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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dat Boring Work Stuff

I have been busy with work so I have not had much time to update blog. RyanC must have felt my busy absence so he started waking up in the middle of the night... or maybe he wakes up because his room becomes super dry due to recent near-freezing weather in Fort Collins. We have a humidifier in his room but it is still dry in there sometimes.

Recently RyanC and I have been playing the following games whenever I am home:
1) catch - i throw RyanC the ball and he lets it fall in between his hands most of the time
2) ride the pig - RyanC sits on my back with his teddy bear while I crawl around the floor
3) balance - RyanC stands on my back and I try to wiggle him off
4) fetch - RyanC pulls me to the fridge, points at the freezer and then wait for me to open it to grab the Vanilla Swiss Almond ice-cream for him.

AidanC seems to recognize me more and more quickly nowadays -- despite my time away from home. He smiles and laughs whenever he sees me. I'm a happy daddy :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Tuesday night is all-you-can eat sushi buffet night at Japango in Boulder. I had never been there myself but I had heard good things. Since I hadn't eaten volume sushi in a while so I organized a trip with others to go stuff ourselves silly. We had a total of 5 people car-pooling to Boulder from Fort Collins in one 4 Runner. It took about an hour to get to Denver and we got there at ~6:45pm..

Japango does not take reservations but they will take your info down if you call ahead. I am not sure how it really works but we called ahead anyways. After arriving at the restaurant, we were initially told that there would be a 20 minute wait. However, that 20 minute turned into 30-40 minutes when the table that was supposed to be cleared ordered more food. We didn't get to eat until after 7:30pm...

Here is a link that shows a very detailed menu. I like its format better than the official link here. The all-you-can-eat meal is ~$28 and you can pick anything from the menu with the exception of sashimi and maybe some entrees. They have been raising price each year recently since it was ~$24 a few years back -- or so I was told by someone that had been there.

The restaurant is not too big but it was cozy. We read the rules page that essentially said we will be charged $0.50/roll for food ordered but not eaten. That meant we couldn't just pick every item in the menu. See, they don't have a buffet setting where you have to go up to pick whatever food you like. We had to fill out these order forms , which were pretty easy except for the different choices that required time to consider. So we orderd most of the rolls and some appetizers in the first round.

I had ordered myself a seared tuna salad while others got seaweed salad. The seared tuna salad was very fresh and flavorful -- though I was starving so my taste buds might be biased. Then the tempuras, rolls, dynamite, and other dishes showed up... filling the little table we shared. It seemed so daunting that I wondered if we will have left-overs. However, we devoured the food in record time. Our waitress commented that we were like professionals -- i think she meant like those that compete in food eating contest. I really liked the dynamite (mix of seafood/mushroom in a shallow plate that had a tingy spicy flavor), unagi (fresh water eel), spider rolls (called Washington DC roll here), and seared tuna with tempura. The raw sushi rolls were okay too -- but I ate too quickly to taste them. Some liked the waitress but she was not part of the buffet.

Our 2nd order consisted of the better tasting choices from the first round except I added grilled squid dish to the mix. That grilled squid was pretty good. I haven't had grilled squid in years! I had wanted to try more different dishes but somehow the order form was quickly returned to the waitress...

At this time, we were starting to be full... yet there were so many dishes we hadn't tried. We started looking at the "steak" section and wondering how it was prepared. Our fine waitress explained that she thinks the beef steaks were the best deal since they were $24 each -- great, she tells us this when we were almost done! So we tried the beef steak, tuna steak, and some spicy squid for the final round. They were delicious! The beef was really tender and the tuna did not come with rice (pretty much like sashimi!). I wish we had gotten them earlier... maybe next time!

Overall, I would say it was a worthwhile all-you-can-eat buffet. I did not eat as much raw fish as I had originally planned but it was still enjoyable. It did take us a total of ~5 hours counting the traveling time though. We need one of these in Fort Collins!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bounce vs Macy's

Took RyanC to Bounce! while wife, AidanC and mother-in-law went to Macy's. RyanC is still under 2 so it costs $3 to play on these inflatable playgrounds.

There were a lot of kids at Bounce! RyanC was intimidated by other bigger kids running and bouncing all over the place. I had to keep an eye on the little boy since others can easily jump on him while he struggles to climb over the barriars. RyanC only spent spent an hour there playing with 3-4 playgrounds before wanting to head outside. That certainly was not part of my plan since I had planned on staying there for 2-3 hours while the rest of the family shopped.

I then took RyanC to meet up with da family at Macy's. RyanC pointed to the escalator as soon as he saw it and wanted me to let him down. I had heard wife talk about his fascination with escalator in the last visit so I held his hand and went up and down the escalators. He was so happy! He climbed up and down with seemingly unlimited energy. It was good that the escalators were positioned in such a way that one has to walk to the other side to go up/down -- so we took a slightly different route each time. While we were on these little detours, RyanC showed interests in these stuffed labpoodles, cooking equipments, Godiva chocolates and wallets/bags. He also wanted these $.25 white mint-like candy balls filled in this candy machine. Cheap daddy didn't buy him anything.

I was tired after another 90 minutes of escalator climbing. I tried resting on the escalators but the boy wanted to move on the escalators. As soon as we get off the escalators, he'd turn to me and want me to hold/carry him to the other side before slipping to the ground as we near the escalator again. Oh, almost forgot, RyanC also tried every little chair we came across. It was funny seeing him sitting on these chairs like a little king. I think I had more fun walking around Macy's with him than trying to watch him among the other kids.

Next time we will just take him to the escalators instead of Bounce!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Full Moon

Yesterday was the mid-autumn full moon according to Chinese calendar. When I was a kid, I used to look forward to full-moon festival for the moon-cakes and the fireworks. Now I barely pay attention to it other than noticing the moon is full.

Tonight I tried to take some pictures of the moon and ended up confirming I am not yet proficient enough to take night photos. I think this is mostly because I have not learned how to use manual exposure (among other things) so most of the picture showed overly exposed moon. Here is the only shot that looked more like a moon (cropped and post-processed since my 30mm lens does not zoom):

A car drove by and stopped in front of our house for a minute -- probably wondering what I was doing with a tripod and camera in the middle of the night.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Know the rules

I got home late tonight. It's starting to get hectic at work again...

RyanC was done with dinner and was already eating grapes. He had pushed the chair to the kitchen sink area and climbed on top of the chair to help grandma wash grapes and eats them right there. He gave me this big smile as he quickly stuffed another grape into his mouth. Usually he comes running towards me to give me a hug as I get home. No hug for daddy until he got done with the grapes. AidanC was in the swing and giggled/smiled as I played with him a little. It's always nice to see da boys in a happy mood.

I told wife that JAM , who lives near by, needs my help with installing his new computer tonight so I have to go over after dinner.

Wife asked "Don't you have fat camp tonight?"
I said "Yeah, but I am not going."
She responded "That's right."

I know the rules. I can go to fat camp but just not every week. :)

Then wife asked "Why doesn't JAM know how to put together a computer?"
I clarified "He has never done it before and he also bought a different memory than what he was suppsoed to get to save money so I need to bring mine over just in case."
She commented "I thought engineers would know how to buy the right components."

I thought back to the time when wife bought the right potable water expansion tank without matching the detailed spec and decided to ask wife about dinner instead.

After dinner I headed over to JAM's to help setup his system. It turns out that he already had most of the connections done. We double-checked the work and decided to plug the power. The first push on power button resulted in nothing. Dead silence. Well, maybe not dead silence since we hear a light squeak. I was starting to think maybe he has a bad power supply since they usually fail more often than other components. Yet I noticed the motherboard's green light was on so that seemed unlikely.

After spending 15 minutes checking more connections and unplugging some other components, we dicussed moving the supply to another machine to make sure it's really working right but thought we would measure the voltage output first. While JAM went to get his digital volt meter (I don't even have one yet), I decided to try a few more things and check a few cables. That's when I noticed the 4-pin power connector had two branches on this power supply and the 2nd branch was hiding behind the CPU fan that I couldn't see from where I had been sitting. Hmm... that's weird. I pulled it out to exam them and found one had label and one didn't. The one without label was plugged in. The one that said "P2" (I assume that meant power-supply connection #2) was not. I plugged in the P2 connection, turned on the power and tada! The fans came on and the machine started booting. I felt like an idiot for not catching this sooner. Well, I am used to this since I do this a lot at work and still get paid for it...

It turns out that JAM got lucky and his memory works fine on this motherboard. He saved $80-100 by buying this out-of-spec memory. Well, if he had listened to my warning about recent memory price hikes a few weeks back then he could have paid the same amount for faster memory -- just like mine. Timing is important... just like knowing when to ask about going to fat camp.

As I left for home, I looked at the time (30 minutes after fat camp starts) and wondered how the guys were doing. Maybe next week...