Hanging out with Eric and Sophia

June 20, 2001: I went out with Eric and Sophia this evening in San Mateo. I was actually able to leave work a little earlier than normal, which has been quite the rare occurrence lately. Driving up Highway 101 around 6:00 pm can be a harrowing experience if you’re easily distracted or annoyed as a driver; luckily, I haven’t had the pleasure of doing the long commute thing, so I’m not afflicted with that unfortunate malady.

We met over at Building 100 at Oracle, off of Ralston, around 7:00 pm. Sophia took me up to her cute little office on the 7th floor; Oracle’s buildings are definitely different than the ones at Palm. For starters, many of the engineers have offices; at Palm, everyone is stuck in cubes, from the CEO to the engineers to the contractors, a vestige of our days as a business unit at 3Com. This can be a problem at times, as it’s difficult to filter out hallway conversations when you’re trying to concentrate. Fortunately, all I have to do is turn up the volume on my Vienna Teng album, and everything will be all good.

As I said during my Stanford Graduation 2001 photojournal, I haven’t had much opportunity to hang out with Sophia. I was planning on having dinner with a co-worker Wednesday evening, but she had to cancel due to relatives who were in town; as a result, Eric’s offer to hang out with him and Sophia suddenly became available!


We went to dinner at Macaroni Grill over in the Hillsdale Mall. While waiting for our table, Sophia, Eric, and I engaged in a discussion about engineers vs. product marketing managers, the never-ending battle between different functional groups at a company. I’ve done my share of being antagonistic towards past co-workers, but hearing Sophia made me rethink my approach that I’ve been taking in recent years. I’ll endeavor to be a little more sensitive and sympathetic to what they hear, so as long as they do the same for me. As always, it’s a two-way street, much like a relationship that you have to nurture and sustain on a consistent basis.

Macaroni Grill has these paper tablecloths on which you can draw on with crayons or pencils. I flexed my artistic skills in drawing a portrait of Sophia; it turned out so-so, but I realized that I need to improve my life drawing skills. If I draw from my head, everything is fine, but drawing from life is still difficult. Easily rendered with practice, however!

Dinner itself was okay; recently, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been able to eat as much as I used to. Then again, maybe that was because I was a pig over lunch on Wednesday, chowing down some Chinese food at the Crossover Cafe at Palm. We had calamari for appetizers. I have started to eat the little ring-shaped calamari, but I just can’t bring myself (yet) to eat the ones that have all those tentacles on them. It must be something about the tentacles coming to life in my stomach and crawling all over the place which make me queasy just looking at them! Eric and Sophia didn’t have a problem with them, however, as they chowed them down with gusto.

We had a nice conversation about that age-old topic of relationships. Tony Leung Ka-Fai popped up in the conversation a number of times. Sophia definitely saw the resemblance, as did Randy’s friend Joon-Mo, and a number of other people. Looks like Winnie is right, I do bear a resemblance to Tony Leung!

eric cheng: thinking of you

This is a great picture of Eric and Sophia, taken with my Canon D30 Digital SLR and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. When I saw it, I instantly knew that this was a keeper. Sophia thought the same, though she encouraged me to take her out of the picture. No, it’s a classic shot when the two of them are together. However, when editing the shot, I realized that Eric looks like he’s straight out of an album cover! Given that Eric’s a wonderful musician, I decided to transform him, for one day, into the famous Taiwanese Pop Star, Eric Cheng!

This is the debut album of cellist, Eric Cheng. His deep and haunting melodies will bring out all of the memories of past relationships. Both the good times and the bad times with your ex’s will be revealed to you in Eric’s masterful control of his musical art. The New York Times calls his music, “Engrossing,” while the San Francisco Chronicle notes that his music, “begs you to listen to it over and over.” Don’t waste a single minute. Purchase Eric Cheng’s thinking of you today from fine music stores or online at echeng.com.

Hey, I’d buy his album if he ever decided to make one on his own or with his orchestra friends. As I’ve said before, the amount of creative power that my friends have is amazing. If we ever got together to build a company together, be it a technology or an entertainment company, I think that we could rock the world. Dreams for one day to accomplish, I figure.

Pictures at Oracle

After dinner, we drove around San Mateo before settling down at the lake at Oracle. We sat there and chilled (literally speaking, it was sooo cold out there in shorts and a t-shirt for me!) for the next hour or so, talking about all sorts of stuff and taking tons of pictures. It’s great to have a digital camera that can take great shots in the dark. I only wish that the autofocus system on the D30 was a little better. Dreams that will be fulfilled one day once Canon gets their act together and releases a professional digital SLR whose build quality it on par with their EOS 3 or EOS 1-V series!

Sophia was a great sport in letting us take tons of pictures around her. With Eric and myself, who needs to spend a few hundred dollars taking glamour shots? I have a few friends who absolutely do not want to get their picture taken. While I understand how they might feel, it hurts me a bit since photography is a big part of my life. I want to be able to remember them in print, not just in my memories or in my journal. While I respect their wishes, part of me is a little sad or angry toward them. But… in the end, something is better than nothing, and I’m grateful to have their company.

Finally, around 11:30 pm, we all decided to call it a night and return to our respective homes: Eric to San Francisco, Sophia to Fremont, and myself back to Mountain View. After I got home, I started processing the images that I have taken for the past few days before collapsing on my couch and falling asleep!


Here are some more photos from my night out with Sophia and Eric:

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