Friday, April 22, 2005

Boat Dance report

I just got back from the Boat Dance. As the name suggests, this was a party cruise for Berkeley students. It certainly didn't disappoint!

Because the RHA didn't have a booth or anything, buying a ticket was difficult. I only managed to get one at the last minute. On the other hand, the $25 price was a great deal, especially considering that similar cruises are usually very expensive.

The buses departed for the Port of San Francisco around 6 p.m. Boarding the San Francisco Belle took a while due to the security checks and the sheer number of people, but the folks in charge wasted no time in getting the party started. A violin quartet played Pachelbel's Canon as we got on the boat. I could tell this was a classy event.

The San Francisco Belle was huge. There were two floors for dancing and one for movies. The view of the San Francisco Bay was absolutely amazing. Though I mostly walked around and didn't dance with anyone, I still had a great time. It was past 1 a.m. when we got back to campus!

The only downside is that there wasn't any food besides light refreshments. Those who have evening classes didn't have much time for dinner. Case in point, my suitemate Cyrus and I came back hungry as a result. It didn't help that all the cafeterias and grocery stores were closed.

On the whole, the Boat Dance was an incredible experience. While I skipped my high school prom, I'm sure this event was far better. You can read a full review of the dance here.

Currently listening to: "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin

Saturday, March 26, 2005

back from our second spring break trip

So we just came back from another trip, this time to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. I'm definitely not complaining. :-)

Day 1

Our first stop was Casa de Fruta in Hollister. The nice thing is that the store had lots of free samples. I felt guilty after eating so much and bought some chocolates before leaving. The rest of the drive was uneventful, although we made a quick stop for pictures at San Luis Reservoir. The lake was huge!

It was late when we got to our hotel. Dad and I watched Rambo III on TV before going to bed. That was a cool movie.

Day 2

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks awaited us in the morning. Some parts of Kings Canyon were still closed for the winter, but Sequoia was pretty nice. The fresh air made for a great hike. All of us enjoyed walking among the giant trees. That was an amazing experience and my favorite part of the trip.

I saw a store in Fresno called WinCo Foods on our way home. Seeing that everything was super cheap, the three of us bought dinner to eat in the car before going back for groceries. This was a great way to end our vacation. Looks like we have a new favorite place to shop!

March 28 update: I'm now back at Berkeley as spring break has ended. I didn't feel like making another post as the rest of the break was uneventful.

Currently watching: Rambo III

Historical note: Pictures from the trip are available here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Yosemite trip report

I just got back from Yosemite National Park with my parents. This was our first spring break vacation in five years. All of us definitely had a great time.

Day 1

Our trip began with a 200-mile drive to Oakhurst. There was plenty of free time as it was barely past 2 p.m. when we arrived. The alpine air was fresh and made for a great hike. It was a wonderful experience.

After returning to the hotel for some rest, my parents and I had dinner at the on-site restaurant. Though the food wasn't cheap, everything was delicious, especially the pasta I ordered. On the whole, the dinner was the best part of the trip.

Day 2

The three of us headed back to the park after breakfast to see the famous waterfalls. The spray from Yosemite Falls was quite refreshing. Our last stop in the park was Yosemite Village in the afternoon. The Village Store is easily one of my favorite places.

Mom wanted to go to the Gilroy Premium Outlets for a shoe sale, so that was our next stop. We managed to get there with about an hour to spare. This was followed by dinner at the Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant in San Jose. As with our previous visits, the food didn't disappoint. It was a great end to a great vacation.

Currently listening to: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 by J. S. Bach

Saturday, February 26, 2005

went to an awesome '80s dance

I just came back from the Blast from the Past dance at Bowles. Unlike the Dance & Casino Night in August and the ASUC Fall Dance in October, this one was quite awesome.

For starters, the DJ played a lot of great music. It made me feel nostalgic even though most of the songs were before my time. I heard only one slow song, but people didn't seem to mind too much. The organizers also hosted a costume contest and a raffle drawing. That was really fun even though I didn't win anything in the raffle. Last but not least, there were ample refreshments.

The only downside is that the place was pretty crowded. However, that's probably a good sign - a large attendance means the event was successful. On the whole, the dance totally rocked. You can find a full review of it here.

Currently listening to: "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

back at Berkeley for the spring

I've moved back to the dorms as the spring semester has started. One nice thing about Berkeley is that we get a whole month off for Christmas. The reason is that our Christmas vacation also includes winter break and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day long weekend. This means we won't get another week off in February, but I guess we can't have it both ways.

At any rate, I'm taking Math 1B, CS 61A, Physics 7A and Music 27 this semester. Speaking of which, I should probably get back to studying as Math 1B looks pretty tough. :P

Friday, January 7, 2005

back from Tahoe

"I feel like Luke Skywalker getting ready to attack the Death Star." -- me, on intermediate slopes

I just got back from Tahoe with my parents. The purpose of the trip was to go skiing at Northstar-at-Tahoe. It was pretty exciting as we hadn't skied in over three years!

Day 1

The drive to Tahoe was uneventful. Our hotel for the night was Boreal Inn, located next to Boreal Mountain Resort. Though we don't come here much anymore, my parents booked this place because of its proximity to other ski areas.

To our disappointment, Boreal Inn absolutely sucked. The beds were uncomfortable, the heater was loud and Internet access was only available at the front desk as it was intended for staff. While it's nice to be disconnected sometimes, this was an inconvenience for Dad as he is a CEO and frequently gets e-mails. He soon decided to cancel our second night and pick another hotel.

Day 2

The three of us headed to Northstar-at-Tahoe after checking out of the crappy motel. I took some lessons to refresh my skills as I hadn't skied in over three years. It wasn't long before I got back up to speed. As a matter of fact, I was racing down intermediate slopes after just two sessions. Woohoo!

I don't think I've ever had so much fun in Tahoe. This was definitely the best part of the trip.

Day 3

The plan was to go skiing again, but we changed our minds as the weather wasn't that great. On the other hand, I enjoyed our drive around Lake Tahoe. That was a relaxing way to spend the morning.

It was soon time to head home as my parents were getting tired. The fun didn't end there as we visited the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. There were no more tours available, but the visitor center was still open. The art gallery was really cool. We then stopped at our family friend Mei's house and hung out with the Lees for a while before returning home. This was no doubt an awesome trip.

Currently listening to: "What Is Love" by Haddaway

Historical note: Pictures from the trip are available here.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Happy 2005!

I can hardly believe 2004 is over. Happy New Year!

For New Year's Eve, my parents invited Prof. Lee and his wife to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. They let Prof. Lee pick the place because he knew of one that had great food at low prices. Everything we ordered was delicious. I then came home with my parents to watch the Times Square ball drop.

2004 in review

It seems 2004 was a rough year: my grandmother Pi-Tan passed away in May as did my grandfather Bien-Chuan in September. Two deaths in the family were certainly hard on us. On a global scale, there's the recent earthquake and tsunami.

But the past year had its high points. For one thing, my family went to the Pacific Northwest in July and Alaska in August. All of us love to travel and really enjoyed those trips. Another highlight was getting into Berkeley in April. I'm definitely grateful for being accepted into such a great school.