Thanksgiving, Lake Merritt, Early Birthday, etc.

golden gate bridge

I have lots of photos to share (scroll to the end of entry for links).

I spent Thanksgiving with my parents and sister in San Diego, and had a good time. The weather was amazing, as usual; I felt very much like a tourist while walking on the beach because I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved black shirt -- and, I was lugging a huge camera around. My mom and dad were funny, as usual.

   Mom: "I read in the newspaper that they closed the libraries in Salinas. It's terrible!"

   Dad: "Oh, yaah. (something something) Steinbeck (something something) Wrath of Grapes."

   Mom: "No! It's not 'wrath'! ... wreath... rage... Rage of Grapes!"

my strange sister

At this point, Wendy and I lose it and point out that it is actually, "The Grapes of Wrath," and eventually it is all clarified because the Mandarin name of the book translates to something like, "Angry Grapes."

We spent some time as a family + Baditude at Tony's Jacal in Del Mar (or, "Tony Jackal," as my sister and I were told it was called before we actually went there), and also with Anna Liu and her family at the Pannikin Cafe in Flower Hill.

trees near lake merritt

When I returned to Oakland, I went on a romantic walk with Elliot around Lake Merritt (Mandy is out of town ;) near dusk. For you photographers out there, I highly recommend circumnavigating the lake just before sunset. The light there is incredibly strange because the numerous buildings around the lake reflect a low sun in very creative ways. At one point I felt like I was in studio, and a photo I took of Elliot even shows two distinct light sources (you can see two shadows). It took us awhile to get around the entire lake, but it was worth it. After our hike, we headed over to Livia's place where a vegetarian feast was waiting for us in celebration of my early birthday. I discovered again that I really like champagne.

toast to old age!

It's probably the only alcoholic beverage that I feel like chugging. Anyway, it was really sweet of them to think of me. Livia even made her first cake from scratch, and Geoff decorated it with little chocolate bits. :)

Yesterday, Vienna Teng came over for awhile. We dorked around on various musical instruments for awhile, and then went out for dinner on College Ave. in Berkeley. I tried to play with her a bit on one of her new songs ("Blue Caravan"), and she even wrote out chord charts for me. ("Uh.. what's 'Bbsus4'?") It was funny because she returned to her geek roots and wrote out the charts

vienna teng and foliage

using tables in raw HTML and used a browser to look at them. For some reason, while we were playing I had an image of Vienna watching me play around in a sand box oblivious to a big, happenin' city around me. But she is very nice and supportive, and I'm learning.

Finally, I had dress rehearsal at Stanford's Memorial Church tonight for a show I'm playing in tomorrow night. Afterwards I had a late Thai dinner with Cindy and Adam down in Sunnyvale.

And now, I'm exhausted. I fielded far too many telephone calls today for various things I'm trying to take care of before I leave on Thursday night, and I've also been ripping my CD collection to WMA lossless, and then batch converting to AAC (which takes *forever*) for loading onto my iPod. I'll blather more about this in a separate entry, later. For now, I leave you with some photos. ;)

- [see vienna teng photos]
- [see early birthday photos]
- [see lake merritt photos]
- [see thanksgiving photos]
- [see other photos]