Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goodbye Year 2005

After some rest on the comforts of my hotel bed I get up to change into some nicer clothes. The three of us head out again into the city to look for a hotspot of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Though we find a bar early on, it was not as happening as I had hoped. Other bars were charging a steep cover fee so we just avoided them. Not finding anything that was particularly appealing we try the path to the Commons again. Just up a block was the Beantown Pub where there was no line and no cover charge. Despite what you may think the place was packed. We find a nifty recession in the back where party goers were playing pool and we sit down to some drinks.

My third surprise of the day had to have been my noticing of Brian from TV’s Average Joe: Hawaii. Brian, a semi-celebrity of the reality TV show, was the runner up for winning the heart of the girl and I now remember how he is from Boston. I started talking to a few girls at the bar and sent them his way to confirm my suspicions. I talk to him a bit later and I joked around about his appearance on the show.

Up until this time there were only three of us. Then Melissa’s friend Fahmi comes by after work and then there were four. Dustin and I continue to drink into the fleeting moments of 2005. When the seconds counted down I welcomed 2006 with kisses and celebratory congrats to all for a New Year had come.

After all of this, my memory gets a little hazy. I remember walking around again until coming upon Pete’s Pub for another round of drinks. Then just nearby was a convenience store with a small sit down counter where people had lined up to get late night food. I started talking to a couple whom had suggested that I have not lived until I tried the steak bomb. Of course they were quite right and I ended up with the best Philly steak sandwich this side of Philadelphia. I remember welcoming the New Year with an order of chicken wings for the train ride back but I made a point to share them with others on the way. The night had come to an end and with it another year.

Goodbye 2005.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

New Year's Eve 2005

The Last Day of the Year

Much to my surprise, yesterday's binge left no lasting hangover. That would have been an unpleasant way to spend the last day of the year. For this morning, I had a plan to visit Boston's Chinatown and perhaps take in breakfast. We did just that by locating the Emperor’s Garden restaurant where they were serving Chinese dim sum. The early morning meal was perfect and it gave us time to plan out the day.

Leaving the restaurant we circled the area and found a unique martial arts shop that dealt in all sorts of weapons. Interesting nonetheless but I could not have brought any of it home. Then finally, I get a call from Melissa about meeting up. Since it would take her quite some time to take the commuter rail into the city, we forged on to our next site, the Boston Museum of Science. There, I decided that it may not be worth our while to actually tour the museum but instead elected to get tickets for the Charles Hayden Planetarium. On the venue for this morning was a special showing of Far, Far Away: The Worlds of Star Wars—a presentation that looked at the possibly of those exotic planets actually existing in our own galaxy. Once the show got out I was surprised again when Melissa met us at the exit of the theater. Short greetings subsided and we caught each other up on our ongoing lives.

Hopping on the next train Melissa takes us to Newberry Street—Boston’s version of Rodeo Drive. In one of our first store visits, we stop in at a Brooks Brothers where she suggests a supplementary sailor suit to complete my attire. I say no. Continuing on we check out the shops at Prudential Center and then make our way back toward the Commons where we walked leisurely through the park and up into the Beacon Hill area.

With the day getting late and evening upon us, the three of us find an early dinner at the Salty Dog. Finally I get a chance to experience the east coast seafood variety. Though my choice of the bluefin was out for the day, my second choice of fried calamari was very delicious. Once our stomachs settled we decide to do some last bit of sightseeing. Melissa led the way to Little Italy. By now the sun had gone down completely and a light snow had started coming down. The falling flakes that caught the light of the low street lamps had cast an almost mystical aura on this special day. Afterall, it’s New Year’s Eve.

There wasn’t much to see in Little Italy so we made our way back toward the city center. In the corner of my eye, I notice Pete’s Pub and knew right away we had to drop in. The locals were very nice and welcomed our stay in Boston. After a drink we decide to head back to the hotel to rest up before tonight’s celebration.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Fei and Melissa New Year's

Friday, December 30, 2005

Last Minute New Year's Plan

Somebody once told me that life happens when you don't plan. Either this is a terrible joke or quite the contrary. Fortunatly for me, it was the latter. It could not have been truer in the moment I put my order in for airfare to Boston. Just two days until New Year and my plan is to have no plan. I found a great price for tickets and an incredible rate for the four-star Boston Hilton at Logan International and then everything else kinda just fell into place.

Now I have not been out to Boston before for New Year's but this was just a good a time as any. Besides, Melissa and Aquene lived out that way and it's about time I paid them a visit.

Upon arriving at the airport, Dustin and I checked into the hotel and then headed straight out into the city. The first task was to figure out the subway and then stop for lunch. Boston's pride lay in their transportation system of subway trains, street cars and buses that pre-dates the system in New York. I found it a breeze to ride and the frequency of it all deserves an honorable mention.

At the Government Center station we stepped out into the historic city where this country has its roots. It's the very same city that rebelled against steep taxes by dumping tea into the harbor and let's not forget Paul Revere's famous ride for independence into the history that is America. A short walk from the stop was Quincy Market, an area now known for a quick bite and a variety of shopping destinations. We decided on lunch at Ames Plow Tavern. Just down a few steps underneath the shopping center above was the local drinking hole which had an atmosphere much like Cheers bar, where possibly everyone knew our names.

While a sandwich and chips did the trick, a glass of the Samuel Adams winter brew was quintessential Boston. Today is Dustin's birthday so I made sure we get a drink here and there. After lunch, we made our way toward Boston Commons, taking in a drink at each bar along the way. I even partook in a small order of sushi in the park. The holocaust memorial was an interesting site located just a hop away from the bar that was granted Boston's first liquor license, the Bell in Hand. Just next door was the Union Oyster House and the Green Dragon where we ended our bar hopping. Also nearby was an open air market where I made Dustin try some east coast oysters though admittedly, it did not make his taste. I, on the other hand, was already fond of them.

As you might imagine all that alcohol combined with little sleep sent us in for an early night. We did get up later of course, compelled by our own hungers, but alas found that Boston was mostly closed for the long night ahead.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Faneuil Hall Boston

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Dad's Day for Family

Tonight was the meeting for Hoofer's Winter Snow Kiting Kickoff. It seems that everyone that might be involved had shown up to see the videos of the experienced players. There were also vendors showing off as well as selling their wares. One thing is for sure is that these kites are expensive. After just buying a new snowboard, I think I'll hold off on the purchase and use Hoofer's kites this season.

With so many things going in the last week, my family was not able to get together for my dad's birthday. We made it up tonight by taking my dad out to Applebee's for a small family dinner. My impression is that dad doesn't necessarily need any reminder of his age and it's more like finding the time for family in his case. Diana is going off to college next year and I'll be off doing my own things. It's really these moments that he cherishes.

Anyways, Happy Birthday Dad!

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New Beginnings

As usual, I take my Sundays as the fresh start of a new week. This week, however, marked a number of new beginnings. First of all, I am more than excited to announce that our bid on the Drake Street house was accepted. Come the beginning of the new year, David and I will be co-owners of our very first home on campus.


This morning we had a professional building inspector run through the entirety of the house looking for structural defects and possible building code violations. I am happy to report that everything seems sound with the exception of the fireplace needing upkeep. Otherwise, the next step calls for some TLC and maintenance that is required to bring charm to the place.

My dad came along for the inspection and was impressed by what we've done so far. Later Stephanie dropped by for her own look and she seems equally enthusiastic with the prospect.

With the inspection over by midday, David and I drove by Julie's so that he would show me her new puppy. Her name is Lucy and she's a 7 week old golden retriever--adorable doesn't even come close to describing the pup. I had the chance to play around with Lucy and even take her outside to conduct her business. For a puppy she was so well behaved and just adorably tiny and I know she'll never be this size again.

David, Julie and new Puppy Lucy

After putting the puppy to sleep, it was time for me to get to my next appointment. Today was an important meeting of my new business venture, Tech Buddies (name pending). All of us who have signed on for the project met at the Red Oak Grill at Union South for a little lunch and business talks. I provided the guys with some brain food, Ian's Pizza, and the ideas just flowed. Everyone involved was so excited to start something new. It is a challenge for each and everyone and unlike some other jobs, we can only get as much as we put in. Opening day for Tech Buddies is slated for the beginning of the next school term.


With all these things going on I can't help but be a bit scared. The near future holds quite the gamble and the toss of the die is the difference between failure and success. But I am grounded again by all that is around me. Whether it's a new puppy starting out in the world or contributing with a friend and brother to a sizable investment, or even beginning a new venture with colleagues that I trust with every ounce of my fiber--I find comfort in it all. These next steps into the's daunting yes, but I take them confidently, knowing well who I've got behind me.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Fei holding Lucy

Overkill by Colin Hay

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Crossing Fingers

Today, David and I officially put in our offer for a house on Drake Street. Though our chances that it'll go through are high, one never knows.

Crossing fingers...

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Outside Drake Street House

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Winter Naginata Seminar

Another week has gone by and it's nearly semester's end. Last night was the first session of the Winter Naginata Seminar hosted by the UW Kendo Club. Returning again from the west coast was Lead Guest Instructor Sensei Helen Nakano accompanied by Sensei Jean Yien. Although all of us were beginner's in this graceful martial art, because a few new comers have joined in, we started from the beginner-most basics.

Naginata and its modern form was traditionally a women's form of fighting but have become more popular in today's training. I found it quite beautiful but much harder to wield than the Kendo weapon--not particularly unyielding in any case but more intricate in practice.

After finishing the first session, we invited our guests to dinner at the Wasabi Japanese Restaurant on State Street before I had to run into work for the overnight shift. Working and nearly sleeping at DoIT wasn't much of a hindrance for me but the few people who called in during the middle of the night was a bit annoying.

In the morning I left work with Alex and stopped by the Hoofer Snowboard and Ski Sale. I picked up a new Rossignol District 156 snowboard and a pair of boots at a great price. As we waited in the ever backed up lines to the register, I noticed a problem they were having with the printer for receipts. Jim Rogers was out there busy unplugging and plugging things back in so I stepped up to the table to help him out. After restarting the print queues and other troubleshooting steps, we checked the ethernet cable running to the network printer--the connection was loose to the switch so I plugged it into another port. Just as quick as the print jobs spit out of the printer, the long line of people began to move again.

After dropping Alex back off at work, I went back to the Natatorium for the second Naginata session. In this session and the next, Sensei starting to teach us the more complex kata as well as uchi-kaeshi or warm-up practice. Unlike kirikaeshi in Kendo, which means striking practice, uchi-kaeshi was explained to me by Sensei Nakano as "to return home." I took that information as practice to ground one's self back to the basic of movement.

We took a break for a light lunch at New Seoul, a Korean restaurant, before returning for a third session. Near the end of practice, Kiyota Sensei stopped by to check in on our progress. Everyone of us cleaned up our striking and appearance in his presence and we finished strong. That is the affect he can have on you--he makes you strive harder to define what you have on the inside.

With all three sessions done for the year, we invited our guests to one last dinner with Kiyota Sensei at the Imperial Garden in Middleton. There was no holding back for any of us for appetites were duly earned. Conversation was light and cheery and we thanked our guests for coming and teaching us the art of Naginata.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Winter Naginata Seminar