Weekend Fun

This weekend was filled with a ton of events, from going away lunches to birthday celebrations. Here’s what I did the weekend of the 23rd of June, 2001.

Friday was Nancy’s last day at work at Palm; she was leaving the company to pursue other opportunities in the technology sector. As is customary, I took her out to lunch in Milpitas at McCarthy Ranch. Up along Highway 237, one has two choices when taking the McCarthy Ranch exit: either go left to the center where there are a plethora of predominantly American or European fare or head to the right to the Asian sector. We chose to travel to the right and eat at a sushi restaurant near the Ranch 99 market.

The last time that we went to this restaurant, it was to say goodbye to another Palm contractor, Asao, who had decided to leave and travel around the country before returning to Japan. I recall at the time that Vince, Nancy, Asao, and I ordered a giant Family Boat filled with sushi. This time, Nancy and I felt that we could handle a boat all to ourselves and subsequently ordered a Happy Boat of sushi, tempura, and teriyaki.

There was a waitress at the restaurant who, in my mind, was really pretty. Fortunately for me, Helen was also very nice and allowed me to take a picture of her. It was a bit of trouble to get her to smile, but when she did, it was great; unfortunately, the pictures I took caught her only in a half smile. I guess I’ll have to come back to the restaurant again!

Nancy and I finished the Happy Boat with time to spare. We talked about the handoff of responsibilities after her departure, as well as her plans after Palm. I didn’t dwell too much on the former, since I feel that work is never a great thing to talk about over a goodbye lunch. We discussed briefly my little idea to travel around the world one of these days, plotting my route from Australia to Europe.

After lunch, we returned back to work and met up with Ryan, one of the engineers I’m working with on a project at Palm. For the rest of the afternoon, we engaged in few hours of extreme programming, or collaborative programming with engineers working side-by-side. It’s a different approach than what I’m more familiar with, that of locking myself in a room for days on end to emerge with a finished product. Extremem programming can be beneficial since you can throw ideas off of each other to be more efficient in coding.

On Friday evening, I went out to dinner with another co-worker of mine, Mindy. She and I went to the 24 Hours of Adrenalin at the Laguna Seca Raceway about a month ago. Both of us were involved in minor accidents at the race, but thankfully, we have both since recovered. We ate over at Los Portales in Mountain View, a restaurant that I frequent often. I was stuffed from earlier eating sushi with Nancy, but somehow I found the space in my gullet to have a Juan’s Special Enchiladas. That dish has three yummy enchiladas with three different kinds of sauces, accompanied by refried beans, Mexican rice, and a salad. Absolutely yummy and extremely filling. We made some preliminary plans to see Startup.com, a recently released movie/documentary about the rise and fall of an Internet dot-com. I’ve heard good reviews of the movie, and I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Tomb Raider and Photography

Before I’d watch Startup.com, however, I had two movies to view. Another one of my co-workers, Jon, has an extensive DVD collection. When I learned about that, I quickly hit him up to be my local Blockbuster Video store. The first two DVDs that he gave me were Terminator 2: The Ultimate Edition and Gladiator. T2 contained the special edition of the movie, which I had never seen before. I had this illustrated screenplay of the movie back at home in San Diego, and I was fascinated by the production stills and commentary about some of the cut scenes from the movie that made their way back into the Special Edition. It took me a couple of days to complete watching the movie, but it was worth it, as I felt that the additional scenes enhanced the overall movie experience.

On Saturday, I met up with Kanishka and Joe at the Hobee’s in San Jose, one of four of the many Hobee’s I’ve been to in the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale. After a quiet lunch discussion about weddings and photography, the three of us drove over to San Jose to watch Tomb Raider. I’m not much of a gamer anymore, but I have played Tomb Raider a few times on the PC and on my Mac (yes, games like this do exist on the Mac!). The movie itself was mindless fun that I would give a 6 out of 10. Nothing too intellectual with lots of eye candy if you like Angelina Jolie or the game. Still, I think I’d rather play the game than watch the film if I had the choice.

Angelina Jolie’s got a lot of tattoos on her body, and I was wondering how the makeup artists would handle concealing the tattoos during the movie. For the most part, they did their job admirably, but in one particular scene at the end of the movie, they got a bit sloppy. Lara Croft was in the water in one scene, and you could clearly see her blue tattoo showing through the dissolving makeup on her left arm. I wonder if digital enhancement could have been used to better effect than makeup. Guess we’ll have to wait until Tomb Raider 2, no?

After the movie, I went back to my home and noticed that the peaches are beginning to sprout on the tree outside my door. Cool! The peaches are still a little tough, but they should soften up in no time. Last year, some neighbors of mine stole all the peaches from the tree and sold them off! They’re not here anymore, so I figure that there’ll be plenty of peaches to go around the neighborhood.

It’s amazing to see life more in cycles. For the better part of the year, the tree looks like it’s not doing much of anything. But, life is growing within that organism. Sight unseen, but growing nonetheless. In a flash during Spring, the leaves begin to bud and the peaches are revealed! Absolutely beautiful and amazing!

Flash’s Biennial Party in Palo Alto

Every two years, Flash holds a party at his place near the Fourth of July weekend. This year’s party was held on Saturday evening at his place in Palo Alto. On his balcony, there’s an absolutely beautiful view of the Stanford campus and nearby foothills. Fortunately for me, I brought my tripod with me which helped to stabilize some of the landscape shots that I took.

Some of the usual suspects were present at Flash’s house Saturday night, Lunatic E’Sex, Zander and Rebecca, and Flash’s mother, Nancy. Kenneth Albanowski rounded out the list of party participants. In the beginning, while we were waiting for the rest of the people to arrive, Flash, Kenneth, and I gossiped about the latest happenings at Palm, where we all currently work. We had a fun time talking about “being Tow’ed” a new term being bandied around the office that I must leave for a future day to explain.

Zander and I had a great conversation about digital video and still photography. He has been doing a lot of DV lately and was a great source of information for all the questions that I had about the field. It’s an expensive field too, about as expensive as still photography is getting to be for me. When you want to do some beautiful and edgy work, however, you’ve got to invest the money and the time needed to master the art.

Over Indian take-out food, the seven of us engaged in a rather exciting conversation about Star Trek, precipitated by Lunatic’s questions about the upcoming new series, Enterprise. I don’t think that I’ve ever been in a room where there were sooo many people that were so knowledgeable about Star Trek! We talked about, among other things, the mother Horta from Devil in the Dark, the question of whether or not Trellane was Q in The Squire of Gothos, how they will handle the look of Klingons in the new series, and whether or not the Enterprise 1701-A was really the Yorktown. At home, I have a an unopened copy of Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars Edition that I’ve been meaning to crack open and play with a bunch of hardcore friends. Too bad it wasn’t the Star Trek edition, or we would have been at Flash’s house into the wee hours of the morning!

As time would have it, I drove my way back home after 1:00 am on Sunday morning. Sleep was rather uneventful, and I woke up around 8:00 am. For some reason, I seem to wake up earlier on the weekends than I do on the weekdays. Perhaps it’s something about the day being filled with so much promise; my body wants to make sure I spend every hour soaking it up!

Sunday in Sacramento

My Dad was in Sacramento for a reunion during the weekend, and I, being the strange person that I am, decided to pay him a visit before he left to return to San Diego. It was designed to be a surprise, with me driving up 130 miles to see him at the Sacramento International Airport. I had his itinerary that he sent to us before he left, and I figured that he would have kept to the plan of record. I arrived at Gate A17 around 12:07 pm and waited for him. I noticed that people were starting to enter a plane headed for San Diego at Gate A14, which was directly across from A17.

I wondered and wrote down in my journal if he would have taken that earlier flight. As time went by, I grew more and more concerned, especially when 1:15 pm rolled along and the plane he was supposed to be on left the gate! It turns out that he took the earlier, 12:15 pm flight instead of the prescribed 1:15 pm flight. He must have been walking down the airplane causeway right when I was walking up to the gate. I drove, round trip over 4 hours to get up to Sacramento with the hopes of spending 1 hour with my Dad. It’s funny that it boiled down to literally minutes separating our two paths. Although I wish I could have seen him, I don’t regret doing what I did. It would have been worth it. Now, it’s just another thing to mention and laugh at when looking back!

The drive up to Sacramento was uneventful, but the drive back was filled with a long stretch of stop and go traffic. I’m glad that I don’t have to do these types of drives on a daily basis, because I absolutely hate traffic jams. There’s such a feeling of powerlessness when you’re behind the wheel during a traffic jam. Fortunately, I had my camera with me and was able to take some interesting shots, including one while standing out of my window!

Before returning back home, I drove by the Berkeley area and hung out for an hour with Edna and Erik. It was good to sit down after sitting in my car for the past 2.5 hours. At the end of the day, I had drive 260.4 miles. Phew! I don’t want to plan on doing those that often. Maybe this was preparation for my future road trip around the country. Now that would be fun, to travel across the continental United States, with the goal of seeing America and its “blessed way of life.”

Randy’s Birthday

Capping off Sunday evening was the celebration of Randy’s 26th birthday. Juliana and I arranged to have a little party at my place at 8:00 pm that night. I got back to my place around 6:00, giving me a couple of hours to clean up the house and prepare dinner. I was thinking of being a cheapscape and ordering a couple of pizzas, but the cook in my intervened. I ended up making two batches of my delectable Ma Po Tofu dish, using two containers of tofu and about a pound of pork. I started cooking at 7:00 pm and finished everything by 7:45 pm, giving me a few minutes to relax and unwind before everyone arrived.

The birthday boy and Juliana arrived first and with the birthday cake that I put in the fridge. Over the next 60 minutes or so, the rest of the gang arrived, Joon-Mo Ok, Denise Morris, Constantine, Bill Metzger, and Stephanie Wong. We all had a cheery time chewing the cud (my oft-used term for hanging out) and celebrating Randy’s birthday.

I demonstrated my command of the Rodian language to the group, which brought out cheers from the gallery. In addition, we listened to the popular Kerpal: Kicked My Dog telephone prank and to a variety of music, including Vienna Teng, Aimee Mann, Britney Spears (yes, Britney), Fiona Apple, and Tori Amos — as my co-worker, Dave, would say, “Adam’s chick music.” And, as Kerpal would say, “You know damn right!”

Happy 26th Birthday, Randy!

This weekend, starting on Friday, was very full. I’m not sure which types of weekends I like more, the lazy ones where you loaf around the house all day long, or the ones that are filled with so much stuff that you’re exhausted come Monday. The latter is certainly more conducive to entertaining journal entries, but the former is very good to help recharge empty batteries. I guess both are required for good balance.

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