Saturday, December 31, 2016

Overview of 2016

Vancouver at night

The beginning of this year started out good. I had fun at karaoke and going to the snow with friends. I was able to visit one of my favorite places in California after doing some money saving. I was able to visit my relatives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I was also able to visit San Francisco a few times early on this year. I discovered a place in Sacramento that reminded me of Hearst Castle.

Escape room in Vancouver

The roughest part of the year was the middle of this year. My car got towed twice. My car got keyed badly, which I would have to say is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. Not to mention, someone felt obliged to put a gum on the keyed part of my car later on that week to show his/her respect to me. That wasn't all as I ran into some more car issues afterwards. After all that, I found myself alone, locked in a parking garage after operating hours wondering how I was going to get out.  I didn't have to wait to long until I was able to get out, but it didn't worry me because it wasn't the worst issue I had this year.  While I was driving back home after the unfortunate garage event, I started laughing at what had happened. Due to the occurrence of those events, I believe that I didn't deserve much and found myself working more to cover costs and because of my schedule. I found myself being more selfish about how I spent my time. I didn't want to drive anywhere far or do a lot of things. I had to delay all the things I love to do because I couldn't afford it,  had the time for it, or simply didn't want to do it. I often had to chose work over everything else.

Sacramento bridge

During those rough times, I found friends, strengthened connections, and great memories. I'm still able to see my childhood friends just about every month. I found myself connecting more with museum volunteers and staff. I noticed that I've not been forgotten. I've noticed that people wanted to include me even though I can't make it to everything. I found that me and my dog have gotten closer. I love that although me and my dog don't talk to each other we still like being around each other. Also, I found myself still making time to do things I enjoy. I went to Apple Hill for the first time and had the best apple cider and best apple donuts. I celebrated my birthday with my family and it was just an amazing time. I went on a horse carriage ride, ice skating, had boiling crab, and then cake. I was still able to volunteer over 60 hours of service this year and was able to see George Takei and Harrison Ford in person. Not to forget, but Maria Shriver and Jerry Brown both said hi to me :). I found precious moments like my time at Avila Lighthouse.

Apple hill products

There's so much I always wanted to learn and do and I think I'm going to focus on learning. I want to learn how to apply more makeup on myself. A random thing I really want to learn is how to tie different kinds of pretty bows and do different hairstyles. Among one of the things I always wanted to learn was Adobe Photoshop and Indesign. Through my courses, I was finally able to learn both, but not at a expert level as it's something I have to continually work on. I'm so glad I was able to learn them because both of them are extremely useful and I'm planning to learn more of it. After working on several projects, I thought to myself I needed to take more pictures even if I don't still own a DSLR yet. That's something I want to do more of because I've already thought out of some fun projects.

Avila Lighthouse

Places I've been this year:
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Leland Stanford Mansion
Apple Hill
San Francisco, CA
Cameron Park
San Luis Obispo, CA
Morro Bay, CA
Avila Beach, CA
San Jose, CA
San Simeon, CA
Auburn, CA

Movies Watched:
Suicide Squad
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Kung Fu Panda 3

Words that are emphasized:
Bad habits die hard

I think one of the things I've learned this year is that no matter how many times I've tried, worked hard, or improve it doesn't guarantee anything. I've learned that I can't escape from situations and sometimes I just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Things will get tough and hard, but it's something I'll have to deal with.

I'm not going to ask much of other people because that's a burden I don't want to put on anyone. Instead, next year I'm going to focus more on myself and self improvement because that's something I can control and make better. Everything else, I'm going to say no expectations.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Apple Hill Trip

I finally got around to going to Apple Hill. I been wanting to go there for years. I've heard people talk about it, but was not always sure what it was about. The only thing I knew about it when I first heard of it was that people can pick their own apples from trees. As the years passed, I kept hearing more about it. It wasn't until this year that I finally decided to go and actually did it. The reason why I finally went this year was because I kept seeing posts on Facebook about Apple Hill. It made me feel quite excited for it and I had never been there before.

I didn't do too much research about Apple Hill before I went. But, I'm so glad that I printed out a map to help me navigate my way around the area and to help me decide where to go next. When I looked at the map I was surprised to learn that there are Christmas tree farms in Apple Hill. It's not like a fair where you can walk around to different booths or stations. You really can't make it to most of the destinations on the map unless you have a car or you don't mind running/speed walking through narrow roads with cars passing by. But even then, it would be hard holding a pumpkin and running and/or speed walking.

My first stop was Rainbow Orchards. I decided to go there because I read online that they have the best Apple Cider donuts because they come right out of the fryer. When I was there I was surprised to learn that the donuts were $1 or $12 dozen. The donuts were really delicious. Those are the donuts I like to think of when people say apple donuts instead of those with apple slices in them. While I was at Rainbow Orchards, I also sampled there apple cider. I've got to say that it was one of the best apple ciders that I've ever had. I really do regret not buying it from there, so I can taste more of it. Another thing I regret not getting is the pumpkins. Their pumpkins were beautiful and they had so many to choose from. I've seen pumpkins at grocery stores and they look kind of destroyed or old.

The next stop I made was Larsen Apple Barn since it was very close to Rainbow Orchards. When I was there, I first checked out the apple barn. It was had so many apples that were already in a box ready to be purchased. All of the apples looked very fresh and nice. There's also sampling of apples in the barn. Larsen Apple Barn also had a bakery/restaurant in a separate building. Me and my friend grabbed some bakery items to try. Afterwards, we checked out the little museum they had there. Despite the fact that there was a lot of old items there, I found myself taking pictures of them and thinking that I can use the pictures for a project one day.

It might sound silly, but I like looking at old vehicles as much as I do old houses. I especially love looking at haunted houses or abandoned buildings. That's probably why I decided to do a project that was abandoned theme for one of my courses.

Our next stop was Boa Vista. Boa Vista was one of the places that I noticed posts from on Facebook. It had a pretty nice pumpkin patch and nice store in the barn. Too bad the restaurants there weren't open that day. I think those restaurants might open up during the weekends or when it's a busier time.

After Boa Vista, we headed to the fudge shop. I looked around to see all the goodies there, but only left with 2 items. I believe I got a tiger peanut cup and a white chocolate cup. It was good, but didn't taste too impressive.

My last stop was to actually take pictures where my car passed while on the way to certain farms. I just couldn't miss the opportunity to take a picture of a place I thought was beautiful. I also found the Love Shack bar around that same area.

For those people who love doing wine tours, I highly suggest Apple Hill. You can even purchase apple wine here, as well as other goodies. Apple hill is also great for families or friends. I just love the fresh fruit, foods, and cider there. I'll come back someday. Next time I want to try the apple pie and apple picking.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Experience with League of Legends

I've heard of the game League of Legends before, but it never crossed my mind that I would ever play it. I told a few friends I played it and I got some laughs. Since I do know some friends who play the game, I've seen a few game plays and added some of them as friends. I've even added some people online who I played a game with. To my surprise, some people even added me as a friend. And, that's when I started to play it more.

I really had no idea what the game was about when I heard about it or when I started playing it. I only started playing it because my friend suggested it and I said ok and wanted to learn something new. My friend told me to choose a champion that I wanted to play. Since I didn't know anything about the game I chose someone who I thought was cool and did high damage. I didn't know what anything else did or meant, as I'm not a usual gamer. I'm used to playing games like Clash of Clans, Simpsons Tapped Out, and MyVegas, Smash Bros, and Mortal Kombat. So, when I first played League of Legends I found myself highly confused. The first few times I played the games I died immediately and did not understand a lot of stuff. I did not know why I was doing most of the attacking and my friend was hiding behind bushes or standing behind me. I didn't understand how to attack and I actually have to admit it that I still make attacking mistakes.

So, yeah, I had a lot to learn from the game. Through playing many bot games with friends and strangers I understood more of how to play the game and how it worked. That was fun for me when I was learning to understand something that I didn't understand at all and at first thought was confusing. I also had fun playing with some friends and doing stuff with them. I really liked learning more about the champions, including which role they play and their attacks.

Although it was a fun experience understanding the game and connecting with my friends through it, I decided to stop playing the game. I just didn't feel the game was all that much fun anymore after it became more serious. When I started to play more regular games, I started noticing people on chats being rude and giving out comments that I wasn't trying or feeding. I always try my best to win in games, but I can't always guarantee that I will be better than others or always win the game. Since I stopped playing, I felt relaxed that I didn't have to face people's comments online.

This is the second game that I felt that I've been serious at and left in a significant way, yet I don't feel as bad leaving it. I'd say the first game I left is Clash of Clans and I felt really bad leaving it because in that game I felt part of a group that really supported me and liked me even though I never met any of them. So, when I stopped playing Clash of Clans, I lost the connection that I had with them, which was something I enjoyed and actually kept me playing the game for a long time. But, for League of Legends when I left it I didn't feel like I lost that much besides just a game because I didn't chat with any strangers online extensively. Also, I am able to chat with my regular friends who play League of Legends outside of the game anyways. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Trip to San Luis Obispo Part 2

On the second day of our San Luis Obispo (SLO), we had to leave the hotel by 7am in order to make it to the 9am tour at Hearst Castle. The ride to Hearst Castle was pretty nice as there wasn't much windy roads and there was beach views, but me and my friend both didn't talk to each other the whole ride because we were kind of mad at each other. I almost wanted to stop and take a few minute break at the beach a few times, but didn't want to risk being late. We ended up arriving at Hearst Castle before 8am. I really believed that it was going to take longer. Maybe it was because I GPS the directions during a more busier time.

When we were finally let in the building, I went to get our tickets and I was the first person to do it that day. We decided to watch the movie before taking the bus to the castle. I really thought that the movie was going to be dry, but still wanted to see it because I didn't see it last time. I thought it was actually pretty good. It told me some interesting details of Mr. Hearst and his dream. My friend also found the information to be pretty interesting.

For this tour, we visited the Grand Rooms. It was definitely glamorous.

We walked around a bit after our tour, but not for too long since we were both hungry. We went to Brickhouse BBQ for lunch. My friend didn't like it too much, but we finished our meals. Just wished the tri-tip had more flavor.

After lunch, we headed back to our hotels and watched some shows and played a game. We walked around the area and looked at some shops and grabbed milk. We also enjoyed the cookies that were offered at our hotel. For dinner, we decided to grab sushi, so we headed to downtown SLO.

When I parked, my friend noticed a game shop called Captain Nemo Games & Comics, so we checked it out. I thought that the place was very huge with a impressive locations. I was able to find a House of Cards Cards Against Humanity deck there, which I did not see online, so I had to get it. That also reminds me that Cards Against Humanity recently released a new pack relating to dump Trump, which sold out before I even had a chance to buy one!

We were fortunate that there was a night market going on during that time, so there were several amounts of food booths and entertainment going on. We also visited some shops. I tried some samplers of tri tip from Old San Luis BBQ and it was pretty good. I'm definitely heading there next time. Before we left, we noticed a huge crowd watching a performance. It was a performer who was juggling with fire and throwing knives. He was doing some pretty risky stuff, which was kind of frightening to watch.

We ended our last night there by listening and watching the waves from the sundeck. It was really nice. Oh, and I also noticed a few nicely made spiderwebs in the hotel area, which I don't see too often.

I wasn't so happy on the way back because I realized I was going to be far away from a vacation anytime soon. But, I know I will come back to SLO one day and go to more places I enjoy in the future.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Trip to San Luis Obispo Day 1

I was very fortunate to return to San Luis Obispo again for 2 years in a row. I really did not anticipate coming back for at least a few years, but I was very happy I made the trip there. San Luis Obispo is one of my favorite places to visit in California. I know a lot of my friends love to visit Las Vegas or Disneyland, but I prefer San Luis Obispo.

Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA
 I decided to go there a month before I made the trip. After deciding to go, I immediately booked the hotel and began to plan out the days. While planning, I also ran through some interesting places of interest to visit around that area. I also made sure to add Cal Poly SLO since I been wanting to go there for the longest time, but unfortunately I still wasn't able to make it to there that day. But, there's still next time!!

Morro Bay, CA
Morro Bay, CA
 When me and my friend made the trip to San Luis Obispo we were both very tired. I actually had to stop driving a hour into the trip because I felt exhausted. I guess I should have skipped worked that morning. After a short nap, I felt rejuvenated and managed to get about an hour or so farther. During my gas stop, I took that time to rest some more before making it to our first destination, which was Morro Bay. I've been there before, so I thought it was a good idea to eat over there and look at the rock. I thought that my driving directions there would be the same, but this time my GPS showed me a whole new way to get to Morro Bay and I did not like that path. I dont like windy roads, instead I prefer straight paths. Well, I guess from that experience I know which road not to take to Morro Bay next time.

Sea lion sleeping
 When we arrived we had to wait a bit before the restaurant open, so we decided to walk around the area. Luckily, the area is very scenic. There's Morro Rock right across from the restaurant and some shops. There's also sea otters and sea lions. We were fortunate enough to watch a few otters swim by, but not lucky enough to get a good picture of one. We were able to spot a sea lion sleeping on rocks, which was pretty neat. It was nice seeing a sea lion so close to me. We didn't visit Morro Beach this time around, but I definitely think it's nice beach with a wonderful sunset view.

I decided to eat at the Galley Seafood Grill & Bar at Morro Bay because it had really good ratings and it has a view of Morro Rock. I like their selection of fish, so I decided to order one that was local to the area. We also shared calamari and french fries. I was pleasantly surprised that they had 3 different sauces that we can try with our fish. I believe one of them was tartar sauce. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the other two were though. The fish was good, but it wasn't the best fish I've ever tried.

Our next stop was to the Point San Luis Lighthouse for a tour. I discovered that I was able to visit the lighthouse through searching online and ultimately decided to go after reading someone's blog. I also considered going to the Avila Sea Caves, but decided not to go there since there was already so much I already planned for the trip. I was so glad that the lighthouse tours was only about 20 minutes away from Morro Bay. I did not feel like driving much further that day. When I arrived at the tour area for the lighthouse, we explored the beach that was right across from the tour area. When the tour was getting started we all loaded up on a tour bus that drove up the the lighthouse. When we were riding up on the mountain to go to the lighthouse, the bus tour guide told us about Diablo Canyon Power Plant. I was very surprised to hear about it because I never expected to be in the same city as a nuclear power plant. The bus driver also pointed out a whale mom and child together and some small islands. He also mentioned how you can do tours around that area but you have to sign up at PG&E's website. I was just so shocked that PG&E owned so much of the land around that area.

When we finally arrived at the lighthouse, I noticed a swing and I had to get a photo with it. I must say it's one of the best swings I've ever been on. It's definitely better than those ones at park or beaches because those are meant for younger people. It felt more comfortable and it also has a great view. I want a swing like that someday.

The view at the lighthouse is gorgeous. It's a nice place to relax and live. But, it seems too lonely and deserted at the same time.

It's too bad that the lighthouse is no longer in operation.  I really enjoyed that tour and thought it was educational and really like what I saw.

After finishing the lighthouse tour, we checked into our hotel, which was about 10 minutes away. Then, we headed to Pismo beach to walk around the shops.

We also ended up eating at Cool Cat Cafe and Sunsplash Cafe. Lastly, we saw the sunset even though it felt kind of cold that day.

That first day at San Luis Obispo was amazing. I really wish I was back there again. But, I'll likely to be back in a few years or sooner if I'm lucky.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

LeLand Stanford Mansion in Sacramento

I was fortunate enough to make a trip to Leland Stanford Mansion twice this month. I never been to the state historic park before. I actually never heard about it until my first trip there, which was organized by my volunteer outing. I believe there was at least 15 of us at the volunteer tour. When I went on the tour with my friend, the group was only 4 people total. What I found most surprising about the tours are that they are free of charge. I just find that incredible.

I was so surprised that we were able to walk to the Stanford Mansion from the California Museum. It was less than a 10 minute walk! I was surprised that I didn't notice the mansion before. I probably drove past it a dozen times and didn't really think of it as a place to tour. Also, the mansion isn't anything very extravagant, so it didn't strike me. I also never heard about it from any friends.

When we arrived at LeLand Stanford Mansion we were shown some videos to understand some context and history of the mansion and the Stanford family. Afterwards, we headed inside the mansion and saw the ball room first. I couldn't take any photos inside, but I'd definitely say the tour was worth a visit. Afterall, I did go to the tour twice. We didn't get to see every room in the building, but I'm glad that we got to see the majority of the rooms. I been to Hearst Castle before, so Stanford Mansion reminded me of it in a more modest form. I love seeing the interior of old buildings and priceless or very old items. I love that every room in the mansion told a story.

Visiting the Stanford Mansion made me feel quite intrigued. I grabbed one of the brochures in the visitors office of sightseeing places in Sacramento. If I missed out on Stanford Mansion all these years I might be missing out on more hidden gems around the area. Now, I'm quite excited to visit Stanford University even more. I'm also anxious to go back to Hearst Castle.

Friday, February 5, 2016

First San Francisco trip of the year

So, I made my first San Francisco trip in January when Lily came to visit California for a business trip. The first place we went to was the Walt Disney Museum. It was my first time there, but I been meaning to go since last year. And, I recently got free admission to many museums due to my Explorer membership to the California Museum. Yay, for volunteering :). I was able to get me, Chen, and Lily in for free.

The museum was really nice. There were some spots that were pretty interactive. I like it told some stories I never heard of before.

I liked the view of the Golden Gate bridge from the museum!

My favorite thing at the museum was the the mini model of Disneyland. It was really cute!!

After the museum, me and Lily wanted to eat Burmese food since it doesn't have it where we live. And, San Francisco has some popular spots for Burmese food. I ordered a pork dish, but it wasn't as good as the last Burmese restaurant I went to.

I forgot the name of the noodles we ordered, but they were pretty good. But, the noodles were cold and not warm like what I was used to.

Afterwards, we went to Union Square for shopping. We went to our usual shops. For some reason it's hard for me to go clothing shopping outside of Sacramento because I hate carrying my stuff and having a car to put it in. I also feel that I can get most of those clothes at home. But, I think it's because the way I shop is that I find something I really like then I will buy that.

Boba guys was alright. I ordered the horchata drink. But, I felt that horchata was better at Latin American restaurants. My friend's cousin's place is probably the best I've had.

I hope that Lily returns soon, so we can go hang out. I do also want to visit her at New York, so hopefully one of those happen soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Visit to Vancouver

I haven't been in Vancouver since 2011 and I went back there this month for a few days. Every time I go there, I always visit family. I didn't know more of the reasons why we wen until we arrived, but it's all good since my I was glad I was able to go in the first place.

This time around we all flied all the way to Vancouver. That was easier. However, when we arrived in Vancouver, my mom noticed that her package had blown up. She then told us that one of the things she put in their was in the freezer. I just thought the whole situation was just hilarious.

When we finally reached my uncle's house, the first thing we did was walk to a Chinese restaurant down the street to eat. It was open at 12am apparently. I also noticed a 24 hour pho place was that less than 5 minute walk away. I love how the streets in Canada are designed.

The next day, we had dim sum. It was one of those restaurants that let you select what you want first and they will get it for you. We don't have that in Sacramento, but San Francisco has something like that. I thought the bill was pretty pricy. But, then again, my aunt overestimated the quantity of food we needed to eat.

After eating dim sum, we were able to walk around for some shopping. We ended up going to Crystal Mall, which was a plaza with a Asian Market, restaurants, and products that looked like what people in China wore. That plaza reminded me of China.

One of the interesting things I notice while at Crystal Mall was this cake.

At night, I met with my cousin Patrick and he and another relative took me and my sisters out for sightseeing of Vancouver and we also got to go the huge mall. But, we had to walk all the way back to the house, which was a 30 minute walk and a unpleasant short bus ride that was unnecessary.

The next day, I went to Tim Hurton's really early in the morning. It was one of the places I wanted to check out ever since I heard about it in "How I met your Mother". I liked it because you can get fast food, donuts, and bakery products all in the same spot and apparently it's everywhere. I wanted to order the chicken sandwich, but it wasn't ready yet, so I got a croissant. I was kinda disappointed they didn't have chocolate croissants. When I got back, I noticed that some people were already awake. Soon later, I noticed something was wrong and my grand aunt had to go the hospital for medical attention. That was when I realized she was one of the reasons why we came.

Since something happened with grand aunt, I didn't expect us to do anything else for the rest of the day, but we actually ended up doing some stuff. We were able to check out Richmond and try the ramen there. Afterwards, I tried an escape room for the first time, which was a very fun experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

We went to the snow and I was surprised that it was Emily's first time.

 Even though it wasn't the perfect trip, I still had a good time and it was good to see my relatives whom I don't see too often. I really do look forward to my next trip to Vancouver or for their next trip to California.