school because they’re just bored in class.

    Wednesday night was the Clippers game that i bought tickets for on one of those one day discount sites which i thought would be the only game i went to this season. I’ve been excited to go to a Clippers game because of the one man hustle crew Blake Griffin. Every game you’re treated to at least one highlight reel play, and at least six or seven amazing shots by the big man. Too bad that half the stadium was filled with Bulls fans and you just couldn’t get into the game with so many people cheering on the opponents. I think Joy and I were still tired from the night before so we left at the end of the third quarter.

    And the night might have ended early because we went to Lawry’s for dinner before the game and i ended up losing our tickets and I was already giving up and thought we should go home. We did end up going to the Marriot’s business center to reprint out tickets.

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    Seven Grand and the Bazaar

    The weekend Joy and i were out and about driving all around the city eating of course, and meeting up with friends. Saturday night it was another struggle to stay up until the bewitching hours of going out to J Lounge with her friends so we headed out earlier and went to Seven Grand for some pre-drinks. The place is owned by the same group who owns the Broadway Bar and Golden Gopher. It has basically the same layout as the Golden Gopher just with a hunting lodge motif and deer heads on the wall. I ordered a glass of Glenrothes (which i had in SF from the my sister’s Scotch tasting, and more recently seeing ads for) while Joy got an amazing real Whiskey Sour. Afterwards we got some dancing in and some wine tasting too at J Lounge and actually lasted past midnight.

    On the right day and right time I randomly made a rsvp for The Bazaar by José Andrés for dinela week, and it was awesome because the next day ALL the rsvp were gone. At $44/person its on the upper tier of pricing and i’ve read plenty of great reviews on Yelp.com about the place. Even Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef worked here before going on the show and eventually running his own place in Pasadena. Overall the meal was ok, but not as mind blowing as expected. By four of us getting the special we got to try 20 dishes which was basically the whole menu and the menu was basically the favorites of the normal menu so we were expecting a lot. I personally like 4-5 dishes out of the bunch but was looking for much more of a wow reaction from more of them even if they weren’t good. It was still a fun night, but maybe i’ll go back again if anyone wants to try it in a few years.

    The whole review will be coming soon on the new site.