Friday, November 27, 2015

A great Evening with a Friend and a Stranger

CA said that he been craving American style Thankgiving food this year, after had had it a couple of years ago.  He went to a hotel buffet at the recommendation of his friend who was a food critic for a big newspaper.  The price was 950+, which is not as bad as it sounds.  It was the cheapest one compare to the list my friend came up.

He then send me message that we will be joined by a woman he contact from Couchsurfing network, who had 50 good references on the website he added.  Turns out, the good references was highly accurated.

I arrived at the hotel around 17:45 for the 18:00 opening time.  We pretty much talked non stop from the time we met until the time the restaurant closed at 22:30!  With subjects ranging from the woman's, an American from New England, MA who had been traveling for  almost 4 years, expereince with working as English language teacher in Lebanon in refugee camp, to her studies of Islam history, her traveling experiences. the works he had done, the languages, religions, etc.  Time flies when you are in good company that's for sure.

The food was kinda ok I supposed...  The reason I had a great time was the socializing with my friend and the stranger. 

And the cherry on top of the evening?  My credit card provide 20% discount for the whole meal :D.

I wish I could this like once a month.  It would be so good for me on many levels...  But, for now, I am happy to keep the memory and write it down on my blog.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A New Computer

I finally made the plunge, after much deliberations on which parts to buy.  All thing considered, 15,100 baht wasn't too bad for an assembled computer: a case, two casing fans, CPU, mainboard, and power supply.  The new case is quite roomy compare to my old one, the new power supply will give enough power for my three HDDs,  and hopefully the new CPU will lasted me five years or more.  It is good that I can still use all my old RAMs.  That save me a few thousands bahts for not having to buy new RAMs.  It was temping though...  Maybe I will buy them when the 8GB RAMs are cheaper.  It will be probably be after buying new graphic card next year though.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Games Reclaiming My Time

Lately my time had been occupied, not by reading, but by games.  It was a bit of a change to be honest.

First, it was Final Fantasy: Dimensions on my Galaxy S II.  It was throwback to the classics FF game style in their NES and SNES eras.  What did not help, was that I lost my game saves when I flash my phone to Jelly Bean 4.1.2...  I should have redone all backup and not just update it.  Well, nothing I can do about that now though...  I am slowly playing it again with more insights on which directions I should take for each characters.

Second, Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC.  Like many reviewers and comments were posted about this DLC pack (4.5 Gbs in size which was like a whole game a few years ago), it was the biggest fan service of the highest order.  Dialogues were filled with inside jokes (Traynor's Toothbrush, ), ripping of the commander, reminiscing the fallen comrades and tied up a few loose ends (James showing his finished N7 Tattoo, Thane recounts what he was doing between ME2 and ME3, and connecting with team members.)  It was fun going back and learning all the missing pieces of their stories and such.  I finished the Citadel DLC in one afternoon and realized that in order to really get the whole story, I will have to played more Priority missions to meet all the members so they will showed up in the DLC.  So I did all that and now ready to complete the DLC again.

Third, Plague Inc. on Android, I heard about this game on KUEC pod cast so I give it a try.  It was...  somewhat fun.  The brain worm was fun to play as you get to infect the world *Then* enslave the humankind.  The other disease was quite difficult to determine how to win.  Other than the brain worm, the other common disease play through required a certain balancing act.  The objective is to eliminate all humankind.  The operative word here in *all*.  You will have manage the disease so that it will infect and then kill everybody.  Otherwise, the research for cure will began and you won't have enough time to kill everybody.  I must have played almost 10 tried before winning the first scenario.  After about five loses in the second scenario...  I will probably cool it for a while.  The game was a huge battery drain though.

Fourth, the impending StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarms.  I love game with story and StarCraft have enough to be a saga.  I am looking forward to learn what will happen to the rescued Kerrigan and where will this next arc lead her to.

So the reading will go on back burner for a while.  At least until first week of April in which the next book in Cut & Run series, Touch & Geaux, will be released.  I am really really really looking forward to that book.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Highlight of San Jose Trip

The standouts for me were the food.  I had tasted the best Carbonara ever at "The Sausage Factory" in Castro in San Francisco.  Sean ordered it and I tasted a bit from his plate.  Apparently, using pancetta instead of normal bacon make a big different to this dish.  My ordered, some spicy tomato sauce thing, was nice too.  The portion was huge.  I ended up having to pack about one third of the portion.  It was still good after staying in the fridge for two days and microwave.

I also ran into unexpected Gumbo stand at a farmers market in Monterey Bay.  We were there to see the Aquarium but we arrived a bit late after we visit the beach in Carmel.  The ocean was very cold for me at Carmel but it was sunny and a lot of families were enjoying the weather at the beach.  But I digress, we did not went into the aquarium because it was about to close.  I thought it was also odd that the gift shop was not available to people who had not buy the ticket to see the aquarium.  Anyway, on our way back to the car, we came across the farmers market.  At the very end of the road I saw a stand that sell New Orleans food.  I was excited because, although this might sound racist, I saw that the stand was manned by two black women who spoke with Southern accent.  I just knew that the food would be good.  After being a bit indecisive, I decided that this would be a very place to buy Gumbo from and I wasn't disappointed.  The seafood Gumbo that I bought for 10$ was full to the brim with shrimp, fish and crab.  I was telling the ladies that I thought I would have to wait another year to eat New Orleans gumbo and my friend added that I was initially planned to visit New Orleans for labour day weekend but the hurricane disrupt my plan.  I, later, went back for hot sauce to spice it up and asked for the hottest one.  They gave me a bit of dubious looks but handed me the sauce.  I added a bit and while it was quite hot, it wasn't the hottest I ever had.  It was still good though.

I also love In-n-Out burger. The burger there was nice but their fried was the best I have ever had.  I would love to return to San Jose just for the burger and the Carbonara.  On one morning Sean also take me to a breakfast place downtown and I order omlette with hash brown.  The hash brown was lovely :d.  The portion was also nicely large.  Despite what many said about American penchant for large portion, it was not always true.  Some of the meal I had were not quite enough for me to be full.

I was there in time for the Castro St. fair.  It was quite nice.  The weather was cool and there were a lot of things to see.  One booth was selling Venetian masks.  They certainly looks very nice but also very expensive.  There were many things to see, also the Blue Angels were flying over the area as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Sort of Unexpected San Jose Trip

This year I planned to go to New Orleans and San Jose.  New Orleans is for fun and San Jose is to see a friend.  Plus I planned to order a Kindle to be delivered at his place so I can take it with me home without fuss.  However, that plan was derailed by hurricane Issac hitting New Orleans.  The airport closed on my arrival date therefore my flight was canceled.  Good thing I got the airline app on my phone and I checked it before leaving my house.  I spent the night scrambling to have my hotel cancel and check all my options.

Luckily, the agent contact the GM of the hotel that I booked a special non-refundable room with and the GM was nice enough to give me full refund due to special circumstances.  I also asked for refund from the airline too on the next morning.  Then come a week later, after seeing the new Kindle Paperwhite press release, I bought a ticket to San Jose for the first weekend of October.  That reduce my saving considerably since it took Delta almost 5 weeks to give me the refund.

My trip went off without too much hitch.  First, the flight attendant found an unclaimed bag on an empty seat.  Regulation dictates that the plane cannot take off with unclaimed bag.  After 25 minutes of all the staff walking up and down the plane looking for owner to no avail, the owner was finally being awake enough to claim the bag.  Luckily this didn't affect the connecting flight since we fly... with the wind?  So instead of having those 30 min. off plane, we just waste it on the ground instead.  Other than that, I was seated closed to a passenger who asked for diabetic meal.  When the planed landed I noticed that he and his family did not eat the bananas given as snack during the flight.  So I asked for them which I ate during the next flight.

We arrived at San Francisco International Airport without problem.  It was a blur as usual for international flight.  The immigration officer snark at me a little for answering his question of "Why are you here?" with my reason not my purpose.  Quote en quote "I don't want your life history, I just want to know why you are here."  I didn't snark back, for the obvious reason, plus he sniffling a bit which might explain his temper.

I finally cleared the immigration, got my suitcase and went out the exit gate.  My friend was there fiddling with his iPhone.  We greet each other and went to his car in the parking lot.  The weather was rather cool for me and soon I had to bundle up a bit in my jacket.

My first impression once we were on the road was that this is America, with wide open roads and endless landscape.  The freeway we took to drive us back to San Jose was the newer one (I think it was 280) which was landscaped to make the route looks like interstate road with trees blocking the view of the buildings and houses near by to give you the illusion of countryside.

We stopped by a small shopping area of the city.  My friend, Sean, wants to buy coffee.  And to my pleasant surprise, we went inside Peet's Coffee.  Another friend bought me a box of Assam Tea from Peet's a few of years ago and I like it very much.  I eventually bought their "Lemon Rose" and "Masala Chai" tea.

By the end of the first day in US, I was jetlagged pretty bad and crashed soon.  But not before we went to Fry's, an electronic store, to buy 3DS XL at discount price ;).  It roughly just 10% discount, not much, but it's better than nothing.  It pretty much say that the store will pay the sales tax for customer.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

General Update

Work has been busy for the last few months.  The office got refurbish and we have to move computers around as well as the inventories.  On top of that, there were computer virus outbreak, server crash, and problems that make this the busiest I have ever been since I join this place...  I can't complain too much though...  At least I am busy...

I planned to go to US again.  I will see New Orleans again and this time will be 5 days then I will fly to San Francisco and see a friend that I haven't seen in a long time.  He is very nice and let me stay at his place.

I hope I will like SF and perhaps San Jose, more than NY...  Who knew, maybe in a few years it will be New Orleans and Las Vegas.  I will finally get to see Zumanity :P

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Buying New Phone

After w810i and Nokia 5800, I am about to buy a new phone.  After waiting for a few months, I will buy Samsung Galaxy S II in a few days.

I choose Android phone over iPhone because I like the flexibility of it.  Plus the screen is bigger and the update is, hopefully, not long in the future (from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich).

With long holiday coming up, I will have the time to play around with the phone.  Rooting and maybe flashing it with good ROM.