Tuesday, August 31, 2004

one more post before the month is over

so it finally looks like my back is showing signs of improvement this week to where i'm not limping into the office. and maybe by next week, i can start slowly making my way to the gym again. every time something happens to my back, i have to take about a month off, and i feel like my muscles are whitering away and turning into soft jello. too bad it happened at the worst time of the year...twice this summer. i always look forward to not having to wait around in rimac. hopefully this exercise fad has blown over some and people will be doing diets like atkins or the likes off to where they won't need to come to the gym. no disrespect to the ones who are committed to the gym on a long term basis. i'm only complaining about the ones who make it to the gym every day for the first week or two, wear themselves out, then never come again...achieving nothing while crowding the gym for everyone. well, i'll have to see how my back feels next week.

i'm not 26....wow...that's 2 years older than people who i used to think was really old when i was about 16 years old. i celebrated my birthday at pampas argentine grill. 22 people including myself and erik and judy's baby were able to make it. pampas used to be a place where you could get a prime grade filet mignon for about $22....an awesome deal, and now they charge $30 which is what you expect to pay, and makes that restaurant just another restaurant you can only go to on special occasions....not when you're craving filet mignon. pity. the restaurant has new management...and it just happens that the new owner is nguyen's friend at his other work...who has been given this restaurant by his aunt. wow, i wish i had an aunt that gave me my favorite steak house as a gift. can't blame him for the price increase, and it doesn't look like it hasn't really hurt their business at all. i just can't see myself going there any more than once or twice a year.

another place i've been frequenting is sycuan for their prime rib buffet. it used to be $12 which used to be a steal, and now its $15, which is still good deal for all you can eat prime rib (certified angus prime grade meat). now that the casinos are smoke free, it just makes it all that much better. another reason i will go here other than bully's is that i'm tired of their shit for service. i've figured out how to get what i want from bullys. first you gotta go there, put your name down. then when they try to seat you in the back patio, you gotta tell them you want a booth instead. they used to give you pretty good bread. then they decided to not make fresh bread any more, and give you some day old bread whenever possible. now you actually have to pay for bread, and people usually say yes when they ask you if you want garlic bread before you had a chance to look at your menu's. the garlic bread is fresh, but surprise, you are paying for it. then when you order meat, only chance you have is to order it rare. you want it medium rare? they are happy to take an old piece from some roast, microwave it, then serve it to you medium well. they figure, either you won't care, or you won't complain. they have done this to me 2 out of 3 times. when they bring it out, it is obviously apparent without even cutting into it that its no where near medium rare, and its a piece that's been sitting out for a while. what i do is cut into it, then let them take it back. i gotta give them some negative incentives for doing this every time some way or another. so the second piece is always usually up to par in what they should be serving. when you compare the two side by side, you scratch your head and wonder what the fuck are these jokers trying to get away with? since i do enjoy both medium rare and rare when eating prime rib, i usually go with the rare, so that they know they won't be able to get away with pulling that shit. and even still, they try. and its easy to convince them that you didn't get what you ordered when they serve you a medium well piece when you asked for rare. they just have no grounds to say something like "that looks rare to me". i'll still make them place it on the table, and cut into it and make sure no one is getting this piece. so this is the "routine" i have to deal with every time i go to bully's. and ever since i've found out about the prime rib at sycuan, you can see why i haven't been to bully's since. i gotta admit that the prime rib at sycuan is half the times too overcooked. but the other half the times it is fantastic. and for what they are charging and no bullshit, i'll gladly take that instead.

so i went off on a tangent a little bit. had a great time at my birthday dinner. played poker afterwards at travis' place. here's my critique on some early eliminated players. eric was surprisingly agressive like a pro, but should have been more selective on the opportunity on when to be agressive. for example, if you get dealt pocket A's every time, when you try to buy out every pot, people will call you with nothing, and hit a nice flop to take probably most of your money. also, even though you have a good hand, you gotta know when to fold when you know you're beat. nik and barbara weren't in the position to play their A game since they couldn't stay long. but its not like the chips were folded to me. at the end, while holding pocket Aces, there was a 50/50 chance I would have lost, and they would have had an overwhelming chip lead when they were both 1 card to go for a flush (different suits for babs and nik). so even with half the deck against me, i won the 50/50 coin flip, and pretty much doubled up. and from there, i was up to about 50% of all the chips in play. after that, everyone played a solid game...except for maybe the last hand in play heads up. i ran into some serious luck hitting pocket aces 2 more times where it held up and paid off where i was able to finish 1st place. i guess the turnout couldn't really have ended better.

one thing i realized when i was at a birthday party was that i need to get on the ball and find myself a gf. i think it all boils down to laziness. i look around and half of my friends are very well matched with their significant other while i don't have a clue where to start looking. i don't want to be the "family friend" that needs to make rounds for holiday dinners because i'm the only one without my own family when i'm 35. that's definitely not where i want to be in 10 years. i'm not saying i'm aiming to get married any time soon, but i at least have to go through this process of trial and error, also known as dating to find out what i'm really looking for. same thing for my career. i don't see it going anywhere if i'm just continuing to be reactive rather than proactive and just letting the day pass by. where is my hunger for success? this is a puzzle that needs to be solved.

next post, i'll get to posting my trip to australia in detail with some pictures that i've been meaning to get to.

Sunday, August 8, 2004


i got some accupuncture again on friday, and by saturday, i was well enough to get around to taking the tour to the jeanolan caves. we learned that the tour was about 8 hours of sitting and 2 hours of walking/standing which wasn't bad at all. the cave tour was a cool experience. i don't think i've ever been in a cave system, and it did feel a bit too commercialized, but i don't think i was in any shape to do anything like swin under a rock and squeeze through a hole just yet, so it worked out nicely. saw some wildlife along the way. i'll put a more detailed post later.

after coming back from a long day, we actually made a brief stop at the hotel and went on the train to johno's parent's house. there was a really anticipated rugby match that night, new zeland vs australia....it's a huge rivalry much like UCLA vs USC when it comes to anticipated rivalries, but on a much more grander scale. so we got there and hung out with people we met last sunday, and watched the second half of the game. the australian team won which was a big bonus that put the whole country in a good mood. on our way back home we made a quick stop to take some night shots of the opera house and the bridge, which came out fantastic. it was an awesome way to end the trip. woke up 7am the next day, got on the plane to head back to the US. sitting here and typing this, its really hard to imagine that i was so far away just a under a day ago. the plane ride back home went much faster due to the fact that they were actually showing movies i wanted to watch. first saw day after tomorrow, then walking tall, man on fire, ladykillers, and shrek 2. by the end of shrek 2, we were back at home. my dad picked us up from LAX, ate some lunch at home, and then drove back with ray and my brother. i got so tired on my drive back that i think there was a split second that i was actually asleep behind the wheel. where you blink, and upon opening your eyes you remember you're on the freakin' freeway. i realized i really needed to take a nap before any more driving, and luckily we were close to my brother's dorm. so i took about a 45 minute nap there, then headed towards SD. when i got back, i made some phone calls that i missed, then passed out for 4 hours.

i did catch a cold on the last day in australia. i guess i can be thanksful for that, even though no cold would have been nicer. hopefully it'll blow over by tomorrow... more details about the trip later when i have some time to regain my thoughts.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

damn, why now?

well, my back problems doesn't seem to be getting any better. i did manage to get some acupuncture today, but it hasn't been the miracle i've been looking for. its definitely not as bad as when i hurt my back a month or two ago. actually i don't think my back is hurt, just inflammed...walking has never been all that comfortable since surgery. i'm guessing walking a few miles daily is not really something my body is capable of doing. maybe if i could just take it easy for 2 days every time i walked about 5 miles that day, it would be just fine and dandy, but it sucks doing that when all i have here is about a week. well, i'll be getting some more accupuncture today, and hopefully i'll be good enough to go explore the jeanolan caves...

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

i wish i can stay here long enough to pick up the australian accent

what is it that the australian or european accents are cool, and all the asian accents really hard on the ears? i think if i were to pick up the accent here like all the asian australians, it would make picking up girls a whole lot easier back in the US.

yesterday, my feet and my back didn't feel quite up to par. it felt actually pretty bad. so i didn't really get around to do much. walked around for a bit, took the monorail, but rested the majority of the day. at night, we met up with chuck, john-o, diam at this place called golden century. it is the best chinese seafood restaurant in sydney. the food was really good and fresh. along the walls of the restaurant are fishtanks with crabs, fish, lobster, etc. and whatever you order, they take it right out of the fish tanks and then put it on a scale. who knows if they just take the fish to the back and swap it with the ones in the freezers like they do it in the movies that make fun of these kinds of restaurants. i tought one amusing thing was that the small clams were called pippis/pippys (pronounce pee-pees). when we asked them why they were called pippys, they said, "i dunno, why is the crab called the crab?" i guess they really had no idea what we were referring to.

i found a gym here that had a very limited selection of exercise machines and some dumb bells. everything in metric...blah. i was able to get a workout in with what they had which is good because it is always hard to come back to a gym after a week off.

today, i met up with ruth and she showed me around sydney. we went to st mary's cathedral, got lunch at the rocks cafe, walked to the opera house, then to the botanic gardens, then walked along the harbor to wooloomooloo. got a beef pie at this place called harry's cafe de wheels. there isn't a person in sydney that hasn't heard about that place i bet. they are famous for their pies and hot dogs. the beef pie was pretty good, and supposedly the reason people like them so much is that it is the place to go when you're starving after a night out since it is open 24 hours.

sydney, much like new york, is a city that never sleeps. i'm not a big night life person, but i'm a night owl. its 12:45am here and I could probably step out and find a place that will squeeze me a large glass of fresh orange juice. i guess i never really visited places like orange julius when i'm in the US, but the fresh juice bars are abundant here and for some reason i find myself ordering a glass of OJ at every opportunity that i have here. i wish fresh juices were as common in SD as they are here. i would definitely be able to get my 8-10 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily unlike the norm when i get about 5 servings every other day when i remember to.

i'm not sure what's causing all this inflammation on my back...it could be the stiff matress (i miss my tempurpedic...yes...i've taken it for granted), but i'm going to try to find a acupuncture place tomorrow. i found one, but i was told that the acupuncturist had left for china and won't be back till the end of the month. acupuncture i think is exactly what i need. i knew my luck was going to run out eventually. i'll have to look more tomorrow but all these places look kinda to severly grungy. somewhere i wouldn't want to go for anything involving needles of any sort.

after my 4 hour trip across sydney, i came back home and crashed. ray came back from work, and we got dinner at this sushi place at makoto. not sure if i've seen a place like this other than on TV, but it seems like a lot of the sushi places have the sushi trains. the sushi rotates around the bar as you eat, and you just pick out the items as they go by. you get charged based on the number and the color of the plates. the food was great and probably fresher than any sushi i've had in the US. cheap too. its almost unfair that we don't have anything like that in san diego. after dinner, we went to this pub that used to be a bank. the pub has 4 floors, all with slightly different themes. the first floor has a club/sports bar atmosphere. the second floor has a band stage and a few pool tables. the upper levels are much quieter.

so tomorrow, i'm going to try to get some acupuncture for my back. buy a pair of pants since the party we're going to is kinda up scale and jeans will look out of place according to the people who are throwing it. i need to try to make it to manly beach...i'll have time on friday, but i also want to rest up for the tour we're doing at blue mountain. we'll be checking out the jeanolan caves, which will be an all day event. hmmmm...decisions decisions. if acupuncture goes well i should be able to do both no problem as long as the blisters on my toes stop bothering me. after the cave tour, we're supposed to go watch some rugby at john-o's parents place. i do have the option to play poker instead, but eh whatevers. they probably won't be even playing for money since i'll be playing with the church group. it would be nice to say i've played poker in australia. but i think i'll probably have to pass. ;)

Monday, August 2, 2004

man this internet cafe is disgusting

all the computers are here are on their hind legs. riddled with spyware and probably many trojans. it really questions me about whether it is a good idea to check my email here or not. ray got his laptop on wireless but since he is away till the evening, and i'm usually dead tired from exploring sydney, i haven't got the opportunity to make use of his computer. i did upload the pics on jusspress.

so on saturday, we met up with ray's friend chuck. he took us to his christian church evening service. there we met so many asian people that spoke english with an australian accent. it was quite a trip. along with the hospitality you would find when you go to a church for the first time, i think there is something about the australian culture that made the experience more welcoming. for one, being an "american" is something to be admired here in australia from the people i talked to. just like anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to come and visit california, i think they all have the wrong impression when they think of places like Los Angeles, Hollywood, etc. what they think about is all the stuff they get to see on TV...like movie premiers and red carpet events. i think once they get the chance to come here, they'll appreciate what places like sydney has to offer. as i probably have said before, sydney is pretty much new york, and you won't find anything new or different. it is painstakingly clear that most of the influences in modern culture life here is adapted from american culture. so maybe they just want to meet sydney's big brother.

anyways, going to church was a great idea. we joined them at a surprise birthday dinner they were throwing for one of their youth members at this spanish restaurant. we made plans with them to tour the city a little bit and get dinner at their favorite restaurants. this is a far better way to see the best of what the city has to offer than any advice out of frommer's or lonely planet. on monday, ray went to work and my day began at the fish market. i got probably a close to a pound of salmon, and a dozen oysters. it was really cheap and unbelievably fresh. everyone kept telling me that their seafood was the best in the world, and after having some i would have to agree. it was an euphoric experience as i enjoyed them on the pier while fighting off the segulls. after my mindbending meal, i went to check out AMP (Centerpoint/Sydney) tower. went up to the top and took the tour. i got a tour package there to also see the aquarium and go on this 2 hour captain cook explorer tour. these three things are probably the first things that any tourist would do in syndey. should they be avoided? not sure. its something everyone should do once. so its like a general ed class everyone should take before they start exploring the finer parts of sydney. i did take the captain cook explorer tour, they met with ray for dinner at this korean place downstairs from our hotel. then we we got some dessert at this dessertflower place at darling harbor. some of the interesting flavors they had were wasabi and taro ice cream. i got the black seasame ice cream which was actually quite good. i'll have to look for it when i get back to the US.

today, i think my body needs a lot of rest. my toes have blisters, and my back doesn't feel too good. so i slept in today, and will probably take it easy. i'll probably just take the monorail to get another perspective of the city and stay off my feet as much as possible. we will be meeting up with some of ray's friends and their friends we met on sunday to get some chinese sea food that they highly recommended.

tomorrow, hopefully i'll be meeting up with someone i met at church who was gracious enough to offer to show me around sydney since she wasn't busy this week. things i'll have to do before the week is up is revisit The Rocks, take a thorough look at the malls and pick up some souveneirs, visit Manly and Bondi Beach, have a meat pie, revisit the Fish Market, watch a IMAX movie in 3D, see the Aquarium, and maybe see the Zoo and the wildlife park. Saturday will be the premier day....we're planning to go to the Blue Montains and check out the Jeanolan caves. that's just the things off the top of my head.

anyway, i must get out of here before i get some airborn disease from this third world internet cafe...