Recent cooking adventures: Mango-jalapeño salsa, Greek potato, fried pork, and biscuit pizza

Mango-jalapeño salsa and tilapia

I haven’t posted much about my recent cooking, so this’ll be as quick look at a few things. First up, mango-jalapeño salsa! This was pretty simple with mango, jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, and some seasoning. Here it’s served on tilapia on a bed of mixed greens, but it goes great with chicken too as well as chips!

Greek potato

For lack of a better term, I was just calling this a Greek potato. Not much to this really – just a Hasselback potato with feta and honey, but it’s totally delicious.

Marinated pork collar butt

Farm Direct had some cheap, delicious marinated pork collar butt, so I bought it a few times because it was easy to use with other things.

Marinated pork collar butt

With onions, bell pepper, and some eggs, it was perfect.

Marinated pork collar butt

I should go buy more actually.

Biscuit pizza

I’m probably too old to share something so dumb, but I liked these anyways. These pizzas were made with Pillsbury Grands! biscuits. At first I used a whole biscuit per pizza, but I revised them to use half a biscuit per pizza. Less calories, less carbs, more tastiness.

Biscuit pizza

I’m glad Anela shared the video with me from BuzzFeed Food!

Assorted veggies

Bonus veggies!

Kiwi bowl

Kiwi bowl

I had an orange bowl and a watermelon bowl from Color Me Mine, so I recently decided to add to the collection by painting a kiwi bowl.

Kiwi bowl

My photographs don’t show the outside much, but it’s brown, unsurprisingly. It’s actually bigger than my other two bowls, which I guess is kind of sad since kiwis are smaller. But I think it’s cute anyways.

Kiwi bowl

And here is is on its first day of holding food.

They grow up so fast.

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was super awesome! It was my first time cosplaying besides wearing my Aquabats costume one day last year, and it was really fun. My favorite part of these conventions has always been looking at the cosplayers and getting photos with them; it’s interesting to participate now. I attended with gem and Antonio as usual. I cosplayed an Aquabat, Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats, and Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph while gem cosplayed Sadness from Inside Out, Woody from Toy Story, and vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph.

Here are some of the cosplay highlights! Thursday I wore my Aquabats costume. It made the most sense because I was going to their concert later that night.

AquabatsThe first photo I was asked to join was this one, shot by Kenneth Yeast. They were posing near me actually! The photographer took a photo of my business card and was nice enough to e-mail me the photos. From left to right, that’s me, @freeddc, @kaitlynfreed, and @lilbelle74 from Instagram. I’ve seen them on Instagram through Aquabats tags and concerts for a while, so it was especially cool to get photos with them. Aquabat and Elsa

This is @hollandtayloegedney (Instagram) who won an award this year for her Elsa cosplay. She was really nice, and it was fun talking to her.

Aquabats?After I posed with Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time, gem worked her Snapchat magic to turn them into Aquabats! Aquabat versus Walker

Walkers can’t stand the might of an Aquabat.

Aquabat and villainsI wouldn’t want to be hit with that hammer! Aquabat and Harley

*boink* Ow, my head!

Aquabat and DaredevilI also met my favorite hero, Daredevil! Aquabat Yoga

I got in some yoga too.

Aquabat YogaAnd a little more. On Friday I cosplayed Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats. Aquabats

While in line for a panel, some Aquabats lined up behind me.

MinionsWoody (gem) and I posed with some minions too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP-AnKGQnfc Clay Carmine of Gears of War chainsawed me in the neck! gem performed some Snapchat witchery again. The Professors

Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats meets Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls!

Breaking DespicableBreaking Despicable? I guess this minion found someone despicable to follow. When I asked for a picture, Jesse said “yeah, bitch.” The Aquabats and Professor Monty Corndog

And here I am with the Aquabats! Professor Monty Corndog is much more obscure than just the Aquabats costume, so I knew no one would really recognize it. Luckily the Bat Commander said, “Professor Monty Corndog… is that you?” It was so worth it to get this photo with them!

My final cosplay was Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph, which I did on Saturday and Sunday.

I can fix it!More Snapchat voodoo from gem. I really love this. Fixing a kart

Here I’m fixing up this kart. Awesome Mario Kart cosplays!

Fix-It Felix, Jr. and PortalI also fixed this adorable Companion Cube while posing with her and Chell. Maleficent

Speaking of adorable, isn’t this Maleficent just the cutest? I think this was my favorite cosplay of the con. My heart kind of wants to explode.

High five!I high-fived Fix-It Felicia! Wrestling

Later I got in a wrestling match.

Fix-It Felix, Jr. and FlashI even tried to fix the Flash right in the head! I wasn’t in costume for these, but I saw some cool cosplays while I eating dinner too. Feed Me

Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long! Check out that Audrey II!

Globo-GymI couldn’t resist a photo with the Globo-Gym Purple Cobras! Woody and Dhalsim

gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

The Aquabats concert was amazing. Here they performed a cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. They also showed a video they’re going to pitch to TV execs to try to get The Aquabats! Super Show! picked up. It showed the MCBC begging a cloaked wizard to help. He reveals himself to be Jack Black, absorbs the Commander’s powers, and transforms into an Aquabat. He agrees to help and talks about how we’re all Aquabats before using his magic to transform a bunch of celebrities into Aquabats, including Weird Al Yankovic, Tony Hawk, and more. It was very cool.

Aquabats Set ListThey even signed my set list! The MCBC

I also met this guy who isn’t wearing a costume because he’s a regular guy. It couldn’t be the Bat Commander. The Bat Commander doesn’t wear normal shirts like that.

He was really nice, and he talked with me about getting more involved with the Aquabats. It probably helped that gem gave him a bunch of snacks!

And speaking of gem giving snacks, she gave care packages to other people, such as Todd from Toddland. He was super cool. Technically gem got his number!

gem and Allie BroshWe saw Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. Her panel was moderated by Felicia Day, and it was super great. gem gave Allie some cookies and snacks, and Allie was very appreciative and nice. They hugged and took a photo together. We also saw a panel about Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim. He was very down to Earth and discussed how scary it is that some people identify with parts of his crazy comics. Walking Dead Experience

We ran the Walking Dead Experience, and I did it in my Aquabats costume. It was really fun.

We arrived in Petco Park as survivors, and someone escorted us inside, claiming it’s safe. Of course, walkers showed up, and we had to run. They’re all played by volunteers who couldn’t really hurt us, but I got into it and definitely ran hard and dodged walkers. Eventually we met a second group of survivors who weren’t as friendly. They killed our leader when they found out we didn’t have supplies. Our talks were cut short when walkers approached, and we all had to run again. At the end, they decided to cull the weak. They chose someone from our group to kill, and it ended up being Antonio. They had him kneel as they raised a club to kill him. Luckily for him, walkers arrived once more, and we ran for it. Antonio said that as the walkers arrived, someone (presumably staff) lifted him to ensure he didn’t get trampled. It was so much fun!

Bryan!Let’s see… what else. We ran into Bryan Lackey, a fantastic trumpet player. I know him from Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. He was really friendly and stopped to chat with us for a while before taking a photo and friending us on Facebook! Spaceship Warlock

We also went to an art exhibit called Super Video Game Land by Anthony Bulcao at the Mission Brewery. He paints scenes from video games and is really talented! He had two painting from Spaceship Warlock, an old adventure game I loved as a kid. I was most excited for those two. He said he wasn’t confident about including them, and that I was the only person who talked to him about them. I’m glad I did!

I also participated (badly) in a kazoo and ukulele play-along, met Rikki Simons, voice of Gir (and more) from Invader Zim, played games at the Nintendo Lounge, and sang along with gem while she played Martian Girl in a line. Such an awesome weekend!

I know they’re not going to read this, but thanks to all the people who asked for photos and appreciated my cosplay – the Aquabats group photo, the jedi, the dude with the swords, and the three or four other people who liked my Aquabats costume, and the Nintendo employee, Quailman, the little Captain America, Ariel (who was excited and wanted a photo after I asked her first), and the other 14 or so people, especially the little kids, who liked my Fix-It Felix, Jr. It made me very happy!

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show (and other weekend fun)

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

This weekend was full of fun! The big thing on my calendar was the Om Kalthoum Tribute Show on Sunday. Anela had told me about it a few weeks in advance, and I was really looking forward to it.

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

Duncan and I picked Anela and her friend Marina from Anela’s place. It was my first time meeting Marina, and it was very nice getting to know her during the ride! She danced with Anela in the same set.

They performed a shamadon, which is an Egyptian candelabra dance. I hope I got that terminology correct! I was sure to have at least taken photos, but Anela asked me to record it, so I did that. I couldn’t get closer due to some distractions on the side (which also caused kept causing me to lose alignment sometimes), but at least I got it recorded! It was really awesome, and the dancers were quite skilled. The amount of talent my friends have is amazing.

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

After their set, I went to the bathroom and found the dancers in the back. Of course, I had to stop for some photos.

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

And I had to get one with another dancer at the end of the night too, Bethany Rose, who was also one of the organizers!

The event was held at Byblos in Los Angeles. The food was delicious, and it just kept coming too. They were also very accomodating. The show started at 8:00, but we got there at 5:40 or so because the dancers needed to be there by 6:00. I asked what time we could come back, and they ended up letting us wait inside, even opening the bar so Duncan and I could have some drinks while we waited. During dinner we met a man and his date who were very pleasant and talkative. Shortly before the show started, we met two other people as well, one of whom is actually part of the dance troupe but wasn’t dancing. It was great talking to them as well, although we didn’t get a lot of time.

Okay, but what about the Fourth of July?!

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Whoops, I didn’t take a lot of photos. Kaylin and Andy hosted a party at their apartment. Here’s one photo I took – burgers, tomatoes, and bacon cooking in delicious bacon grease. When gem, Duncan, Matt, and I arrived, Mariam was already there. I don’t know her well, but we’ve talked before, and it was nice chatting with her. Collin, Niki, Joseph, and Mariana arrived later. We ate a ton of delicious foods, had some great conversation, and played Werewolf and Cards Against Humanity. gem and I also took a short break from the party in the middle to visit Anela for costume help (and to deliver some food). It was a great Fourth!

And there was also Friday.

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I went ice skating in Anaheim and climbed on this bike outside.

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I also played ping pong at the Anaheim Packing District. Did you know you could rent paddles and a ball for free? Awesome!

What a fantastic weekend! And now I’m off to San Diego Comic-Con for what I can only assume will be another great weekend.

iHOOKAH featuring Anela and Second City featuring Alex

Hi there! I did some things this weekend.

Friday I went to the Dub for drinks and met some friends back at the house. I got to try Stax Cookie Bar, which was delicious!

On Saturday, gem, Duncan, and I went to Anela’s.

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gem balanced with Anela’s sword while Duncan relaxed.

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Anela was dancing at iHOOKAH, and gem joined her! I like how this happened to turn out thanks to the crazy lights.

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iHOOKAH took some photos too. Unfortunately, I think I look like a psycho.

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I just noticed that they blur out the bottles.

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Woo! Let’s all dance while Duncan gets a drink.

Actually, I think he was putting it down.

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Remember to tip.

Obviously, I didn’t take those. iHOOKAH took those photos; you can find them on Facebook here!

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On Sunday, gem and I headed to The Second City in Hollywood to see Alex’s show, Millennial Falcon. It was really funny, and I’m glad I got to see it as it was the last show! It was also cool to finally visit Second City.

Because it was getting late, we didn’t get to stay for the post-graduation festivities, but we still got to chat with Alex and Erica a bit.

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Afterward, gem and I got a hot dog and then wandered around.

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Yay, elephants! I’m sure I’ve taken pretty much these exact photos before, but I can’t help but take more photos.

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Robin Williams.

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Tom Hanks!

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Some sort of cute French restaurant that was closed.

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And of course, no visit is complete without Beard Papa.

Stand up paddle boarding and the OC Night Market

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This weekend held a few fun things – like stand up paddle boarding! First, I had the wrong address number, and we drove 10 minutes out of the way. Next, we used East instead of West in the address and drove 10 minutes incorrectly again. Finally, we got to the board rental place and locked the keys in the car. We decided to worry about that later because it was time for Kaylin, gem, and I to have fun!

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gem wanted to do yoga, and then I wanted to do yoga too.

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Due to wrist pain, I’ve been avoiding anything that puts pressure on my wrist, but you put a paddle board under me, and I decide I don’t care.

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Oof.

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I tried for a while to balance on one foot, but I just couldn’t do it. I guess that’s no big surprise.

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We got to see lots of cool animals while on the water such as this SUP dog! It fell off the board once while we watched and just swam back up to the board. It had a handle on its harness, so its owner just picked it up and put it back on the board. Adorable! We also some saw some birds of course as well as seals or sea lions. I can never tell the difference, but they were cute and liked to aarf. One kept trying to jump onto a boat; we watched him a fail a few times while we cheered him on, but he gave up. Another was just napping and started aarfing at us when we got too close.

It was a ton of fun! The wind picked up near the end, making us take forever to get back. We were on the water for a bit under three hours, and I guess it was a pretty good work out. Unfortunately, I did get sunburned, but gem gave me aloe from her aloe plant! When we got back to the beach, Kaylin stayed with us while figured out the keys. Hooray for AAA.

Akropolis in Newport Beach

After paddle boarding, gem and I grabbed lunch at Akropolis. The Greek food was amazing! We started with this huge appetizer platter. I was really craving dolma, and this platter delivered it and more. Everything was amazing.

Akropolis in Newport Beach

We also had a Greek pizza, which I considered the best pizza I’d ever eaten. gem said it was just because I’m hungry, but I think that’s a valid factor. Experience counts.

It had sauce, cheese, gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki. Oh, wow. It was really amazing.

I also talked with the guy working there a bit. He confirmed that it was Greek owned. He’s actually half Greek and half Persian, and he asked if I was Greek because he noticed my name on my card. Neither of us were taught Greek, although he knows Farsi, which is cool! I’d love to come back here.

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That night I went to the OC Night Market with these awesome people, gem, Anela, and Jonathan.

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We ate a bunch of tasty things like this donut with ice cream in the middle topped with chocolate chips and mini Oreos. Actually, it was just kind of meh. I don’t think the donut added anything except unneeded carbs, and I’ve had much better mint chocolate chip ice cream. But it was fun to eat it anyways haha. We also went back to the same booth that took an hour with our order last time; this time it only took a couple minutes, and the servings were much larger! Anela craved fries, so we ended up getting curry fries, garlic crab fries, and Spam fries. We all expected the Spam fries to be fries topped with Spam, but they were more literal. It was Spam cut likes fries and fried. Yummy but salty!

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My biggest goal for the night was to find Orion’s Cookery and get their new Hot Cheetos Brick, essentially a Rice Krispies Treat made with Hot Cheetos instead of Rice Krispies. They only had two left when I bought mine. Huzzah! After my first, small bite, I thought it was a little odd – not bad but not amazing – and maybe slightly stale tasting. Then I ate more, and as I took a bigger bite, I was pretty impressed. Win!

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Anela wanted the Turkish ice cream, with which she was familiar. I’d never heard of it. According to Wikipedia, it’s called dondurma and is also popular in Greece as dudurmas or kaimaki. It’s thicker than normal ice cream and more resistant to melting. The vendor let me take his picture before he got our ice cream. I liked his clothes! He makes a bit of a show of serving it, which also shows off how it’s different than our typical ice cream. He’d put it in a cone, swing it around such that typical ice cream would fall from the cone, hand it to Anela, twist and grab it back, etc. It was fun!

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And how was it?

Tasty, tasty! I’d definitely get it again, especially given the show of it. Wikipedia also mentions that that showmanship is typical of dondurma vendors. Buy some if you get the chance!

Okay, that’s it. You can stop reading. Thanks! :)

May dreams

When I wake up and remember bits of dreams, I like to jot them down in my phone. Here’s what I can make out. Each bullet point is a different dream.

  • I was at a church in which there were a lot of books. It might have also been a library. One kid got Heinlein, Dan Simmons, and some other book with which I was impressed. He tried to give me a book, and I wasn’t sure if it was a library book or one he owned himself. It was a choose your own adventure with robots and cut outs. Then gem needed help with something and talked to my boss. And then I have “Tara Ska Half past two electronic.” Did Half Past Two play at the church/library?
  • I was taking prospector home buyers through my grandparents’ old house while holding Henley, but Henley was a young infant.
  • While working as a cashier at Albertsons, a man bought cheese, meat, and bread and then asked me to make him a sandwich.
  • I was playing a zombie dince game in which each player controls zombies of a particular color with the goal of coverting people to zombies of their color. It was a commentary on racial crime.
  • Edward and I played arcade games.
  • It was the middle of the night. I was about to go to a concert. There was water and a beach ball. I was with a close friend, and someone I kind of knew kept hitting the ball my way. I thought about Snapchat.
  • Someone I knew (and I do remember who it was in the dream as well) was standing over my bed telling he was broke. He was speaking very quietly, and his voice sounded pleading. He grabbed my wrists, and I struggled to understand. I thought it was real. What was scary and infuriating was that I thought this person had just come over and come into my room while I was sleeping. I moved my hands through his arms in an effort to see if they were real, and they passed right through. I was convinced he wasn’t real, and he disappeared. Next I looked around my room but was still unable to get up or move for a good 10 minutes of what I believe is real time. Ugh.
  • There was a lizard in the room.
  • I could fly, and someone seemed to be after me. I was flying near tall building, and many of them had terraces, rooftop areas that were easily accessible, etc. I got curious and landed on one of the terraces, looking into windows and walking right into the kitchen of some nice restaurant.
  • “so many spider men.” I vaguely remember this – everyone was Spider-Man basically. I think there were apartments or something, and one of the Spider-Men was the real Spider-Man. UPDATE! Man, Duncan remembered part of this dream that I mentioned. The police were trying to arrest the real Spider-Man but couldn’t figure out who was the real one. Nice.
  • Here are my notes. “Killed people?” “Immortal” “Waiting to see those people again later” “Trying to text them using borrowed phone” I don’t actually remember this one.
  • I was at the airport, and David (from Friends) was there, just back from Minsk. He was desperately trying to win back Phoebe.
  • This is a bad one. Someone tortured a rabbit but left it alive. They cut off its ears and mutilated it. Next they pulled the stuffing out of a stuffed giraffe and put the rabbit inside – a mutilated living rabbit in a stuffed giraffe suit. He pulled out the eyes of the stuffed animal so the rabbit could see out. I seemed aware in the dream that this was to torture it even more. Finally he gave it to a dog as a chew toy. Disgusting.
  • I was going back to UCI and wanted to room with gem and Antonio. I found what I thought was my room, and I was apparently rooming with Eric (who lived in my suite when I lived in the dorms). However, I was mistaken. Then I got punched. Eventually I found my room, and I had a woman for a roommate, which surprised me. gem and Antonio were each in separate rooms.
  • I was at a British wholesale store, and someone was with me. He said he could get me a card. Suddenly some people show up with guns. These appeared to be normal civilians. Next some guys called the militia, but then both the militia and the first group are pointing their guns at the normal people. I realized they were in cahoots and that something was wrong (yeah, go figure). I sneaked out with some others, but we were being chased. While I was running, I ran into an actual bear that seemed super angry. I gave the bear my bag, and he got happy. Then he wanted a hug, so I gave him a hug and took a selfie. Then I kept running, and suddenly I was running with James and gem.
  • This one had something to do with Barnes & Noble. First Melissa was there, and then I was with someone else who was talking about a guy she liked. I was surprised and asked about her husband, but she said he died in a car accident. I got home, and gem was there. Apparently we lived in the same house.

Bay Area vacation and the Lithium Network Conference 2015

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Last week I was attending a conference in the Bay Area, so I went a few days early to visit friends! I stayed with Katie and Matt, hung out with Marc as well, coincidentally saw some Southern California friends, and attended the Lithium Network Conference. I had a great time!

Lithium is all about social: they’re the providers of Toshiba’s forum as well as Lithium Social Web, the web application that I use that pulls the forum, Facebook, and Twitter into one screen.

Friday

I flew in Friday night after some delays. Matt and Katie picked me up from San Francisco International, and we headed back to their place in Fremont after a quick stop for some tasty In-N-Out. It was late, so we mostly talked, and Matt and I played games.

Saturday

Saturday was the action-packed day! Marc came over, and then we visited Matt’s university, San Jose State University, where we failed to return library books and failed to see a flight simulator. We tried at least. Luckily, San Jose is also filled with delicious foods.

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At SmokeEaters I ate some delicious wings, onion rings, fries, and a beer. This was the start of a bad day for my stomach.

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I was kind of excited to see a banner for Fanime. I don’t know. I’m sorry.

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After our unhealthy lunch, we stopped at Psycho Donuts. Just look how good they look! Yes, yes, yes!

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We walked past a place called Iguanas just because I wanted to take a picture of their sign. Burritozilla! I want to eat Burritozilla!

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When we got back to Katie and Matt’s, we tried some of the donuts. Another bad stomach decision, but a great decision for my taste buds. The top-left one was the Cookie Monster donut. Reminds me of Afters Ice Cream! :)

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We made some White Russians, watched some YouTube videos, listened to Spotify, and talked. The White Russians were the final bad decision for my stomach, haha.

Matt found this playlist on Spotify – 2000′s Rock by Scott Sweatman. It’s… kind of great. It caused a lot of nostalgia, but at the same time, I can tell why I don’t listen to this music anymore. It was pretty perfect.

This might sound uneventful, but it was a pretty important evening. I had a lot of fun with them. Marc’s friend even came over as well.

Sunday

gem was in te Bay Area to go rafting with a group of friends, which included one other person I knew – Vivian. Marc came over again, and then he drove us to Berkeley to meet with them.

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We decided to meet at Sather Tower, a bell and clock tower, commonly called The Campanile.

You could hear the music from a pretty good distance.

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I liked the bears at the base.

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After realizing you could go up the tower for a nominal fee, we had to check it out.

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I wish this photo offered a better sense of scale. The bells could totally crush a person.

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gem, Katie, and Matt!

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Here’s where the musician sits to play the carillon, which is the bell system.

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Here’s the view.

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And here’s a group of photos of a lot of us.

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Here’s gem, Marc, Katie, Matt, and myself. I was trying to spread the Half Past Two, So Cal ska love to the Bay Area.

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We stopped at Sheng Kee Bakery, where I tried some of Vivian’s tea eggs – basically eggs boiled in tea rather than water. Delicious! Then it was off to Sliver Pizzeria. Each day of the week they feature a different pizza, but that’s it. That means that each day they only have a single kind of pizza. On Sunday, it was roasted potatoes, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapeño jack cheese, Italian parsley, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It was great! I’m going to need to try to make something like this some time.

Over lunch, someone I had just met that day asked me what I did for a living. I said, “I work for Toshiba…”

He replied with “hey, that’s my line!”

I’m paraphrasing, but he works for Toshiba as well, although he works for a different Toshiba company. Small world! And speaking of small worlds, another person was going to take the BART back to Fremont, so Marc just gave him a ride too.

It was cool seeing the university as well as the city. The city was pretty interesting. I can understand how it gets the reputation it has, because the people clearly cared a lot more about the environment and helping each other than I’m used to seeing in Orange County.

Once we got home, we had a quiet evening mostly of watching TV and chatting. I got some work done as well, and we watched American Ninja Warrior. It’s a cool show pitting athletes against insane obstacle courses that require a great deal of strength, agility, and balance.

Katie made an amazing fish dinner that made my stomach feel much better. It was super good!

Monday

I started Monday morning by working before Matt drove me to the BART station.

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When I got into San Francisco, I took a picture of the building outside the Powell Street station like I always do.

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This was the view from my hotel room. Not amazing, but I like that Scalzi always posts photos of his view, so I like doing it too. I stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which was right next to Saint Patrick’s Chuch, where Patrick and Caroline got married. Pretty cool!

Anela gave me some recommendations of things to do. Some of them I’d done previously, and some, like hike recommendations, just didn’t fit with my schedule. But some things had to be done!

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Did you know that at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory you can watch people make fortune cookies? Well, she did, and now I do, and now you do.

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They start out round, while they’re still hot, she shapes them into fortune cookies. I got to try some nice hot ones that were still round, and I bought a bag of normal and chocolate fortune cookies.

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I tried one chocolate one from the bag, and my fortune was “Your luck will soon be at a high point.” That seems good, but what if it just means my luck is going to be terrible for a long time after that? Uh oh.

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I took some other random photos too.

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Building art.

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Yummy not-quite-a-fortune-cookie!

I had to stop at a bakery too, so I got a pineapple BBQ pork bun from The AA Bakery & Cafe. I love pork buns!

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Anela also recommended I get pastries in Little Italy, so off I went. I often say I don’t really like looking up recommendations because it’s more fun to find stuff on your own, but I wasn’t sure about Italian pastries, so I turned to reviews and found Stella Pasty and Cafe. Everyone seemed to recommend their Sacripantina.

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According to their site, it contains “vanilla sponge cake, zabaione (a delicate custard made with egg yolks, sweet butter, marsala and sherry wine) cream, and rum.” It was light yet rich. I could only eat about half of the piece actually.

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I knew I wanted pizza while I was there too, and I felt like looking around to see what caught my eye. Spoiler alert – it wa Golden Boy Pizza. I just liked the feeling and look of the place. Foursquare recommended the garlic clam pizza, so I went with that.

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It was a thick slice, and I put red pepper on it. It was good, although I didn’t find it amazing. Still, I liked the place enough that I might try to go back and get a different kind if I can. It was small on the inside but was covered with stickers and similar art.

I also want to mention Victoria Pastry Company. I didn’t eat there, but I got detoured as I followed the amazing smell. I just wasn’t hungry enough.

My final goal was Ghirardelli Square. Anela recommended this as well, although I’d actually been there already. However, I just love chocolate. On the way, I stopped at Dennis Rae Fine Art. They had an exhibit on the art of Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss. It was neat.

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I bought a few things to take home at Ghirardelli before purchasing a hot fudge sundae to eat! The fudge was just so awesome. I kinda sorta maybe love hot fudge.

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Even so, I couldn’t do it. There were just too many things to eat that day and not enough room in my stomach.

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Here’s a nice view from the Fisherman’s Wharf area near the San Francisco National Historic Park (or maybe it’s part of it).

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Look, a ship.

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This was a really heroic ship, but I heard it killed its family once.

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I liked the view from the end of the pier.

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Hey, it’s me!

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On my way back to the hotel, I happened to walk past Lombard Street at it’s famously twisted block. This was actually another recommendation from Anela, although I wasn’t aiming to see it this time since I’d already seen it. I just happened to walk past it, so I took a picture because of how beautiful it looked.

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I just thought this door was cool.

The welcome event for the Lithium Network Conference was held at Jillian’s. There was a variety of food and an open bar. I know what you’re thinking, but actually I only had a small glass of wine. Too exhausted, so I didn’t stay long. After a detour at Target to buy water, I went back to my room for the night.

Tuesday

Tuesday was the first actual day of the conference. After a quick breakfast, I was off to the weird introduction!

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That woman was a bunch of bananas.

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And that woman was the whole city!

The opening was about three and half hours, and it mostly talked about what customers expect from social engagement. Blah, blah, blah. You don’t care about that.

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But then there was lunch and time to socialize! Yes, some of that was through texts to home, but I also talked with some cool people at the conference.

After lunch, I went to a session on “Self service content publishing” and another on “How to get content in the right place at the right time” that were both interesting. They were more about developing applications and custom modifications to the Lithium platform, which isn’t something I have the power to go implement, but I like seeing new ways to think about the process.

The conference ended for the day with two pretty great speakers. The first was Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a free online tool for education. It originally sprang from him tutoring his cousin on the phone, then tutoring many of his cousins, then making custom tutoring software to help him tutor them, and then creating videos to help as well. I can’t really do it justice. He discussed how school goes at a certain pace for the whole class and then judges them rather than helping them master something before continuing. He wants to bring this free education to everyone in the world. It’s a beautiful idea, and a couple parts of his talk made me tear up. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

The second speaker was Orny Adams, a comedian. “Let’s talk about what we really wanna talk about. We hate our customers. Because they’re stupid.” He was joking, I swear. Yeah, he didn’t really care about crossing any lines as he also made fun of people who avoid gluten or are scared of germs (uh oh) and even had to end with some differences between men and women. He was pretty hilarious.

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That night’s party was held at City View on the fourth floor of The Metreon.

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There were a lot of people inside and out. I talked to some cool people, including a long conversation with a Greek woman who compared Greek family members with me! She’s actually a contact at Lithium I hadn’t met, so that was very cool. I also had a great conversation with a man from Zürich.

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The view was nice!

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There were oh so many desserts. Combined with all the normal food I had that night, it added up to another terrible health night.

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Oh, and then after all that I discovered more food.

Wednesday

I didn’t really take many photos this day, but I did attend sessions on “Master social lead generation” and “15 tips for new community managers.” I don’t really need sales leads, and I’m not a new community manager, but I like looking at new ways of thinking.

Later I had a meeting with my coworker, the VP of Global Strategic Accounts & Value Engineering at Lithium, the Chief Revenue Officer of Lithium, and a woman in charge of Customer Success at Lithium.

Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium, did a talk about how customers perceive brands, customer expectations, and a lot more. He wears a distinctive hat and glasses, so the conference gave a hat and glasses to everyone in attendance!

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I didn’t take the glasses since I already wear glasses, but a free hat? Sure.

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I also took an accidental selfie on the way to the BART.

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And the last photo I took in the city was this. It reminded me of the RISK! podcast.

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It was a great trip, but by the end I was exhausted and happy to get home. If only I didn’t have two work days left in the week.

Thanks for the wonderful time, Bay Area.

And the best part? I didn’t really gain much weight!

There are more photos in my Flickr album.

Kindred Throats are the best!

Kindred Throats show

Yesterday gem and I went to Hollywood for a Kindred Throats show! We saw them at the Coup de Comedy Festival, and they were amazing. They’re the sketch comedy / musical duo that sang to gem, and they were the recipients of gem’s cookies!

Kindred Throats show

Before the show, we also so much food at Hollywood Thai Restaurant. Oh my god, it was delicious.

Kindred Throats show

Eventually I dragged my bloated why-oh-why-did-I-eat-so-much body to the Comedy Central Stage at The Hudson Theatres. gem made a really awesome card for them and, of course, more cookies.

Kindred Throats show

The show was hilarious! I don’t really know how to convey how funny it is, because describing it as funny songs doesn’t really do it justice. There’s audience interaction as well, which is comedic gold. Their opening song was about how the people in the back thought they were safe. During the song, they proceeded to move everyone from the back row closer. Luckily we were already sitting in the front.

On the way out, we saw Todd, one of the members, who recognized her and thanked her for coming all the way out! Woo! She was wondering if they’d recognize her, but I’d sure recognize someone who seemed to always bring me cookies. I might be in love with food.

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day BBQ

Memorial Day weekend was pretty packed. In fact, it started before the actual weekend. Duncan and I went to happy hour at Gina’s Pizza Wednesday, which turned into a fun night. While Thursday was a nice day, Friday was busy again. That was Anela’s graduation, which I already talked about in another post.

However, when I got home, I found that my roommates were enjoying some cocktails by the fire pit outside with music. We ran out of wood to burn, so eventually Duncan started finding wood to burn in the garage – a single plank, pieces of old furniture, etc. His sword also made an appearance in an attempt to cut some wood. Not only did that fail, but the sword got damaged.

Memorial Day BBQ

Saturday night we had some people over to hang out. Alex came over, and while Haley didn’t make it, she did send a chocolate pecan pie with him. Delicious!

Memorial Day BBQ

On Sunday I went to Melody’s yoga class, which was fantastic. Later that evening, I met up some friends. Matt, Katie, and Marc were in town from Fremont so we had dinner at Umami Burger and went bowling. I was not very good at bowling, but it was great seeing them! It’s too bad I don’t get to see them more often, but I’ll actually get to see them in a few days when I go up north and stay with them for the weekend!

Memorial Day BBQ

Monday was Memorial Day, so of course we had a barbecue.

Memorial Day BBQ

gem created the jalapeño bacon s’more. Besides being incredibly spicy with all the seeds, it was very good.

Memorial Day BBQ

Did you see the piñata at the top of the post? Jessica brought a piñata. Heck yeah. We took turns swinging at it with my Anime Expo Yaoi Paddle without any of that spinning around or blindfolding nonsense. To make up for it, we had some rules about how to swing, and we also agreed to all take it easy for the first round so we could all get a chance to hit it.

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When the loop ripped off his head, we had to attach him through his butt using the hole that’s for stuffing the candy in him.

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When that tore too, we reattached him again with a sort of makeshift noose from duct tape.

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gem earned first blood.

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When the legs were torn from the rest of the body, we decided to burn them.

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gem had to show off her spoils of war.

Jessica made the candy pour out, and then it was time to collect!

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Once all the candy was bashed out of it, we roasted the carcass. I felt like a true Greek – a feast and a burning sacrifice.

Oh, but what about the head?

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Our prize was mounted.

It’s quite fitting for Robot House.