Sunday, January 31, 2010

Project 365: Day 26

I am watching the Grammy awards for the first time in a long time and I must say that Catnipped is totally right about Taylor Swift's inability to sing live. She missed a lot of notes and her voice seemed strained through most of her performance. The tribute to MJ was pretty awesome and Bon Jovi brought back a lot of Rock Band memories!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Project 365: Day 25

Visiting friends is always fun and today in the midst of apartment hunting, we again visited our friend from Kazakhstan who decided to cook a homemade meal for us. I am not sure what it was called, but they were these Russian meatballs mixed with rice with a wonderful glaze served with made-from-scratch mashed potatoes. They were so good that I wasn't able to take any pictures before they were all gone. Instead, here is a picture of what was left of the desserts. One highlight of the meal was when I was asked to open a bottle of wine with a can opener.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Project 365: Day 24

Tochi suggested that I take pictures of signs we don't follow. While this picture is probably exceptionally uncreative, I feel the irony speaks for itself!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Project 365: Day 23

Since the introduction of PP, I find myself spending a lot more of my time in the malls..curiously enough. I am sure everyone has had this experience at one point or another. You have 5 or 6 bags of all different sizes and weights and as you struggle with carrying all of them, the bags slowly dig into your hands, tiring them out a lot faster than usual until you cannot feel the circulation at all. Well, I had a great idea to create an ergonomic handle where you can simply string all the bags together and carry it with the handle. This was supposed to be my ticket to fame and fortune. Unfortunately..someone apparently invented it first...sigh. Now I know what Lemon feels like with his accelerometers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Project 365: Day 22

The yogurt in China is so different from the ones here in the US. Especially the yogurt that is sold in little stands in Beijing. Just a bit sour but oh so good! We were shopping one day at Welcome Food Market when I noticed this little girl with these in her shopping basket. We bought 2 ourselves and they taste JUST like the ones in Beijing...soo good. Now this is pretty much the only yogurt we keep around the house.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project 365: Day 21

My trusty mouse. It has been with me through so many years. The good games, the horrible games. Now we embark on the journey known as Mass Effect 2. Am I just a little weird talking like this? Yes, but Mass Effect 2 will do that!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Project 365: Day 20

So...tired...from hot yoga...So here's a picture I took at the Magic Kingdom.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 19

Stafford is a decent enough place to live, but it's not exactly trendy or exciting. It tends to get pretty boring living here after a while and PP and I are considering moving out to somewhere closer to uptown. It will be a shorter commute and hopefully a slightly more exciting lifestyle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Project 365: Day 18

Mmmm, desserts. I am actually enrolled in the company biggest loser competition again this year. However...this fruit custard pie was just too good to refuse....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 17

At long last, after 160+ hours, I finally finished Dragon Age: Origins. Even after putting so much time into it, there were still a lot of different dialogue trees I missed because I took the goodie-goodie route and basically kept a static party of Alistair, Leliana, and Wrynne. If I have the time, I would like to go through it again to explore more of the evil choices, but alas, Mass Effect 2 is right around the corner!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 16

PP is putting in a 3-year commitment to get her CFA. She was waffling back and forth because of the total time commitment needed, but eventually she convinced herself it was worth it career-wise to take the CFA examinations. Unfortunately, she had no time to rest as the CFA people immediately sent her exam material for her to get started on the studying. No rest for the weary.

Project 365: Day 15

Houston weather is amusing. Freezing one week, warm and temperatures in the 70s another. This is just a picture of downtown Houston taken while I waited for my bus. My office is the one on the far right.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project 365: Day 14

IKEA has been a pretty good place for us. Both our computer, living, and bedrooms have furniture bought from IKEA. It does take a little extra work to assemble all the furniture but that is totally half the fun. Nothing like a lot of cursing, sweating, and sometimes bleeding to help you bond with your furniture!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 13

Day 2 of hot yoga seemed a lot more of a sweat bath than the first. I was literally drenched with sweat after the class. My clothes were completely soaked including my shorts. I was totally thirsty coming back and just couldn't resist going to taco bell for a diet Dr. Pepper. Ahhhh....tastes just like regular Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 12

I experienced or shall I say, survived my first hot yoga session. Yes, I know, my mind was filled with visions of Yoga Fire and Yoga Flame while sliding under fireballs as well, but alas, it wasn't nearly as flashy. Basically, the room is set at 105 degrees and you go through a set of 26 positions, each stretching a different set of muscles. It was basically yoga combined with sauna. A sweaty good time for all! Going back for more tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 11

Anyone in the market for a certified (by me) pre-owned 2001 Nissan Altima? Only 125k miles and runs great! It's a handyman's dream vehicle!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Project 365: Day 10

PP has lots of earrings and accessories for her outfits. She always has the right pair for the right occasion. Of course she has almost lost several from multiple pairs, but a wonderfully awesome person always seems to find them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 9

Most people know that I have a soft spot for playing cards. I usually try to get them as souvenirs from places I have been or from places that other friends visit. I couldn't find where I put the other sets, but this is probably a large portion of the total number of decks that I have. =)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 8

"It's not's busy!" Yes, yes, it sure is busy. This is PP's desk located in the computer room. The walls are painted "Classic Yellow" from the recent renovations and feel very warm and vibrant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Project 365: Day 7

This is our living room, painted in "dancing green" The couch is newly acquired from Rooms-To-Go and is really comfortable. Plenty of room for the next VO!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 6

我家欢迎你!! As you can see, the full force of assorted stuffed animals at the ole homestead. Santa Bear smothers enemies with his jolly goodness, Jingjing obliterates foes with his power of happiness, Wells Fargo Horse devastates with ummm.. stuff, and Snow Man has his stare of doom.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Project 365: Day 5

It was something like 20 degrees last night and this morning the fountain outside our subdivision was nice and iced over. I wouldn't say it makes a good ice skating rink or anything, but the ice is pretty visible.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Project 365: Day 4

Mother Nature decided to wreak havoc on our plumbing system by freezing a major valve in our sprinkler system. Needless to say, the valve was held together by 3 plastic supports and all 3 snapped off like twigs from being made brittle by the freeze. We came back from shopping today to find a nice new water fountain in our backyard. In this picture you can see the remains of the valve on the ground next to the pipes.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Project 365: Day 3

Houston is not exactly synonymous with frigid temperatures but this week has been extremely cold. Supposedly, it's the lowest temperature it has been in 20 years. I swear, I saw some penguins moving onto my lawn.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Project 365: Day 2

Surprise surprise...another picture of a bedroom. Yes, I know, very uncreative. But give me a break, it's freezing outside!! Anyhow, this is the guest bedroom, painted "Uber." No one currently lives here, so it serves as PP's personal closet =)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Inspired by jOrange..Project365

jOrange is on a project to take 1 picture each day for 1 year. Since I am new to photography, he recommended I do the same. Without further to do, here is Day 1:

This is a picture of our bedroom, painted "Cozy." Disregard the wine glass and multiple bottles on the window sill. I assure you we are not rampant alcoholics..yet.

Project Orlando: Day 1-Epcot Center

Woke up at 5:00 am so that we could get to the airport on time for our 7:40 am flight. We opted to park our car at Park and Fly 2 since we saw a big sign that said covered parking for only $6 a day! Turns out that all the covered parking was full so we ended up parking on a huge patch of grass next to the lot. The area was originally fenced off since it was under construction, but apparently, business was so good that the owners actually cut big holes in the chain-linked fence to allow cars to park on the field.

The flight was uneventful and we got into Orlando and learned of our strict travel schedule. After dropping off our luggage, we were off to Epcot Center. I had remembered coming here when I was 8 years old and the only thing I really remembered was the symbolic sphere in front.

For whatever reason, I really didn't find Epcot Center all that fun. We didn't know how to take advantage of the "Speed Pass" system yet while most of the rides or attractions had really long lines and were pretty bland with the one exception being Journey to Mars. This ride actually offered two options: a green one for less intense and an orange one for more intense. It was so intense that they had barf bags inside the ride in case you had to throw up during the ride. Being the daredevils we were, we opted for the more intense version and it was fantastic. While M and PP really didn't like it as much, I totally loved the feeling of being exposed to G-forces.

The ride basically made you feel like you were being blasted off in a rocket headed to Mars, orbited Mars in Zero-G conditions, then made a crash landing onto the Mars surface. Each person was given some small task to do which boiled down to pushing some buttons, but the actions had no effect on what happened during the ride. The only thing I would complain about the ride was that it was so short considering the hour or so we waited in line. It was just getting fun when all of a sudden it ended.

We made the rounds through the park, stopping off at some of the "must see" attractions that the tour group had recommended. These included a piece on Norway featuring Viking culture and another on Canada which was in a panoramic theater. While the presentations were good, none of it really stood out as being very entertaining. We ate some expensive noodles/sushi in the section dedicated to Japan then walked around some more until we felt like going home.

Since we were not supposed to go to Epcot the first day, there was no transportation from the tour company. We ended up taking a huge roundabout trip on the Disney shuttles and finally taking a cab from Downtown Disney.

Project Orlando: Overview

It has been a while since I blogged anything. Mostly I was too lazy, but perhaps with the New Year, I will be re-energized to blog more. The Orlando trip during Christmas was pretty fun, but was also a trying time because of a pretty big mistake with the planning: Using a travel agency.

Originally the plan was to get hotel/rental car separately so we had some freedom in where to go. But, at the last moment, I was convinced to go with a travel package that included transportation and hotel at a good price. Unfortunately for us, the package was from some Chinese travel service that loved to skimp corners.

1. Our tickets were "Youth" tickets. This meant that we could not take advantage of the "add a day" pricing plan that all the Disney parks offered. Basically, "add a day" allowed anyone to add more days onto a ticket for significantly less each day. Instead of paying $40 or so for adding Epcot to our travels, we had to pay the full $75 per person

2. Our "hotel" was dirty, loud, and filled with tourists. Because of the tourism, it lead to a very interesting "Taxi" adventure on Day 5.

3. The provided transportation was strictly based on the travel agencies' schedule. this meant we had no freedom in planning our trip and if we wanted to go anywhere else or visit the parks in a different order, we had to pay for our own transportation.

4. Mandatory "tip" of $3 per person, per trip for the drivers. Considering that each morning we had to use them to get to the parks then each night use them to get back, we had to pay $18 per day.

Besides the travel agency headaches, we also didn't realize just how cold Orlando would get. I had checked the weather beforehand, and saw the forecast was going to be several degrees warmer than Houston so we packed light sweater and jackets. Then a cold front came in which caused mornings and evenings to be bitterly cold.

Overall though, the experience was positive and we had a lot of fun. Our plan for the 5 days was as follows:

Day 1: Travel/Half day at Epcot
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Day 3: Universal Studios
Day 4: Animal Kingdom
Day 5: Orlando Outlet/Travel