Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Epilogue

Everyone must take a vacation. The timing was perfect for a vacation. I needed to take vacation time from my contractor company and my life. And the week I flew to Washington, I finished all my quarterly responsibilities. I felt rejuvenated after the vacation. Yay!

The Washington Canada '08 vacation reminded me of one lesson I learned in '05 and I learned a new lesson. The '05 lesson I called it an inspiration. It's not an inspiration, it's a lesson. The '05 lesson was to be patient. Take your time. The '08 vacation reminded me to be patient and to take my time. Never rush. I failed to take my time in 2007 and 2008, and I felt miserable; moreover, that's not my character, my personality. I take life one day at a time.

The new lesson I learned is every human, every person, all the people we see everyday—family, friends, acquaintances, strangers—we are the same. We want love, we want friends, we have families, we work, we go to school, we have hobbies. My favorite day was Day 2 when we took the ferry to Seattle. I saw lots of Seattle Seahawks fans. Sure, the football team was having an off year. Yet, people came to watch the game at Qwest Field. I saw couples, groups of guys, groups of gals, families, and groups of friends all dressed up in their Seahawk clothes and colors ready for a day to hang out together. The Seahawks brought these people together. They have a common hobby, a common interest. They were Seahawks fans and they welcomed each other's togetherness. Look beyond them being Seahawks fans and they are the same like you and me—they are loved, have friends, work or attend school, have other hobbies, the human need of acceptance and being with others and to be happy.

I never had any enemies or conflicts before March 2007. I always see the good and I'm always a nice guy. Today, there are a few I don't want to be around. I see the good and then I realized they're not good at all. Appearances can be deceiving; however, they are the same like me. If I look beyond the conflicts, beyond the drama, these people I don't want to hang out with anymore are the same as me—they want love, want friends, belong in a family, work or attend school, have other hobbies, the human need of acceptance and being with others and to be happy.

Random walking can be fun. I believe that now after the vacation. It depends who you are with. Go local. Go somewhere new. Shop. Have a conversation with each other(s). Walk in a museum. Walk in a bookstore. How about walk around Best Buy? Go miniature golf.

Thank you Steve for providing the room, board, and transportation. And thanks for planning the activities. The vacation is all complements and kudos, and it made me a little wiser 0:-) Next trip is Las Vegas, my friend.


*I took approximately 975 pictures. It's less than what I took at the '05 vacation.

*Beauty advisors look great and their experience shows it. Remember the complement and make sure it's genuine and sincere.

*The book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus" by John Gray has not been revised. I guess the concepts are still valid today. At the time of the epilogue, I have not started reading the book, and it's going to be a while before I start.

*It's long day, not long shift. And my name is . . . . Not what's your name.

*I never needed to get money from the ATM. I got all the spending cash I needed after winning money from the casinos in '05 and '08.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Monday, January 26, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 6 of 6 Thur Nov 19

Making The Best Of The Last

I woke up at 8:30am and ate a big breakfast. I finished watching Dr. Strangelove finally!!! The day started with rain. Yay! Seattle area rain. I experienced Seattle area rain finally!!! The Washington Canada '05 trip there was rain outside the Seattle area. I channel surfed after eating breakfast and Dr. Strangelove. I watched a show on USA. I don't know the name of the show.

Steve has a weight set in his garage. I asked Steve if I could try out his weight set. He said yes. At 9:57am, Steve changed to his sweats and I wore my PJs and we spotted each other.

We showered after the workout. I packed all my belongings in my luggage. Today we planned to eat Chinese for lunch at one of Steve's favorite restaurants and visit the museums afterwards. I took one pic at Steve's deck.

We arrived at Golden Grill On The Bay at 11:52am for lunch. Steve wanted to take me to eat here. Fortunately, timing was good and we did. We could see Puget Sound from the second floor view.

I was able to get a picture of a Port Orchard police car, a Dodge Stratus. The pic was too small and there was a post blocking most of the car. I take a look closely and see if I could post on my police car webpage. The timing to the ferry was good after we finished lunch.

Last Visit To Seattle For '08

I saw the McDonalds billboard sign many times that looked like a pancake. The ad was actually advertising McDonalds new grande. We arrived at the Southworth Ferry terminal at 12:54pm to catch the 1:10pm ferry. We arrived at Fauntleroy port at 1:30pm and we headed to Downtown Seattle. Along the way, I saw a Chevrolet auto dealership closed. No cars in the showroom and the dealer lot. Another sign of the recession.

Steve took Northbound 99, a direct route to Seattle Center. I noticed the ports reminded me of Portland, OR when my family visited Oregon in 2005. I saw Safeco Field where the baseball team Seattle Mariners play and Qwest Field where the football team Seattle Seahawks play. We arrived in Downtown Seattle. Minutes away from the parking garage I saw a 24 hour QFC supermarket at North 5th Ave. and Mercer St. We parked in the same parking garage yesterday and the price was $1.00 cheaper. Steve was happy. We parked at the same area yesterday. The time was 1:59pm.

We purchased tickets for the Science Fiction and Rock 'n Roll museums at 2:10pm. The official names were The Science Fiction and Hall of Fame for the Science Fiction and the Experience Music Project (EMP) for the Rock 'n Roll museum. We had plenty of time with just less than three hours. No cameras allowed. I have a guide which helped me share what Steve and I did. I used my long-term memory, too *hee, hee* I explained in bullet headline format ^__^

Rock 'n Roll Museum

*The first exhibit we saw was a display titled "Roots and Branches." The display was a 35-ft cyclone shaped consisted of 600 guitars.

*We entered the Sound and Vision room where anyone could get quick lessons and experience singing, playing the keyboard, playing the drums, and playing the guitars. There were soundproof rooms to experience actually recording a song. There were a group of children running around from some sort of club or organization. I tried the drums. Drums were my favorite instrument in Rock Band. And singing, too.

*Next, we visited the guitar gallery which included guitars from famous musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. The gallery displayed the history and evolution of guitars and bass.

*Jimi Hendrix exhibit was our next visit. Born in Seattle, the exhibit centered on the life, his successes, and his contributions to music. The exhibit included handwritten notes, music timeline, and pictures of his childhood.

*We walked through the American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print. The exhibit displayed entertainment posters produced by Hatch Show Print from Nashville, Tennessee. There were clothing outfits worn by famous musicians. I think one outfit was from Johnny Cash.

*The last exhibit was the Northwest Passage. People could learn the famous artists from the Northwest. Kurt Cobain, Quincy Jones, Heart, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and The Kingsmen were included.

Science Fiction Museum

*The first exhibits after crossing a pathway between the Rock 'n Roll and Science Fiction were a Star Trek exhibit and What If? exhibit. I kept hearing George Takai voice too many times in the first exhibit area. Looking at the guide, Steve and I visited Level 2; however, the exhibit key starts at letter A to letter I.

*Science Fiction die-hards loved the museum. For a guy like me, it's worth walking around. If there was a trivia contest, I failed big time ~~

*In the same first exhibit area, we saw the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, science fiction timeline separated by decades, and a display of Mars. I saw a picture of a cosplayer from Sakura Con'05. The cosplayer was May from Guilty Gear.

*We entered Level 1. The exhibits included weapons, a Death Star from Star Wars, robots, toy robots such as Transformers and Gundam, spacesuits, spaceships, and books. My favorite display was the androids and the tank from the Terminator movies. And we saw Science Fiction characters. Everyone must watch E.T.

*The toy robots display was missing Optimus Prime. Fail. Maybe I should donate my Optimus Prime. Yeah, right `__^

*There was a display where you click on a spaceship and you read the description of the spaceship. The spaceships included the Imperial Starcruiser, X-Wing, The Bebop, and I think the Yamamoto. I recognized a handful of the spaceships.

*We also saw famous science fiction literature and authors and pictures of what cities looked like tomorrow.

*If I wanted a science fiction power, my top choice was a Jedi Master (see with your mind, not with your eyes).

Everyone Must Take A Vacation

The museum closed at 5pm. We walked to the car minutes after closing. We passed by KCTS, the public television station for Seattle. Steve and I talked about public television briefly. I forgot the specifics.

We ate a light dinner at McDonalds in Tukwila. I ordered the 10 piece Chicken McNugget meal and Steve ordered the Big Mac meal. We talked about how the Number 1 Big Mac meal cost $3 a long, long time ago. Times have changed. It's all inflation ;) And we talked about oil prices.

We arrived at SeaTac airport at 6:35pm. Steve dropped me off at Southwest arrivals. We said our goodbyes and I headed to the terminal. After getting my boarding pass and passing through security quickly, I purchased bottle water and sat at my gate for my 7:30pm flight. I watched the Thursday Night Football game on the NFL Network. The teams were the Pittsburg Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. The flight was 33% full. I read the book "The Choice" during the flight. I arrived in San Jose at 9:25pm, ten minutes ahead of schedule. My Dad picked me up and we headed home.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 5 of 6 Wed Nov 19

A Day In Seattle

I woke up at 7:45am. How I woke up early the reason was unknown. I channel surfed the TV and ate my breakfast consisting of English muffins, orange, banana, cashews, and yogurt. I watched War Games that reminded me of the Coleco video game. Steve and I took our time in the morning including checking emails.

Steve needed to mail packages and letters. We departed the house at 10:25am and arrived at the post office at 10:30am. Steve's plan was to take the car to Seattle via the ferry from Southworth to Fauntleroy or West Seattle to avoid the traffic on the freeways. Then we drove to Downtown Seattle where we visit the Rock 'n Roll and Science Fiction museums and REI. We then shop around the Seattle Center. And visit Kerry Park at Queen Anne overlooking downtown.

We arrived at the ferry at 11:00am and the ferry departed at 11:10am on schedule. We saw a car with a California license plate. The license plate reminded me of the license plate conversation from the Washington Canada '05 trip. We agreed California plates were too simple and ugly. California plates have no picture and no words. We played Fluxx in the passenger seating area. The small ferry was cozy and included a snack bar. I won another game with All You Need Is Love.

The ferry docked at Fauntleroy at 11:50am. We drove off and there was a Washington State Trooper directing traffic. Where was his squad car? The homes in Fauntleroy reminded me of the homes in most of Santa Barbara. The signal lights were simple. One turn signal for left turns and two signals for going straight.

Going To The Top

We arrived in downtown at 12:10pm. The first stop was REI where I want to climb the indoor climbing wall. We parked in the parking garage below the REI store. At 12:18pm, we entered the store. My first stop was the sunglasses to replace the Ray Bans I lost at Port Angeles. I purchased a Nativesile sports sunglasses pair for $145. Another blessing in disguise? I mention because I lost an old pair of sunglasses in the 2004 Las Vegas trip and I purchased a much better pair for $125. The Las Vegas sunglasses broke in Oct 2007.

Now it was time to climb the wall. Steve and I walked to the indoor wall climbing at 12:47pm. The fee to climb the wall was $20. The worker said I'm better off buying a REI membership because the membership fee was $20 and included a free wall climb. No brainer here. I purchased the REI membership. Damn, I could have used the 10% divided discount for my sunglasses. Oh, well. I got a free wall climb so it evens out. Not worth arguing because Steve and I had lots to do today. The Seattle REI was the only REI offering a free wall climb for new REI members. Lucky! The pics below are me climbing the wall at 1:02pm after receiving safety instructions.

I arrived at a checkpoint at 1:08pm. I almost quit. See with your mind, not with your eyes. The spot I almost quit, I figured out I needed to grab the whatever it's called step with both my hands and with both arms I pulled myself upwards. The rest of the way was easy. Marcus encouraged me to continue.

My arms and hips were a little sore. The new gym workout paid off. I must continue to improve my workout infinitely ;)

Steve and I finished shopping quickly. I purchased camping dessert and a flash cards set on how to tie knots for campers. Steve purchased a flash card set for boaters to give his Dad. We planned to try the camping dessert tonight at home. I also purchased an Odwalla bar because I was hungry and needed energy after the climb. I had bottle water in the car. After purchasing, I completed an REI feedback for Marcus. We walked out of REI at 1:39pm.

If I’m Into Real Estate

Steve suggested we visit Queen Anne because there was sunlight and the weather was good for pics. I agreed. We headed to Queen Anne. We passed the Seattle Center including the Key Arena where the Seattle Supersonics used to play. The basketball team is in Oklahoma City and play as the Thunder. We saw the tall cell phone tower and I joked the tower was Verizon. Verizon FTW!

We arrived at Queen Anne and Kerry Park at 2:00pm. We took pics. The surrounding neighborhood was nothing like my home area and the Bay Area. The neighborhood looked like the rich neighborhood in the Eastern USA from the pictures I saw in books and magazines and images from TV. Steve said rich people lived in Queen Anne. I saw kids wearing expensive private school uniforms. Pics overlooking Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park below XD

We departed at 2:12pm and headed to the Rock 'n Roll and Science Fiction museums in the Seattle Center. We arrived at a Seattle Center parking garage at 2:16pm. Then we walked to the Seattle Center. We passed the Mario McGaw Hall where Steve watches opera and plays. The hall was preparing for the Winterfest. I saw the big water fountain in the park next the Key Arena. Downtown San Jose could have a better water fountain. At the entrance to the Seattle Center, we saw a Seattle police car. I took pics of the closeup car. The car failed because there were stickers on the car -__-

We ate a late lunch at the Seattle Center Food Court at 2:27pm. Steve ordered Chinese and I ordered Japanese. We got poor values for our meals. I stick with hamburgers next time. The center was also preparing for Winterfest. The workers were building a Christmas winter town with toy trains, people moving, and buildings and homes with lights.

After we finished lunch, we walked to the Rock 'n Roll museum. Admission to the Rock 'n Roll museum included access to the Science Fiction museum. We arrived at the entrance at 3:10pm. The worker said the museum closed at 5pm. Change of plans. We go tomorrow before I fly back home. The rest of the day was shopping.

We walked out of the museum to the car. We saw the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation center under construction on North 5th Ave. We stopped at a used bookstore that was selling bookshelves. If I remember correctly, the bookstore was either moving or consolidating. The store was another example of the recession. I purchased Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverely Cleary. After the bookstore, we walked back to the Seattle Center to use the restrooms. We drove out of the parking garage at 4:16pm.

Great Timing At Half Price Books

The next store was Half Price Books. Along the way, I saw signal lights on wires. I never saw signals on wires in California today. I remembered signals on wires when I was a child. There were no potholes on the streets. There were condos under construction. I thought about myself living a life in a condo in downtown. Steve mentioned an elegant party he attended and drank champagne. There was no music played in the car. Steve turned off the radio during commercials.

We arrived at Half Price Books at 4:25pm. Steve and I agreed timing was always a factor at Half Price Books. Sometimes the deals were there and sometimes the deals were not there. Today, timing was in my favor. I purchased Half Walk In, a New York Times bestseller for $2.00. Costco sold the book for $9.00. The book condition was good. Steve continued to shop and I looked at the bargain CDs. I found Natalie Cole's Unforgettable CD for $1.00. Natalie Cole sang her father Nat King Cole's greatest hits on her way to win Grammies. I just started to get into jazz and I was shopping for bargain jazz CDs. For $1, sure I purchase Natalie Cole.

On the way to Interstate 5, I saw a Play It Again Sports store, a used sports equipment store, in Downtown Seattle. The Play It Again Sports in the Bay Area are out of business as far as I'm concerned. There are no stores here. Highway 5 was commuter traffic at 5:50pm. Steve drove on the carpool lane.

The next Half Price Books was in Tukwila. We arrived at 6:07pm. We also thought about where we eat for dinner. There was a Japanese restaurant in the shopping center Half Price Books was. The prices were a little high and we passed. I purchased a Vertical Horizon CD for $1.

We drove to Tacoma to visit the Tacoma Book Center. At 7:13pm, we arrived at the store near Tacoma Dome that was closed. Steve saw a concert a long time ago. I think it was Paul McCarthy.

The last Half Price Book store was in Tacoma. We arrived at the Tacoma Half Price Books at 7:23pm. Jackpot! The best out of the three. I could have purchased more. I settled for the Gone in 60 Seconds DVD starting Nicholas Cage, Who Moved My Cheese book, and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book. The store promoted Black Friday. The first 100 customers receive a tote bag and a $5 shopping card. One tote bag contains a $100 gift card.

Dinner Time

Steve and I ate at Chevy's at 8:11pm. Steve ordered the Taste of Chevy's combo and I ordered Dos Combos with a chicken taco and a beef taco. We talked about Half Price Books stores and how timing was everyone, the plan for the rest of the night, the plan for my last day, and the economy. Steve was more optimistic than me for the economy in 2009.

We arrived home at 9:36pm. We watched Gone In 60 Seconds. Steve never saw the movie before. Steve went to bed after the movie. I stayed up to finish watching Dr. Strangelove again. I failed. I went to bed. And we forgot to eat the camping dessert.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 4 of 6 Tue Nov 18

The Waffle Maker FTW!!!

Steve and I woke up at 6:00am to prepare for visiting Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I walked to the Comfort Inn continental breakfast area. Steve took a shower and met me later. I was the first one to eat breakfast. The worker was finished setting up the food and drinks. The waffle maker was still there. The '05 trip was the first time I saw a waffle maker. I overflowed the waffle maker with too much batter and I made a mess. I tried my best to clean up after myself ^^ I ate one waffle, a pastry, an apple, and drank orange juice. I ate light to avoid potential stomach problems.

Steve arrived around 6:30am. He grabbed his breakfast and we sat together watching CNN. We remembered in '05 CNN covered Hurricane Katrina. We saw the people in New Orleans evacuated. After breakfast, we went back to the hotel to pack up and bring our belongings to the car. Steve parked the car across from the Comfort Inn. Then we walked to Port Angeles Coho Ferry Terminal to purchase ferry tickets.

We arrived at the terminal at 7:20am. The round trip cost was $25.00. We walked to the pedestrians waiting area to complete the Canada's visitor card. We brought our Passports. The currency exchange window was closed. No worries. Victoria businesses exchange US$ for CAN$ without a fee. Personally, I wanted to exchange the CAN$ to show respect for the country I pay Canadian goods with CAN$. I planned to pay with credit, and CAN$ was used for emergencies. In '05, I had to pay some goods with CAN$ instead of credit. I realized I forgot to bring my CAN$ coins. The coins were at Steve's house.

The ferry departed on time at 8:20am. The snack area was renovated to include a gift shop with books, magnets, and shirts. Steve and I played Fluxx. I had a three game winning streak. Steve had some winning streaks, too.

Welcome to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The ferry arrived on time at 9:50am. The first stop was to be questioned and checked by the Canada Border Services Agency Customs. The agent checked our passports and asked questions. We passed customs and headed out to Downtown Victoria. I applied sunscreen at the corner of the Empress hotel, ferry terminal, and the British Columbia capital building. There was a homeless person asking for money. The homeless problem obviously had not changed.

The light breakfast was really light. I was hungry. We stopped at 7-Eleven at 10:19am. I walked to the snacks and I saw a Hostess old logo.

The first shop we entered was For Kids & Silly Adults. The toy shop looked good and we took a five minute walk through. I was looking for a stuffed dragon ;) Chances were rare I find one.

At 10:37am, we arrived at Chinatown. In '05, when Steve brought the car, Steve drove around Victoria and I saw a red Chinese house. I didn't know the correct name. I wanted to see the house. We walked through Chinatown and we didn't find the house. I didn't know what happened. Chinatown was clean. Really clean!! No trash, no garbage, no smell of urine compared to the Chinatowns in California. The cars stopped for pedestrians. Victoria people were polite. I saw bootlegged goods in Chinatown. No surprise. Steve and I took pictures of the Gates of Harmonious Interest, the entrance to Chinatown.

We walked pass Victoria City Hall and the park next to City Hall was being prepared for Christmas. The tree was being prepared for decorations. I saw The Garden of Eden, an adult shop the next block ahead. And there was a convenience store selling goods with Brian from Family Guy. I saw a parked police car and I took pictures. Yay!

Steve and I choose to eat lunch early. At 11:28am, we entered the Irish Times Pub restaurant. The restaurant was empty with a few tables filled, the full service bar empty, and the bartender cleaning up and chatting with co-workers. The restaurant played Irish music and the décor inside reminded me of an Irish restaurant locally in the San Jose area. There were days a live band played Irish music. Steve ordered the corned beef and I ordered the Fish & Chips. Personal lesson learned: don't order Fish & Chips on vacation or at a time I need energy to walk around. The Fish & Chips didn't give me the energy for today.

Shopping Time . . . Oh, How Fast Men Shop, LOL

The first store after lunch we entered Curious Comics Books & Games at 12:15pm. The store had games, figurines, comics . . . the whole nine yards for anime fans, gamers, SciFi fans, and the like. The store sold bootlegged anime CDs. Shame :< And the store sold The Settlers of Catan games and expansion sets.

The first book store out of many we checked out was Dark Horse Books. The store was closed. Next was Snowden's bookstore that we stayed briefly. The two bookstores were close to each other. We saw the department store The Bay selling 2010 Olympic goods and apparel. We briefly checked out the apparel. We wanted to buy Olympic goods and I suggested we come back later so we didn't carry the stuff. Steve agreed.

We continued book shopping and we entered Books On View at 12:40pm. Steve gave the worker a list of books on his wish list. I browsed around and I saw A View To A Kill DVD for $6.99CAD new. Good price for a James Bond. I purchased it. No luck for Steve's wish list. Steve got a pamphlet of all the bookstores in Victoria. After Books On View, Steve needed to use the restroom. We walked to a McDonalds and a Chapters. (Chapters is the Borders bookstore of Canada.) At 1:15pm, we separated. I walked inside Chapters and checked out the bargain section to wait for Steve.

Steve met up with me at Chapters at 1:30pm. We then walked inside The Bay Centre mall to The Bay department store to purchase our Olympics appeal and souvenirs. Steve and I discussed we get the Olympics stuff now so that we walk in a straight line to all the bookstores and then to the Victoria Coho Ferry Terminal. At The Bay, I purchased a 2010 Vancouver Olympics jacket for $72CAD, regular $120CAD. Here's a secret for those who read the blog: I went to Vancouver in March 2007 for a business trip. Anyone asks me where I purchase the jacket, my answer is I purchased at Vancouver in March 2007. I'm not going to say Victoria November 2008. Shhhh! ;) I wear the jacket in 2010. Steve purchased Olympic pins for gifts.

Time was getting close to the 4:00pm ferry departure time. Time to walk and shop. The next bookstore was Russell Books at 1:52pm. Steve browsed through the fiction area to find any books from his wish list. We stayed briefly. Steve gave me a pamphlet of all the bookstores he found from Russell Books. Shepherd Books was the next bookstore. Shepherd was a small bookstore. We stayed briefly. The next bookstore was blocks away. Steve looked forward to Sorensen Books because the bookstore sold old and rare collection books. Big time potential to buy books from Steve's wish list. We arrived at Sorensen Books at 2:30pm. The bookstore was closed. Steve was disappointed.

The extra time from the closed Sorensen bookstore allowed Steve and I to take our time on the way back to the ferry terminal. I saw a DVD box set containing The Departed (2005), Point Blank, and Bullitt for $20CAD at Chronicles of Crime, a bookstore selling mysteries and crime. I purchased the DVD box set and paid in $US. I forgot the reason why I paid in $US. After Chronicles of Crime, we saw the coin collectables stores we visited in '05. Steve remembered the coins he looked at and he told me his current coin collection.

At 2:40pm, the final shop was Moose Crossing. Steve and I purchased Canadian souvenirs. I purchased Olympics and Victoria magnets. I had to pay $US because my credit cards didn't work. Steve purchased postcards. I took another picture of a Victoria police car. Happy ^_^ And we took pics in front of the Canadian Monte Bear Police.

We still had plenty of time remaining. We took pictures at the Remarkable British Columbians in front of the Royal British Columbia Museum. And we took pictures of the British Columbia Government Legislative Building. The time was 3:02pm after all the pictures were taken.

Going Back To The U-S-of-A

We arrived at the Victoria Coho Ferry Terminal at 3:15pm. Steve and I sat on the benches and took a breathier. I read a few pages of The Choice book. I felt weak. The Fish & Chips was a crappy lunch. At 3:30pm, we went through US Customs. The agent inspected our passports, scanned our passports, and asked questions. After customs, we waited at the Coho loading dock. I saw the cars and trucks entered the ferry below. I made a joke to a family that their son was dancing. I said he's preparing to dance to attract girls. An example of positive sarcasm :D We boarded the Coho at 3:40pm.

I went straight to the snacks. I purchased orange juice, oatmeal, and a bag of cookies. They helped me stay awake throughout the ferry ride. Steve got redemption from the ice tea vending machine by getting two Doritos bags from the vending machine. The ferry departed on time at 4:00pm. Steve and I played Fluxx. I won a Fluxx game with All You Need Is Love.

We played Fluxx most of the way. We stopped playing the last 10-15 minutes of the ride. I was tired and felt weak. We arrived at Port Angeles Coho Terminal Ferry at 5:45pm. We went through US Customs a second time. Nothing big. The agents breezed everyone through quickly asking simple questions. Looked like a formality check to see if there were clues anyone was suspicious. Steve said the agent didn't open his passport.

We walked through Downtown Port Angeles to Steve's car. Downtown was quiet and many shops were closed. We stopped at Wendy's at 6:00pm to eat dinner. I ordered the hamburger combo and I forgot what Steve ordered. I forgot to tell Wendy's to hold the mustard. No worries. I ate light and I could have eaten more.

We listened to Yo Yo Ma and Isaac Stern on the way back to Steve's home. We talked about the movies we watch tonight. We talked about Stanley Kubrick at Taco Time and we choose to watch Dr. Strangelove. And we watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a movie I didn't watch. I asked Steve to stop at a supermarket before going home. I was weak and tired. I needed good food to eat. We arrived at Safeway in Port Orchard at 8:05pm. I purchased cashews, yogurt, wheat muffins, oranges, applies, kiwi, and deli roast beef to last tonight, Wed, and Thur. At the deli counter, the two deli ladies and I talked about classic rock. The store music played Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n Roll." The first lady asked the second lady who sang the song. I said Joan Jett to the first lady. After I paid my groceries, I took a picture of a vending machine showing a cheesy kid being a spy. I couldn't think of a joke. Here's the pic:

Steve's At The Movies

We arrived at Steve's house at 8:35pm. We moved our belongings and the groceries inside the house. I unpacked the groceries and put the perishables inside the refrigerator. Steve received his latest Netflix DVDs. We choose to watch Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, one of three movies Steve received from Netflix at 9:19pm. Then we watch Dr. Strangelove and then Monty Python. Steve waited for me as I prepared my late snack consisting of an orange, an apple, some roast beef, a kiwi, and a muffin.

The Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was so-so. Good action. Steve commented most of the characters died so why there was a back story. Good comment. Steve was tired understandably from the driving and he went to bed. I stayed up to watch Dr. Strangelove at 10:56pm. Unfortunately, I dozed off and went to bed after watching half of the movie.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Friday, January 23, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 3 of 6 Mon Nov 17

It's Not The Size Of The Person's Head, It's The Size of The Person's Heart

I woke up at 9:00am. Today's plan was to visit Hurricane Ridge and check in a motel in Port Angeles for Tuesday's trip to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We tried to visit Hurricane Ridge for the second time. The first time we visited in '05 the weather was foggy.

Steve checked his emails and prepared packages and mail while I ate my leftover dinner for breakfast. I was channel surfing and I watched The Price Is Right. After Steve was done checking email and I finished breakfast, I checked my email. Then both of us packed for the one night stay at Port Angeles. I kept my laptop at Steve's house.

We departed to the post office at 11:30am. Steve mailed the packages and dropped off the mail. We briefly talked to the post office worker about the other post offices on the western side of Washington. The next stop was Walgreens. I asked Steve last night if he had any hydrocortisone 1%. He didn't have any, and I requested we stop by Walgreens today. The Jergins lotion and the cold weather caused my dermatitis to act up.

We arrived at Walgreens at 11:42am. I purchased Aveeno lotion. The Aveeno helped throughout the vacation. Aveeno FTW!!! I also purchased Nilla cakesters and Oreo cakesters. The Nilla was too sweet for me. The Oreo was just right. Yummy snack =)

After Walgreens, we headed to Port Angeles. We saw $1.99 gas at an Arco gas station. We listened to Bob Dylan and Louis Armstrong. I mentioned to Steve I liked a few Bob Dylan songs and we talked about jazz—not today's jazz, but rather classic jazz. And we passed by Toys Topless as usual =__= Must cater to the sailors at the nearby Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

We started to drive on Highway 3 at 12:34pm. There were no potholes and the signal lights were simple. Three lights: two for going straight and one for the left turn. We drove on the Hood Canal bridge at 12:39pm. Then we were on Highway 101, a straight shot to Port Angeles, at 12:57pm.

I needed to use the restroom and we were near a Costco. I asked Steve to drive to Costco. He said OK. Going to the Costco was an opportunity to check out the stainless steel fashion watches I wanted to purchase. We arrived at the Costco building. Costco was gone. Costco moved to another location. No worries. I could still hold it ^__^ We headed back on Highway 101.

Welcome to Port Angeles, Not Los Angeles

The time was 1:40pm. Hella foggy big time!!! Not good. We remembered the fog at the '05 Washington Canada trip. We choose to eat at Jack In The Box, the same place we ate lunch in '05. We entered Jack In The Box at 1:45pm. The interiors were renovated and there was a TV. There were white people working behind the counter >.< I ordered the Western Bacon Cheeseburger combo without the cheese. I forgot what Steve ordered. I got my order and went to fill my cup with Coke. I couldn't believe what I saw. The condiments were out there. All the condiments including ketchup, mustard, and ranch dressing. The Jack In The Box in the Bay Area the customers must ask for the condiments. Steve and I talked about whether we should go to Hurricane Ridge.

The fog remained at 2:15pm when we checked in at Quality Inn, the same motel we checked in at '05. After check-in, Steve got gas. Then we headed to Hurricane Ridge. We choose whether we go to Hurricane Ridge or not as we drove closer to the ridge. If the fog remained, we turn back to the motel.

Another Wild Goose Chase

Steve added new CDs to the CD changer. He added The Who, Pink Flloyd, and Yo Yo Ma. We listened to Yo Yo Ma first. I realized I lost my sunglasses. I dropped them outside the motel because I remembered putting my sunglasses in my jacket pocket. Oh, well. The sunglasses was Costco Ray-Bans and the glasses never fitted my face 8-[ Another blessing in disguise like Las Vegas 2004 where I lost my old pair and I got a much better pair at Cesar's Palace mall?

I took a pic of a sign stating Highway 101 and Highway 112 at 2:53pm. Steve, was this the correct way? I trusted you since I remembered nothing about the roads. Were we supposed to pass by a city to Hurricane Ridge? I thought Hurricane Ridge is in the Port Angeles area? Steve continued our present highway.

Steve had a second thought and choose to pull over and check his iPhone GPS and a map. The map was a State Farm Insurance Washington state map. Huh? Another wild goose chase. No worries. I'm used to it. Better not do this to a girl. Here's a hint: plan ahead. If the plan's not working, dump it and go with the flow. And get the latest and greatest updated maps XD

Steve successfully located the correct roads at 3:30pm. We experienced rain. No fog. Good news so far. Steve chose to continue. I agreed. We arrived at the Park Ranger checkpoint and pay the fee to enter at 3:50pm. There were lots of falling rocks on the road. And no potholes.

Hurricane Ridge And No Fog

We arrived at Hurricane Ridge at 4:10pm. The park rangers were preparing for the snow and the winter skiers. Steve, myself, and one other group were the people at the ridge. The cold temperature was nothing. It was the wind that made the cold worst. The temps were in the low 40s according to Steve's car thermometer. The visitor's center was open except the gift shop. I took lots of pictures and shot a video.

We drove off at 4:30pm. The park closed at sunset. The next activity was Port Townsend. We were listening to Pink Floyd. We saw a deer.

Dude, The Town Was Closed

We arrived at the Port Townsend city limits at 5:48pm and arrived in downtown at 6:00pm. The road condition on the highway was foggy. We listened to The Who. We drove through downtown and everything was closed. There was almost nobody walking around the town. In '05, there were lots of people. Of course '05 was daytime and towards the end of summer. Steve and I did a quick walk. Only a few restaurants were open. We saw residential real estate postings for lease and for sale. Good prices. I didn't want to live here, even if I telecommute.

Before we entered the car, we discussed where to eat dinner. I suggested we eat at Seven Cedar Casino. Steve agreed. Steve and I ate dinner and gambled at Seven Cedar Casino in '05. We drove off Port Townsend and headed to the casino for dinner. The road conditions remained foggy. We arrived at the casino at 7:00pm. In '05, the weather was raining. We entered the casino and sat at a sit-down restaurant. Steve ordered the pot roast and I ordered the Thai peanut chicken. I faced the TV and I watched Monday Night Football. Steve finished his dinner early and went to play the $2 craps. I took my time and watched football. I choose to keep my winnings from Day 1.

Steve and I walked out of the casino at 8:15pm. Steve broke even at craps. The weather was cold and still foggy. We arrived at the motel at 9:00pm. Steve went to the room and I went to the front desk to check if anyone returned my lost sunglasses. Front desk said nobody returned my sunglasses. Oh, well. It was a pair of crappy glasses 8-\

The rest of the night we watched TV. Steve controlled the remote most of the time. We watched parts of Rambo and most of Ever After movies. Steve also watched other shows that I forgot the names while I ironed a shirt I wear tomorrow. I took a shower and brushed my teeth. Steve went to bed early and I stayed awake reading The Choice and Forever. I went to bed around 1:30am.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 2 of 6 Sun Nov 16

Seattle, Here We Come!!!

Steve and I woke up around 9:00am. We quickly checked our emails. At 9:50am, we drove off to McDonalds to get breakfast. We were running a little late to Bremerton. Steve said it's OK to eat breakfast in the car. I ordered the Sausage Egg Biscuit meal #4. I forgot what Steve ordered -__- We stopped at a convenience store with a classic car and neon signs on the building for a few seconds.

Steve planned to park the car in Bremerton and we ride the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. The reason was to avoid driving in downtown. All the activities were walking distance. The cost of the ferry was free from Bremerton to Seattle and $6.70 from Seattle to Bremerton. The bridge toll is $4.00. Do the math. Add the cost of gas and the ferry was cheaper. The travel time was a respectable 60 minutes.

I saw the Toys Topless adult store, LOL, just past the Highway 3 junction. The store must cater to the sailors at the nearby Puget Sound Naval Shipyard ;) We arrived in Downtown Bremerton at 10:25am. The signal lights were simple compared to Downtown San Jose. Just a hanger with two signal lights and a Don't Walk signal. Simple and awesome! I saw two Bremerton police cars drove off City Hall. I guess they began their shift. One of the officers wore a baseball cap with the police logo.

We found parking for $8 at an underground parking garage. Steve stuffed the $8 in a self-serve non-mechanical booth. We walked up the stairs to the Bremerton Marina. There were water fountains I never saw before. The two pictures below shows the unique water fountains or water decoration or whatever water something `__^

After taking pics of the waterfall, I saw Washington State Police cars. I rushed over to take pics. Taking pictures of police cars is one of my hobbies =) We arrived at the Bremerton ferry port at 10:47am. The next ferry was 11:25am. We waited inside and play Fluxx. We played Fluxx throughout the ferry rides. Many people waiting for the ferry wore their Seattle Seahawks jerseys, jackets, caps, and appeal. Home game for the Seahawks.

The ferry departed on time. Puget Sound was foggy big time :O Steve and I found a table to continue playing Fluxx. We moved locations two times because of the sun shinning inside and because the temperatures inside the ferry were inconsistent. Some places were too warm and some places were too cold. Steve and I took a brief break. While walking outside, I saw many people wearing their Seahawks clothing. The fog was still thick. The fog horn sounded a few times and there were fog horn responses in return. Steve and I met up and we found another table to play Fluxx. Steve wanted a drink and went to the vending machine. Steve accidentally pressed the wrong letter-number on the keypad and lost $2.00. Was Steve going to get redemption? Stay tuned.

The ferry arrived at Seattle at 12:40pm. We docked at Pier 52 Colman Dock. Many Seahawks fans were eager to depart and walk to Qwest Field. Seattle remained foggy. I saw more Washington State Police cars as Steve and I walked to South Alaskan Way. I took pics :]

We walked northbound on South Alaskan Way. We saw the Seattle Aquarium next to the Waterfront Park and we discussed the Monterey Aquarium and the Vancouver Aquarium. We wondered what the Vancouver Aquarium looked like after they completed their expansion. In the '05 Washington Canada trip, the Vancouver Aquarium expansion area was under construction. We also talked about the Washington State flag.

Licensed To Kill

The first shop we visited was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop at 12:54pm. Steve purchased a James Bond Licensed To Kill joke license with a pic of Sean Connery. Everytime we talked about James Bond, I reminded Steve the joke from The Simpsons when Millhouse entered the comic shop and the viewers saw an autograph picture of Sean Connery signed by Roger Moore ^__^

We walked to the Pike Place market and quickly walked the lower level shops and market at 1:21pm. We entered the Golden Age Collectables. Steve being a Star Wars fan and my source for Star Wars information posed for a picture with the Star Wars life size standee cutouts. Anyone wanted to buy a Hanna Montana cutout for $30 :p

We passed by a stamps, sports card, and collectables shop. The shop displayed a 1956 Dwight Eisenhower IKE presidential button for $10. We went inside a used book store and walked around briefly. The book store had lots of children's books. The shopkeeper was in a good mood greeting all his customers.

We walked upstairs to the street level Pike Place market at 1:45pm. We saw the main attraction at the world famous Pike Place Fish Market. The timing was good because we saw the workers tossing a fish. I managed to get one pic.

Time For Lunch

Steve mentioned for lunch he wanted to eat at an Irish restaurant. I approved. We walk on 1st Avenue and then South 1st Avenue looking for the restaurant. Steve didn't know the name of the restaurant and the cross street. He recognized the restaurant when he saw it. We arrived at Pioneer Square at 1:56pm. Steve said to continue walking down S. 1st Ave. Pioneer Square and Downtown Seattle were cleaner than San Francisco. We reached the end of Pioneer Square and closer to Qwest Field. Steve said to turn back. I followed since I had no clue what the Irish restaurant was. Steve checked his iPhone for the exact location of the restaurant and he asked someone. The person said we passed the restaurant. If I knew the name, I could have helped located the restaurant XD

At 2:22pm, we found the restaurant. The name of the restaurant was Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant. I hoped the moment was the only wild goose chase XD We were seated in an area with a bar with televisions of the football games. We arrived at the last half of the 2nd quarter of the Seahawks game. Steve ordered the corn beef sandwich and I ordered the turkey sandwich. We talked about eye glasses, how to be a football fan, and downtown being quiet because the Seahawks played a home game.

The main activity for the day was taking The Underground Tour also in Pioneer Square. The tour was the history of Seattle. We went to the ticket booth and the next tour was 4pm. We missed the 3pm. We walked from the ticket booth to Elliott Bay Book Company, a five minute walk. At 3:15pm, we entered the book store. I always checked the bargains first. There was nothing worth buying. Next, I checked the used books. Nothing much either. I walked around the bookstore and saw the young adult section. I remembered the book "Forever" by Judy Blum. There was a copy for $9. I purchased it. All teens must read "Forever." The book was written in 1975, yet the theme is still valid in today's teenagers' way of living.

The Underground Tour

We purchased tickets for the 4pm tour at 3:45pm. The crowd was pretty big for the 4pm tour. The tour lasted 1.5 hours including the 20 minute introduction from one of the tour guides. How was Seattle found? The short answers were greed, crappers (i.e., toilets), and seamstresses ~~ All cities founded in at least the western USA were from prostitution. Pictures from the Underground Tour:

The tour ended at 5:46pm at the gift shop of course. I purchased a refrigerator magnet of Downtown Seattle including Mt. Rainier and the Space Needle in the daytime. I also purchased a brothel coin. The coin could come in handy for foreplay and roleplay ;)))

Steve looked at the ferry schedule and we could take the 6:45pm ferry. We had time to spare and we went inside the Magic Mouse Toys shop. The shop had a variety of toys, games, stuffed animals, and puzzles. A good jack-of-all-trades toy shop. The shop sold The Settlers of Catan series. I highly recommend The Settlers of Catan for all ages including families. Easy to play. Unlimited fun factor. Good lesson to learn trade, negotiations, backstabbing, and screwing each other (in game of course).

We arrived at Colman Dock Pier 52 at 6:13pm to purchase ferry tickets to Bremerton. We sat down and relaxed. I talked to a couple about the Seahawks. I mentioned I'm from Northern California and we talked about the 49ers winning the overtime game against the Seahawks. We agreed the 49ers should have lost the game. We discussed the Seahawks injuries to key players and the team played no defense. Steve was checking email on his iPhone.

The ferry departed on time at 6:45pm heading back to Bremerton. Steve and I played Fluxx. I see many Seahawks fans sad or angry the team lost yet the fans were cheerful to be with each other. During our Fluxx games, we talked about the dinner plans. Steve was open. He wanted to take me to his favorite Chinese restaurant overlooking the Port Orchard waters. I approved; unfortunately, we couldn't eat Chinese because it's dark. I suggested Steve we eat breakfast. He agreed. Breakfast could be eaten anytime of the day. The later the day, the more appealing breakfast was. So true, everyone XD We could eat Chinese another day.

Better Than A Denny's

We arrived at Steve's car around 7:10pm. Steve played the theme to the James Bond movie "Licensed To Kill" and he showed his Licensed To Kill joke license card to me, LOL We listened to the James Bond soundtrack on the way back to Port Orchard. We saw the moon an orange-red color along Highway 16 along Sinclair Inlet. The James Bond soundtrack was playing "Moonraker" the same time we saw the orange-red color moon. We talked about similarities between the '05 and '08 Washington Canada trip. The first similarity was the warm weather. In '05, California experienced temperatures in the 100s in late August. In '08, California temperatures were in the 80s in middle of November. The second similarity was natural disasters. In '05, there was Hurricane Katrina. In '08, there was the Southern California wild fires.

We ate dinner at Family Pancake House at 8:10pm. The restaurant was empty. It was just us and two or three other tables with people. Steve ordered the prime rib and I ordered the eggs, sausage, and hash browns. The portions were huge we took the leftovers home.

The interest of playing more Betrayal At The House On The Hill was in our thoughts. We arrived back at Steve's place at 9:30pm and played Betrayal up to midnight. Steve turned on the TV and we listened to Tom Petty on PBS while playing Betrayal. Steve went to bed at midnight and I stayed up backing up my photos on my laptop and watched a movie starring Sidney Poitier, Tom Beringer, and Kirstie Alley. I never got the title of the movie. I turned off the TV and then I showered and brushed my teeth. I choose to read a few pages of "The Choice" and "Forever" books. I slept just before 2am.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Day 1 of 6 Sat Nov 15

Let's Get Out Of Here XD

My Dad took me to the San Jose Airport. I arrived at 8:00am to check in my baggage at Southwest, got my boarding pass, and passed through security. My boarding pass number was in the upper 40s. The flight was about 33% full. The flight departed on time 8:30am.

I read "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks during the flight. The book was my first fiction in a long, long time. The fiction was a change from the business, leadership, technology, and self-improvement books.

A baby dropped his baby bottle on the floor. I moved in for the action to pick up the bottle and return to the father. Nice =) The same baby poo-pooed several times. Stinky **; The snack was a Honey Maid Soft Baked Apple Bar with raisins. I ate the bar. I hate raisins. After eating the bar, I try raisins again separately. I don't think I enjoy raisins with bread and muffins :P

Welcome to Washington

The plane arrived early before 10:30am. I walked to the baggage claim and I saw a headline in a newspaper stand stating the auto industries needed money. I got my baggage and saw Steve driving up to the arrivals. I surprised him by walking to his car with my luggage while we were talking on our cell phones.

We drove on Southbound I-5 freeway at 10:45am. There were no pot holes on the freeway. The air was crisp and cold. My favorite weather conditions. We talked about car registrations. I paid $183 for my car registration. Steve complained at first for his $85 registration, then he said, "Oh, never mind." Steve said residents must purchase a new license plate with new numbers and letters every seven years.

I saw the new bridge under The Narrows on Highway 16. The bridge was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Governor Schwarzenegger, California fails :< Each bridge span was four lanes in each direction including one carpool lane. The toll was $4 for drivers southbound. We were northbound.

We ate lunch at Taco Time in Port Orchard at 11:34am. Taco Time was the same fast food restaurant we ate first in the '05 vacation at Gig Harbor. I entered the restaurant and my first thought was, "I see white people working." ~~ Steve ordered the vegetarian burrito and I ordered the original. Tater tots came with our burritos. We talked about classic rock music including 98.5 KFOX the best classic rock station, classic movies, Stanley Kubrick movies, and foreign vs. domestic cars.

The next stop was Walgreens at 12:14pm. I purchased deodorant, shampoo, and water. I told Steve any drug store or supermarket except Rite-Aid -__- The Walgreens store front was being renovated.

We arrived at Steve's house at 12:36pm. The plan for today was gamble at an Indian casino. In Washington, all casino games are available to play; in contrast, California the games are slots and card games. I brought my baggage, backpack, and laptop inside the house. Steve gave me a tour of the cozy and clean house. Here is a pic of me on Steve's backyard deck overlooking Downtown Seattle overcast. No more polo shirts `__^

Number 10

We drove off to the Indian casino in Poulsbo. The name of the casino was Suquamish Clearwater Casino. Steve wanted me to visit a different casino. We went to a few others in '05. We stopped at a small Japanese store which was a Japanese house at 12:52pm. The store was closed. We then drove through downtown Port Orchard. The only change was the outside paint color of the buildings. I saw a gas station selling gas at $2.15 $-) Cheaper than California. We saw a Dodge Charger with the license plate "Beagle" on Northbound Highway 3.

We arrived in Downtown Poulsbo at 1:30pm. Anyone want a triplex? Live in Poulsbo. The real estate company marketing the triplexes was Penny's Team Real Estate. The owner must have been inspired to start the real estate business with a penny in the pocket, LOL! We drove around downtown. The downtown theme was Vikings. Most of the shops were bakery and gift shops. I saw the local firefighters selling the 2009 firefighter calendar fund raiser O__O

We reached the end of downtown and we turned around at a neighborhood looking like the neighborhood from Indiana Jones IV. It was the scene where Dr. Jones walked into a neighborhood to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb test. I like Ike :> The last stop before the casino we visited Seattle's grave at 1:51pm. Seattle was chief of the Suguampsh and Allied tribes. The white people named the city Seattle after the chief's name.

At 2:00pm, we arrived at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino. Steve and I stayed in the casino for 2.5 hours. We played $3 craps. The table started cold and I was about to give up and play the slots. Then the table warmed up big time and continued hot for a long time. My strategy was to play the $3 minimums for the Pass and Come bets and play $5 for place bets and double for the odds bets. I started with $40. I ended with $191. I almost won five times what I started $-)) There were lots of 10s rolled. (For Bleach and Toushiro Hitsugaya fans, I call the 10 roll the "Hitsugaya Roll" `__^) I tipped the stickman and the two dealers $15.

Steve and I choose to eat pizza for dinner. We ordered Papa Murphy's pizza at 5:20pm. The store was busy. After the order, we walked to Albertsons to purchase soda. I purchased Coke and Steve purchased Diet Coke. There was no recycle fee in Washington compared to California charging $.10 recycling fee. We put the sodas in the car and walked back to Papa Murphy's. While waiting, there was a customer in a great mood. He must have watched his favorite college football team win. The customer wanted everyone to cheer with him and clap. Some of us did including me. The customer had a 12 pack of beer. Imagine what if he drank one can before getting his pizza ^^

The pizza was ready and we picked it up. The worker who made the pizza had the same first name as me. He said Raymond was a good name and he started to have a good time now. He must be gay O__O

Pizza Time

We arrived at Steve's house at 6:00pm. The nighttime activities were watching Simpsons, watching movies, and playing Betrayal at The House On The Hill board game. We watched the Simpsons Halloween special and another Simpsons episode while the pizza was baking. Steve TiVoed The Simpsons. The opening scene in the Halloween special was Grandpa holding a sign stating, "I Still Like Ike." LOL!

The pizza was ready and we took our slices. The first movie we watched was "Easy Rider" starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson who I believed won Best Supporting Actor. The next movie was "Defending Your Life" starring Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep was gorgeous ^O^

The nightcap activity was playing the board game Betrayal At The House On The Hill, one of my favorite games. Each of us played two characters because the game was a 3-6 player game. Steve wanted to end early because we needed to wake up early tomorrow. I said let's play up to midnight. The first game started at 10:15pm. We played two characters. When one of our characters becomes the traitor, the player gave the second character to the other player. We completed two games before midnight. Steve brushed his teeth and went to bed. I settled down, showered, brushed my teeth, and went to bed.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Washington Canada 2008: Prologue

Timing is everything. The timing was perfect for my vacation. Steve and I planned the dates at the time I was lost—I forgot who I am. Visiting Washington and Canada was the perfect opportunity to take time away from work, take time away from my daily life, take time away from home, and take time away from being the lost Raymond Mar.

Sat Nov 15 to Thur Nov 20 were appropriate dates because the 15th was the third week in Nov I should finish my department quarterly report at Cisco. Seattle weather was cold and crisp and the opportunity to touch Seattle rain. I like cold days and rainy days ^__^

Most of the activities planned for Washington Canada '08 were the same for Washington Canada '05. We planned to shop at book stores, visit Downtown Seattle, visit Canada, visit Hurricane Ridge, walk around, watch movies, gamble, and play board games. We had fun indoors and we had fun outdoors =)

What I did new for '08 trip: First, I brought my Dell laptop to check my email, backup the photos, and watch anime during down time or breaks. I didn't watch any anime because we had so much fun. Second, I brought "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks and "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy books to read when waiting for my flights and while flying. I didn't bring my laptop and books in '05. Last, I wore new shirts, shoes, and a new jacket for the first time. The new clothing symbolized me growing up.

Thank you Steve for providing the transportation, lodging, and room and board at your house :))

I used pics, receipts for purchases, and brochures to assist in the blog. I introduce a new feature--pics. Most of the pics include a caption. A sample is below ^^ A new blog entry is uploaded once a day. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Gut Feeling On The Economy

I’m catching up from the holidays and from helping family and friends so the blog entry is late ^__^ I don’t share my thoughts and opinions on the economy online because I’m always wrong :P Today, I break my rule and share my gut feeling on the economy.

The San Jose Mercury News Business section reported the major indexes were down in 2008 on Jan 1, 2009. Dow -34%, NASDAQ -41%, and S&P 500 -39%. Silicon Valley stocks Google -56%, Intel -46%, HP -28%, and Cisco -40%. 2008 was the worse year for the Dow since 1931. I know the Mercury News does a poor job covering business, but the facts are true ;)

I remember Mar 16, 2008 when JPMorgan Chase purchased Bear Stearns. The next day I read online articles on the purchase at work. I said to myself, “We are really in a recession now.” In Jan 2008, I watched a 60 Minutes segment on the real estate foreclosures in Stockton, CA. I said to myself, “Uh, oh, it’s the beginning of the recession.”

The recession officially started in Dec 2007. I knew the recession was going to happen in Mar 2006 when the real estate market was too high, and there was no reason to explain the inflated home prices. If someone asked me why the prices were too high, my answer was “there is no good reason why.” The prices kept going up and up and up. It just didn’t make sense to me. If someone asked me if it was a good time to buy a house between 2006-2007, my answer was “wait.”

The optimistic people say the recovery begins in late 2009. The pessimistic people say the recovery begins in 2010 the earliest. I believe the recovery begins in late 2010 at the earliest. More companies laying off, and I anticipate many companies announce more than one round of layoffs. Home prices continue to drop. Spending decreases for goods and services. Governments are cutting back and laying off. The cutbacks and lower revenues are just getting started.

It’s going to take time to recover. The current recession is nothing like the 1990 and 2002 recessions. They were brief and weak. The government can do little to jump start the economy. The current recession is global. The US stimulus packages are just a drop in the bucket to revive the economy. I predict President-elect Barack Obama raises taxes in 2010. He must because the government desperately needs money. He’s not going to raise taxes in 2009 for political reasons.

Remembering 2008:

*President Bush authorized tax rebate checks.
*July 11: Crude oil all time high $147.27 a barrel.
*Sept 7: Government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
*Sept 14: Lehman Brothers bankrupt. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch.
*Sept 16: Government took over American International Group (AIG).
*Sept 25: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sells Washington Mutual to JPMorgan Chase.
*Oct 12: Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia.
*Nov 23: Citigroup received extra $20 billion from the government.
*Dec 11: Senate opposed $14 billion loan to Detroit automakers.
*Dec 29: Dow closed at 8,776

Source: Mercury News

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Google Scrabble

On Friday Night, Chun, Tsubasa, mDuo13, Appu, and I played Google Scrabble. The rule is simple or KISS. Any word that appears on a Google search with 1,000 or more results is valid, LOL Score the word and play the game with Scrabble rules FTW. Shall I recognize the innovation of Scrabble by playing with the Google rule or shall I fear the next generation talking l33t speak and ignoring the English dictionary? Recognize the innovation, IMO.

Game 1 and Game 2 pickies ;)

"Google Scrabble is broken." --mDuo13

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar