C4C Auction

February 28th, 2006

Last Friday was the UW Business School’s annual Challenge 4 Charity auction, raising $$ for the Boys and Girls Clubs and Special Olympics… It was a great night of seeing old classmates and bidding on things that I wouldn’t normally shop for. The bidding was fierce, the bidding was fast…. and in the end, I ended up with a few prizes to take home and a much lighter wallet as well.

    Here’s a list of the things I was able to snag with my bid number:

  • A bottle of Royal Balkan Muskat wine - Apparently, only a few bottles are made every year and this supposedly something only the royal family drinks…. it may all be a bunch of hoo-ha, but it makes the wine seem very impressive, plus it’s in a cool-shaped bottle. My folks like muscat wine, so the bottle now resides in Hawaii, waiting for an “occasion” to drink it.
  • Gift certificate to Duke’s Chowder House. I’ve never been there, so it’s a good excuse to try something different
  • An eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings at the Union Restaurant. Haven’t been there either, but it looks like an expensive place, given the price of it…..
  • A golf - dinner - lodging package for a resort out in the middle of Washington State. I always like going somewhere new to lose golf balls.
  • A 60 minute and a 90 minute massage. They are at two different places, since it was a silent auction and I assumed I would win at most one of them, not both…. guess I’ll be getting the spa-treatment one of these days….
  • Diamond Club seats (including food/drinks) for the Seattle Mariners. This is a wedding present to our friends, Dave and Merrick, so yippee for them, and yippee for us getting to sit in the Diamond Club area!
  • 4-night lodging and ski package to Mt. Baker. It looks to be right on the mountain, so come next season, it should be a nice ski vacation
  • And finally, the table centerpiece, which included a bottle of wine, wine glasses, a bunch of chocolates that somehow ended up in my mom’s suitcase when she returned home to Hawaii, and a bunch of gourmet products (smoked salmon, cheese, crackers, etc)… PLUS a stainless steel bucket (which I think is the coolest part)

Looks like I have a bunch of places to visit and things to do this year…. can’t wait! The total amount raised in the auction was approx $150,000!!! Yay to the kids that will receive the aid and to all the hard work put in to making that night possible.

Go Big or Go Home

February 21st, 2006

That was the mantra all weekend during my buddy Mike’s party in Vegas. Mike is getting married in March, so 13 of us celebrated and took down the town. It was a great weekend, filled with a full day of golf Saturday and watching basketball and Nascar on Sunday. Speaking of Nascar, did I mention that I picked the Daytona 500 winner? Yup, Jimmie Johnson…. Looks like Baws Hawg is gonna have a great season in fantasy Nascar. Look out Blake, it’s gonna be a long season!

I’m outside of Chi-town this week, doing a little work, a little training, and a little catching-up on sleep. Black dog is being taken care of though, so don’t worry. My folks are watching Amos, so he’s got double the attention and probably a bunch of illegal table scraps to boot. Tonight I came back from a “team building” activity, where each team had puzzles and brain teasers to solve. Now, I’m all for this kind of activity, since I love solving things others can’t… but since we have so many international associates in training, they don’t understand puns or riddles, which really isn’t fair. Let’s see if you can solve this teaser:

What do the following set of words represent???

issues issues
issues issues
issues issues
issues issues
issues issues

If this is too easy, which it should only take you about 20 seconds, maybe i’ll give you a harder teaser later….

Name that Chinese restaurant

February 13th, 2006

Here’s a thought I had recently… actually, I’ve had this thought many times over my life, but never really voiced it. Have you noticed that Chinese restaurants all seem to use similar words in naming their restaurants. I’m sure sometimes it’s because they don’t have a strong command of the “engrish” language, but it could also be due to so-called “lucky words” or words that can be easily and without hesitation associated with Chinese food. I know this is totally unscientific and pretty much off the top of my head, but I’ve come up with the top 20 words that all Chinese restaurants seem to have. (in no particular order)

  1. Garden
  2. Dynasty
  3. Emperor
  4. Palace
  5. Dragon
  6. Court
  7. Royal
  8. Ocean
  9. House
  10. Golden
  11. Jade
  12. Tiger
  13. Village
  14. Sea
  15. Crystal
  16. Peking
  17. Hunan
  18. Mandarin
  19. Szechwan
  20. Cantonese

Now, you can pick two of these twenty and you will no-doubt find a matching chinese restaurant in the yellow pages…. Hunan Garden, Dragon Palace, Ocean Village, Royal Court, etc…. It’s kinda funny when you think how conforming these restaurant owners are to have such similar names. Am I missing any other commonly used names? These were just from my own thoughts.

Happy Birthday to me

February 9th, 2006

Today is my b-day… well depending on when this submission is time-stamped, it may not be anymore. The 9th has always been one of my favorite numbers; not only is it my birthday, but it was also the number of my little league baseball jersey for a few years and it’s the only number that sounds cool over a CB radio… people say niner instead of just nine. Although I had to work a full day today (no rest for the weary), my co-workers had a plate of cookies on my desk, along with a hanging “Happy Birthday” sign. Very nice. A few friends then took me to dinner tonight, so I’ve been taken care of all day :) In case anyone wants to sing “Happy Birthday to You”, be careful… since according to SportsNight (one of the best TV sit-coms ever!), that song is owned by the estate of Mildred and Patty Hill, so you may have to pay royalties if you sing it in public or sing it on your own website. Betcha thought that song was free… right? That’s why most restaurants always end up singing some bastardized version of that song, just so they can get around the royalty yet still keep their customers happy. Also, let me give a big shout out to Michael Ianniciello, who shares the same b-day, but instead of turning 28, he’s turning 1. YAY!!!

Enough about those refs….

February 7th, 2006

I’m a Seattle fan (when my Philly Eagles aren’t playing) and I rooted for the Seahawks with 250 other fans at a local party on Sunday… but this city has to stop complaining about the refs. I know, I know… I saw the many many blunders the refs caused, the touchdown called back, the mysterious holding penalties whenever Seattle got a first down, the Roethisberger touchdown that crossed the goal line after he was already on the ground for 2 seconds, and so forth. But at some point, this city has to realize that the outcome of the game isn’t going to change. The refs aren’t going to apologize, no matter how wrong they know they are. So let’s be the bigger city and act like the rest of the country portrays us to be… coffee-drinking, granola-eating, somewhat-snobby, environmentally-friendly, mostly-yuppie goodie goodies. Let the game be over with and lets concentrate on what’s really important…. that our city is better than theirs. Yes, I said it. Pittsburgh has a single major industry - steel, rundown industrial neighborhoods, and an inferiority complex by being dwarfed by the history, culture, and overall coolness of Philadelphia. Seattle however, is the hub of new business, new technology, cool-hip culture and is a constant destination city. Who amongst you has ever said, “Let’s go take a vacation to Pittsburgh!”? Just what I thought… nobody. As a football fan, a Super Bowl win and the Vince Lombardi trophy would have been welcomed additions to an already Super city. But as a sympathetic heart who hates to see other in distress, Pittsburgh definitely is in more “need” of a positive gesture than Seattle. Seattle-ites will continue to go about our business, forging ahead to make the next airplane, new-flavored latte, or software program… I guess striving ahead is our cross to bear. Now that Pitt has the trophy (no matter how undeserving they were in attaining it), they can make themselves feel like winners for a few moments, if anything, to distract them from the cold bitter envionment that is their city. For Seattle, we’re already looking ahead. Lots of great things coming up…. Mariner games, a summer filled with outdoor activities and another record earnings quarter from Starbucks. Now who’s the big winner? You guessed it…. Seattle!

Carnival time

February 4th, 2006

For those of you not from Hawaii, this post will probably not make much sense…. This weekend is the annual carnival for my high school back in Honolulu. I wish I could express how much fun and how many awesome memories I have of going to past carnivals. It has all the standard rides and games, which are mostly run by an outside vendor… but the really fun part is all the food booths and kiddie games that are run by students/faculty/alums. I haven’t been back to a school carnival since 1996, but one of these years, i’m going to make it a point to go back to Hawaii in Feb for this. One of the best parts of the carnival is a thing called malasadas, a portuguese donut coated with sugar. Malasadas are a key attraction to the carnival and whenever we used to go, we’d get dozens and dozens, eat a bunch there and freeze the rest at home. My parents even volunteered making malasadas when I was going to school there. All in all, a very good time and since I’m missing it this weekend, I thought I would give a shout out to the carnival and for anyone reading this in Honolulu, make sure you stop by today if you can!

Don’t mess with the DOG

February 2nd, 2006

And I’m not talking about the lazy black dog, Amos….. i’m talking about Dog, The Bounty Hunter. I’ve been watching this show for a few months and I think it’s a cool reality show that isn’t like other reality shows. Nobody has to eat weird foods like Fear Factor, nobody has to vote others off the island, the only people that lose are the fugitives that are caught. On each 30 minute episode, it chronicles Duane “Dog” Chapman (the bounty hunter) along with his team as they track down a variety of bail-jumpers. The action is real and the cameras go right with them as they capture these fugitives. I think the commentary is funny and the interactions between Dog and his team are always entertaining. If you have the chance, check it out. Dog, The Bounty Hunter airs on A&E so just set your Tivo to record it.

One of the cool things is that it is set in Honolulu, right near where I grew up. So close in fact, that they often show them driving away from their house, which is in a nice part of town, like 3 blocks from my parent’s place. (FYI Dad, they live on the only street that doesn’t touch the main highway). I like it when they say things like, “This is the toughest part of town” or “This is considered the most dangerous street on the entire island”. That cracks me up, since Hawaii is supposed to be a paradise and they always end up in the worse places where there’s drugs and people speakin’ pidgen…. I’m just waiting to see people I know (hopefully not running from the bounty hunters) just walking around in the background, since Honolulu is a relatively small place. It seems like everytime I go home to visit, I run into high-school classmates or relatives or other friends just randomly. Now that I’m aware of the Dog, I’ll be sure to keep an eye open for their big GMC SUV’s roaming around town or parked in the neighborhood. Bail jumpers beware, the Dog is out there and he’s gonna getcha!