Here are a collections of pictures taken over the past couple of weekends. I went diving with a co-worker on the 4th. On the 11th, Angel, Nicky, Terry, and I went to a Clippers’ game courtesy of a co-worker of Terry’s who had the tickets and wasn’t planning on using them. This past weekend, the east coast crew came out for a visit; they flew in Thursday night and flew out on Monday morning.
For my dive on the 4th, I brought my strobe, however, I had forgotten to bring along batteries for it so the pictures I took underwater were not the greatest. So here are some pictures form the surface. While waiting for my co-worker to gear up, I watched a pack of little birds walking along the beach picking at food just under the sand as the waves receded. It was cool to watch.
The 11th found the wetback, porch monkey, whitey half breed, and the chunk (what do you call a fat chink…) out to the Staples center for the Clippers’ game. I mean, really, not many people in LA give a rats ass about the Clips, but there are some hard core fans. This was Terry’s first live basketball game. The tickets were free, so what the hell. It was a fun night out. Clips lost, as if this wasn’t already a given.
And now for this past weekends activities. Brian, Ka, and Charlie flew out here Thursday evening and landed at LAX at 10:34PM. I had just gotten onto the I105 and was heading towards the airport in my mom’s Honda Odyssey (my car stayed parked in their garage for the weekend while they let me use the minivan). The cheesecakes I had baked were taken out 15 minutes ago and are cooling. I get to the airport and call up Charlie to see if Brian has gotten his checked bags; a response in the negative directed me to park the mini van as opposed to just picking them up off the curb. The urge to empty the contents of my bladder also helped me decide that I should park the car. I head into the terminal and evacuate the liquids in my rather full bladder. Then I head out and walk towards the crowd of people standing around an oval metal ring that is the baggage carousel. I spot Brian as he’s fairly tall; he’s facing the carousel. Using him as a center point and radiating out slightly, I find Ka and Charlie standing with their backs facing me. I walk up slowly and quietly and stop right between the two; and after a few moments, they both turn to look at the person who had just violated their perceived sphere of personal space. Ka smiles and Charlie hits me; but I get a hug soon enough. Brian spots us as well. Bags are gotten, and we head to the parked minivan and we head to my house.
The OK hand gesture game is already in full swing. In the car I had picked up some Kyochon spicy fried chicken wings as a little snack for the folks that can handle the spice. Soon enough, Brian and Charlie are taking little breaks from the wings to let their taste buds recover before violating them again with the hot Korean style fried chicken. We stop at my local In & Out for a little late night snack. I hadn’t had the chance to eat dinner so I was fairly hungry. After the quick bite to eat we head home. We are greeted by the excited corgis. I give a quick tour of the house, and finish getting a few things ready for bed. Ka and Charlie take the guest bedroom and Brian stays in my room. Everyone is fairly tired from a full day of work and the east coast crew more so from that and a 5 hour flight out; we call it a night.
I wake up around 7 am, and get out of bed as I see Charlie get up and use the restroom. I head to my workshop room and do a few things online, check my email, post a few responses, etc. The plan for the day was to get scuba gear for Brian and do a few dives. I make some breakfast for everyone, French toast using the butter bread from Mitsuwa, some grilled peppers, and grilled Italian sausage. Brian is awake and stealing pieces of food off the grill while I’m busy working the French Toast. Some heavy whipping cream, splash of vanilla extract, and a splash of Amaretto are beat together with the eggs for the French toast. Ka is woken up and we sit and enjoy breakfast. Brian and I get ready for diving and the four of us head out to the local dive shop to get some equipment. The minivan comes very handy as all our gear and four adults wouldn’t be as comfortable crammed into my little scion. Additionally, the suspension of the minivan helps with folks that get motion sickness – which would occur more readily in my scion.
I borrowed Stan’s tank and we got it filled and Brian picked up his gear. He fitted a wetsuit and finding that it fit decently, bought that and a set of gloves. We loaded the car up and headed to Shaw’s cove. At Shaw’s, we parked and geared up. Walking towards the entrance to the beach, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my strobe which was in the car, but feeling lazy, I just left it there and we headed to the beach. Brian was carrying a bag with some of his gear while I was fully geared up. We get down to the beach and Brian fully gears up. The girls lay down a blanket and we wave goodbye and give them an approximate time frame for our dive; and head in. The waves are about knee to waist high, so the entry was very easy. We get in and kick out a ways to get to our dive spot. I haven’t dived at Shaws for quite a bit, so I was excited. Resting after our kick out, we air out and drop into the water. Visibility is about 10 feet, and there is a little bit of surge.
I take Brian through the reef and see urchins, Garibaldi, sea stars, a brittle star, a moray eel, and a giant sheep crab. We take a swim through and the surge propels us to and fro in the narrow underwater canyon. We hit upon a sheep crap resting in the sand. It reacts to our presence, so I pull out my knife and pick a fight. I film the exchange and Brian pulls his knife and I back away. The crab feeling threatened, starts backing away. We play with it for a little long then head on to other things. I see a moray eel deep in a hole, but Brian is unable to see it. We head back to the center of the cove and suddenly, I lose Brian. I look around a bit and surface, but I see nothing. I drop back down and head out to the southern side of the cove and pop up, he’s about 50 yards away, closer to the shore; and I see that the girls are on the reef look in the tide pools. Brian waves and we signal that we are each ok, and I kick in towards him. Getting to him, he tells me that he’s not used the surge, and while trying to follow me, He suddenly lost me with the surge. I tell him that I’ll slow down on our next dive. I’m too used to swimming fast. We kick in and meet up with the women. Charlie tells me that she noticed Brian popping up and me popping up at different locations and asks what happened. I relay the story and her first response was that I wasn’t going to go night diving the next night. That she and Ka had already discussed it and it was decided. Very cute and thoughtful of her.
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Walking back to the car we get a bit winded. Brian isn’t used to carrying the gear up and down from the beach as I have become accustomed to doing on beach dives. We get to the car and gear down leaving our boots and wetsuits. The empty tanks are placed at the bottom and we pile in and head towards treasure island for or next dive.
The girls like this dive spot better. We gear back up and get into the water shortly. I bring the goodies bag in case we find tasty sea creatures. Underwater, we head around the reef. Visibility is a little worse than at Shaw’s. There has been an abandoned lobster trap, and inside is a fairly large lobster. nothing we can do about it as it’s someone’s trap and it’s not lobster season, so we move on. Brian points out a wall of sea stars. Very impressive. I set my camera, this time I remembered to bring the strobe. I pick a few scallops and grabbed a sea urchin. I also broke open a scallop and fed some of the wandering fish. We didn’t see as much as we did at Shaws, but we have some scallops and an urchin for later that evening. The walk back up to the car is a little more daunting that Shaw’s, so Brian was visible winded after climbing the set of stairs that run up the cliff side. Looking at the clock, it’s now 3:30. I had told Jay and Hsiang Wei to meet up at the house around 4. There was no way in hell I was going to make that so I give Jay a call and just tell him to go over to my house to meet up with Hsiang Wei without me.
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Traffic in Laguna was horrible. But we made it out and headed to the Costa Mesa Mistuswa branch for lunch (at about 5PM). Ramen at Santouka “volcano head” was good, and having our fill, we did some pastry shopping and headed back towards home. With four empty tanks, we dropped by the scuba shop to get filled. Brian swapped out weight belts going from 24 lbs to 20 lbs. On the last dive, he was having trouble with dialing in his buoyancy. With the tanks filled, we finally headed back to the house. We get there around 6:30. Jay is there and so is Dave. Helen gets home soon while we’re still unloading the car. The dive gear is soaked and hung to dry, and I hit the shower to wash off the smell of the sea. People introduce themselves. Helen asks the two girls if they wanted to go to the mall. Ka is fairly tired so I suggest she go and take a nap. I still need to go grocery shopping for the following night’s dinner so I get ready to leave. Charlie tells me she wants to come along. I tell Brian I’m taking off to buy food and tell him to hang out and at the house as Ka’s going to take a nap. This is our first time we’re alone. Leaving the house around 7:15, I head towards the costco in Industry as the local Asian supermarkets aren’t the greatest places for food in terms of freshness and such. After hitting up costco, I ask Charlie if she’d like to meet my parents as they’re just up the street. I give them a call and let them know I’m dropping by. We hang out there for a few minutes before heading back out to finish the grocery shopping. I pick up a rather large chunk of Chilean sea bass, some Korean BBQ short ribs, and tofu.
Back at the house, Angel and Nicky are there hanging out, Nicky by the fireplace while Angel is at the dining room table working on a kit. Dave is working as well. Jay’s just hanging out with Brian. Brian’s stuff is out, but he’s not working on jack crap. It’s 9PM. Helen’s friend Susan comes over. Brandon pops in, and soon, Pete, Kris, and Kris’s classmate/friend Shauna comes over as well. I wonder where Terry is and give him a call and as the phone rings, he steps through the front door. Helen orders some pizza, and I get to shucking the scallops. The women folk are treated to seeing the scallops react to the garlic/sake/spices mixture applied to their exposed shells before being steamed. The 5 scallops are shared with most of the folks there, most folks getting a quarter to a half. The urchin is cracked open and the eggy orange goodness is scooped out carefully with a spoon. When asked what it tastes like, the simple reply of “the ocean” is given. A few people enjoy it, a few other do not. Rockband is kicked on and we start playing. Shauna has a beautiful voice as she sings an AC/DC song. I grab the mic and belt out Skullcrusher Mountain as Pete and crew have never heard it before. Damn awesome song. Brandon sings the next two songs with Pearl Jam’s Black – which just calls Terry over to grab the guitar, and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing is sung by Brandon doing his best falsetto. We continued to play rockband for a little bit longer. Folks started leaving around 11, and by 12 everyone was gone except Brandon who was crashing at the house and the East Coast crew. Brian and Ka go off to bed in their respective rooms, and I head to the workshop room with Charlie and we hang out watching TV in there until about 2. I would have liked to hang out with her longer but she was visibly tired and I needed to wake up early in the morning to dive with Brian, we go to sleep.
Brian and I wake up at 6, and get ready. We’re at the beach by 7:30. Stan is already there; and the parking garage is packed with the weekly AA meetings that happen on the beach. We find parking in the uncovered areas and gear up. Since the goal today was to just grab scallops, I didn’t bother bringing the camera. Brian, Stan, and I are in the water by 8. It’s damn cold. The three of us kick out and get ready to drop. Stan and I drop and meet at the bottom while Brian is still struggling. I head up to see what’s wrong and he says that he’s unable to drop. We had swapped out weight belts the day before. The problem between the two dives the day prior is the tank. The first dive was done with an aluminum tank that is negatively buoyant when empty, and in general, more buoyant than a steel tank. The second dive was done with a steel tank. I removed three lbs from my weight set on my left side and handed the weight to Brian for him to place it into his BCD’s pocket. He’s unable to see his pocket so he holds on to the weight while I reattach my weight system. I drop down a bit and place the weight into the BC’s pocket, and we reattempt the drop. He’s able to drop down this time. However, once down we are unable to find Stan. So we surface again to look for him on the surface. Stan surfaces and the three of use drop. We are successful this time. I didn’t bring the camera this time as I was after scallops for the night’s dinner. However, I had forgotten my knife and I’m using Brian’s knife. We go by the lobster cage and see that a second lobster has joined the first from the day before. Unable to do anything, we move on and start looking for scallops.
Brian now knows what to look for and is spotting scallops of decent size here and there. Stan is taking pictures while Brian scan the walls for the bivalves. I get a load of 9 scallops and signal to everyone that it’s time to leave. On our swim back, I spot a small skate and point it out to Brian who points it to Stan. A skate is the one thing I haven’t taken a picture of, and the one time I catch one resting for a decent amount of time, I don’t have the bloody camera with me, figures. Stan is unable to get his camera out in time to snap a shot and all of a sudden he disappears. Brian and I look around for him, but are unable to find him so we head back and when we surface, he’s already on the surface near the entry point. We kick in and finish our dive.
Back at the house, the girls and Brandon are ready for food, so Brian and I quickly clean off our gear and ourselves. We are a little late as folks are taking their time putting on lotion while being mesmerized by some tv show. We meet up with my parents for dim sum at their favorite dim sum restaurant. Charlie’s previous comments that she doesn’t eat tripe are found to be baseless. We end up polishing off a little over 30 plates of food. Stuffed, we head to the Renaissance Faire. We get there a little past 2. I’m the only one in the group dressed. Yeah, like this hasn’t happened before. Dave and Erin are running a little late. Terry and Jay have bailed, but we still have a decent group. Not much to say about the Renaissance faire; standard games, shops, and entertainment shows. The Broon show was entertaining, and the Van Kleaver Brothers was passable. The one show we were pulled into sucked, and within 3 minutes of sitting and listening, we got up and left. I want my damn quarter! A Chinese couple ran up to me and wanted to take a picture with me in my little getup. Another lady bowed. I know it’s role playing and stuff, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t get creeped out by it still. We leave the fair around 6:45, and get home in half an hour.
The day is non stop, I immediately wash up and get started on making dinner. My parents show up and my mom helps out in the kitchen. ka and Charlie are taking orders and helping me out as well. Ka shelled and butterflied the shrimp. I had Charlie marinate the Chilean sea bass in some miso dressing. Brian got tasked to shuck the scallops. It was very cool. I felt like I was some Iron chef with a bunch of little underling chefs doing my bidding. With the fish seasoned, I fired up a pan and set to cooking the fish. I showed Charlie how to fry the shrimp and set her at that task. Ka helped wash the baby bok choi. The Korean BBQ ribs were grilled then thrown into the oven to finish. Four huge slabs of sea bass were plated up. The tofu was cut and plated up. Asparagus was stir fried with some garlic. The baby bok choi was stir fried in a similar manner but a splash of ponzu sauce adds some tangy saltiness to the dish as well as differentiates it from the asparagus dish. The final dish of fried shrimp with salted eggs was completed and plated up. The scallops were placed into the steamer, and dinner was ready. Even with eight people eating dinner, we still had plenty of leftovers. Dessert was the cheesecake that I baked two nights prior.
My parents hung out for a little while before leaving. Brandon took off a short time after dinner. With everyone gone, the four of use took the dogs out for a while in the neighborhood, through the local part so that Beanie can play on the slide. Getting back to the house, I finally get some time to unwind from the very long day. A shower helped to make me feel human again. Brian decided to crash early as he was beat tired. Charlie wanted to watch a movie so we popped in Infernal Affairs (the story that the Departed was based on). Ka decided to turn in as well, so it was just Charlie and I. We finished Infernal Affairs around 2, and decided to pop in Infernal Affairs 3, as 2 was more character development and historical information, and in general comparison, the weakest of the three films. Charlie ended up falling asleep through most of the movie, waking up every now and again. We finally called it a night at 4 am.
I had my alarms set for 10 and 10:30. I got out of bed at 10:30; Brian was already up and reading in bed. ka was outside in the living room reading on the couch. With everyone up, I called up Angel to see if he was interested in having Dim Sum with us. He asked Nicky and in the distance, I hear a very loud “YES”, so I tell him we’ll pick him up when we leave my place. I had forgotten that it was game 1 for the Lakers/Jazz payoff series. Helen joins us this time, and after we pick up Angel and Nicky, We head back to the same restaurant as the previous day and run into my parents eating with their friends. We get a table shortly and have lunch. Not eating as much as the previous day, but still getting fairly full.
After lunch, we do a little shopping for a kitchen utensil that Ka saw me using at my house. My mom wanted one as well, so we picked one up for her. We headed to one of the local bake shops and Ka picked up some buns. We all then headed back to Angels to catch the final few minutes of the Lakers’ game. After the game ends, Nicky shows Ka and Helen the ps3 game Little Big Planet, while I relax in Angel’s hobby room with Charlie watching the last third of “the Rookie”. Dropping off Helen back home, we head back to my mom’s place; as we’re having dinner with them that evening. Odd that the time spent between meals seems like filler. My mom made some water cres soup and handed bowls out to Ka, Charlie and me. Ka had a second bowl. Dinner was back at the same restaurant as the previous two dim sum runs. Ka is impressed with the food, and we’re using it as leverage to entice them to move out here.
Dinner was a great time, and my mom was very nice in picking up the tab. Uncle Johnson has find a kindred spirit in Charlie when he found out that she enjoyed salted fish as much as he did. Uncle Johnson, finding out that Charlie and Brian enjoyed eating salted fish, he went and ordered a plate of fried salted fish to go along with the order of salted fish with chicken friend rice. The two of them ate 4 pieces each of the dish, a third for each. That’s so crazy. We also got a special baked dessert for the evening.
Getting home, the second attempt at watching Infernal Affairs III for Charlie and I failed yet again as I kept nodding off as well did Charlie. Ka and Brian watched the entire thing. I called it a night and just went to bed as the movie was heading towards the end. Monday morning, I took the crew to LAX and said good bye, getting in several “OK” catches on Charlie. Who knows when I’ll get to see her next.
All in all, the weekends in April have been very busy. This Saturday is the monthly model build gathering, so even towards the end of this month, I’m still full up on the bloody schedule.
More pictures from the above events and larger versions of the above videos are here: