All posts for the month March, 2006


This last weekend Stephanie and I headed up to Solvang which is a little Dutch communty about 30 miles north/east of Santa Barbera. It took us about 4.5 hours to get there and we arrived around 12:30. It was raining when we got there so we grabbed some lunch then decided to drive around and see what was available and then checked into the hotel.

Luckily, soon after it had stopped raining so we head out and looked in a few shops. Soon after we found a winery that was offering wine tasting. I decided to go in and it was $5 to taste 5 wines. Both Stephanie and I did and enjoyed it. The winery told us they had a sister winery just down the street and we could taste there wines for half price. We stopped at a chocolate place and Stephanie got was apparently the better than sex white chocalate peanut butter barrel.

After that we got to the second winery and tried five more wines. The thing about this wine tasting was that we were drinking the wine instead of spitting it out or pooring the rest out. We hit two more wineries drinking 11 or 12 more wines, walked out with 3 bottles of wine, 6 wine glasses and drunk off our asses.

We headed back to the hotel and dropped off the wine and went out to dinner where we each had another glass of wine. After that we went to a bar and stayed out until 11 drinking more wine. We were completely wasted. We went back to the hotel and passed out.

The next morning resulted in the worse hang over I ever head. A migrain set in along with plenty of puking and shaking. At around 8:30 I was able to hold down water and excedrin, 9:30 I was able to hold down apple juice, and by 10:30 I was able to hold down solids so we got some breakfast. Funny enough Stephanie had as much to drink as I have (I rarely see her drink) and though she didn’t feel great she was definatly better of than me. We left at 11:30. The problem was that I drove my new car because I had all the entertainment (CD player, satellite radio, ipod hookup) but Stephanie was use to driving a standard.

Bases Loaded

I’m not a big baseball fan but Stephanie is. So, last Saturday we attended the semi-finals to the World Baseball Classic. The first game was between the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Yeah, Cuba. This got the best jokes like “wow, those Cubans are playing like their lives depend on it.” The game was pretty slow but the Cubans won which was really cool.

After the game we met up with some livejournal friends, Nancy and Paul and went to Hodads for dinner. We then headed back for the second game, Japan vs Korea. This is easily the funnest baseball game I’ve ever been to. This was mostly because of the Koreans who are the greatest fans I’ve seen. The constantly cheered and were extremely passionate about the game. And I’m not talk about 1 or 2 Koreans, no, I’m talking all of them at the stadium.

The game itself was also exciting as it was a low scoring game but the players were constantly hitting. I’ve found that pitching is what bores me about the game. I like it when the players hit the ball, even if it is a pop fly or an easy out thrown to first.

On Monday we attended the final which was Japan vs Cuba. This was a fun game especially at the top of the ninth when Japan was leading by 1 run. Japan ends up winning and I found that I enjoy “World” baseball a lot more then “Professional” baseball. I liked not having to have a “team” to cheer for. I was just enjoying baseball. I also enjoyed the cultural elements of the different fans and the announcements in different languages.

On Sunday we also attended a play “Intimate Apparel” about a black seamstress who makes lingerie for other woman. She starts getting romantic letters from a mysterious stranger working in Panama. He then shows up in NY and marries the seamstress.

The performance was excellent and everything was well done. The only problem was that you had to keep your ticket to get free parking and I through ours out when we left. Cost me $20. Damn.

D&D for kids

Yesturday I ran a game of “Dungeons and Dragons” for a small group of junior high students. It was part of a library program and they needed someone to run the game and I volunteered.

It was really strange. I don’t spend much time around kids at all and wasn’t sure what to expect. As far as D&D went I didn’t know if they would be familier with the rules or not. I’d met with the Librarian about a month ago and she said most of them would not know the rules.

I was also told that we should use the basic rule set. This is a box set with the most basic rules for the game as compared to the three core books (Players Guide, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monster Manual).

I ended up making 6 characters from those core books and prepared a short adventure. Nothing too complicated. Basically the characters were suppose to be part of a small town which they were to protect.

I left in a hurry but ended up about 5 minutes late (5:05). Luckily the librarian and her husband were describing the game to the group of four players, 2 boys and 2 girls. Here I found out they didn’t have any experience and started telling them what a roleplaying game was. We then went over the character sheets using the stuff from the basic game.

We then auctioned off a set of dice and I let the others pick out some dice that they could keep. By this time it was almost 6 and two kids had to leave. Parents kept sticking there heads in saying “we’ll have to leave soon” and I was thinking did they actually sign them up or did they stick them in to keep their kids busy while they do their taxes.

By the time we started playing I only had two players and they had a great time. I expect both of them to be back and they were kind of bummed that I only ran on Thursdays. Another thing was that what I normally plan for in a rpg had no value. Sticking to the basics was key. Such general concepts as what is an elf or a cleric and how to decipher a d4 and what does 2d4 mean were all important and we had to go over them.

Can’t wait until next week.

On Saturday I played my first official tennis match. It was official in the since that it was scheduled. It was against the UCSD Chinese tennis club. We spent parts of the last month practicing in order to play. Of course this wasn’t traditional tennis practice but more like playing matches against other members from our group and playing with your partner in the case of doubles.

This was my case. I had a partner, Tan, who is a really cool dude. During our first practice match we did really well. During the second we did horribly. We tried working together but the second match really brought our self-esteem down.

The match was at 4pm on Saturday. I was a little nervous so went out Saturday morning and practiced some groundstrokes and serves. It didn’t help at all as I was all nerves when I arrived at the UCSD tennis courts that were really nice. Tan and I warmed up next to UCSD men’s tennis team and I suddenly felt intimidated. So, I was intimidated, nervous and confused as the people who organized the event got everyone paired off.

Tan was also affected, as we had no confidence from the beginning. We lost 0-6, 1-6. Pathetic. And it wasn’t that our opponents kicked ass, it was more that we did awful; constantly hitting the ball into the net or out and each unforced error caused havoc with our esteem.

Talking to Tan after the match he said he was having problems hitting what I call bubble balls. These are soft shots that float over the net. The first team we played during practice hit the balls with a lot more pace than the other two and we were able to handle them. I think this is a result of singles players trying to play doubles. I feel like I don’t understand doubles well at all. I know an important part is to form a bond with a partner but that is hard to form over two three matches. I wish we had talked about the bubble balls before or during the match because I realized if we attempted to return bubble balls instead of trying to put pace on the ball we would have had a much better game.

New Car

Well, I bought my first new car. I finally got it last Saturday after helping my friend move. It is a black, manual 2006 Scion XA. I had been waiting for 2 weeks when they told me a silver or white would be in but they then told me I’d have to wait 2 more weeks but a black one was available. Honestly, the color didn’t matter so I took it. It had one mile when I drove it off the lot.

Now it has 150 and I love it. I never really cared about cars before but ever since I started the car buying process I’ve noticed that I check out other peoples cars making note of make and model.

I love my new car. It doesn’t have much power but it is pretty small and I just parked in a spot I normally wouldn’t. It is also comfortable easy to drive and I can also have some peace of mind since it has both an alarm and lowjack. I currently on the list to both get an ipod stereo and satellite radio installed. For now, I happy listening to the radio and CD playing. And it really is the little things like being able to change the volume and stations from the stearing wheel, that is so cool.

Oh, and props to my friend Andy who got me a sporty gear shifter that looks great with the car.