Posts Tagged ‘Evan’

MLK Weekend in Mammoth

Last weekend, Evan and I went to Mammoth with two of our friends. We drove up early on Friday so we beat all of the traffic and had a super easy drive because it had been warm for a while and hadn’t snowed, so no ice, no snow and no chains.

Saturday, we had a great, full day of skiing and snowboarding. Evan and I went all over the mountain in the morning, then stopped for lunch — where we coincidentally sat RIGHT next to my uncle and cousins — and met up with our friends in the afternoon to get some more runs in.

That night we had a delicious dinner at one of my favorite Mammoth restaurants, Petra’s Bistro. The four of us had a table by the fire, and Evan and I shared a roasted beet salad and some Navarro Chardonnay, and then he had a salmon dish while I had some gnocchi with butternut squash. Our friends had venison and pork and loved their dishes as well. For dessert we headed back to the condo since Evan and I had baked a chocolate almond cake from a recipe his parents often use, and though it turned out a little flatter than theirs — we folded the egg whites in a little too much — it was delicious with its raspberry jam topping. I’ll definitely be making it again.

Sunday was another great ski day. The snow was pretty fast and quite hard-packed in some places, but we stayed under control and I don’t think either Evan or I fell the whole time. We spent more time up at the top and on the back side of the mountain, which I had never even explored. It was beautiful and sunny, too, and we met up with my uncle and cousins again for lunch.

We didn’t make it a full day — we headed in around 3 instead of 4 — since our legs (especially mine) were really exhausted from spending so much time on both steep and overly flat runs, which both make my muscles exhausted. I do much better on a normal intermediate/easier advanced grade. Still, it was good to challenge myself, and though Evan is a much better skier than I am a border, I was able to stick with him all day — provided that he’d wait for me a bit.

That night, we cooked dinner — nice and easy rancher’s pasta (pasta with sun dried tomatoes, olives and goat cheese) and salad. We also had some more cake and started a bit of a board game marathon, playing Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and Catch Phrase.

Monday we debated whether or not to ski and ultimately decided to go for brunch at The Stove where we had enormous omelets, waffles and pieces of french toast, which were all really delicious. Then Evan and I took a short hike at Hot Creek, which was delightfully empty — every time I’ve been there it’s been super crowded. And then we drove home, thankfully without any traffic again.

Evan should be posting some more photos soon, including some of Hot Creek.

Photowalk: Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Our afternoon at the Wakodahatchee wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida, was full of fun animal sightings, and Evan got some great photos. Here are some of my favorites:

We were greeted by a very pretty parrot at the entrance to the wetlands.

There was a giant alligator lounging in the sun with some turtles. They didn’t seem bothered.

We saw a bird (a hawk?) scoop up a fish with its talons and fly away with it.

There were two very large iguanas. One was colorful, the other wasn’t.

Check out more of the photos from Florida, including plenty of ducks, herons, turtles and egrets on Evan’s website.

Winter Travel Season Begins Tomorrow: We’re Going to Florida

A photo of my mom’s parents on my last trip to Florida in 2006

Tomorrow night we’re heading off to Florida for a little 5-day vacation to visit my grandparents — both sets. I haven’t seen them in a while and Evan hasn’t even met them yet since they live so far away and he’s never been around when they’ve come to California. We’re excited to get some slightly warmer weather, some new scenery — Evan’s never been to Florida — and to relax with my family.

We’re also planning on spending a night in Miami, but we need to do a bit of research to figure out where to stay and what exactly to do. I’ve spent a total of one afternoon in South Beach so far, and mostly just spent my time walking down the beach. If you have any suggestions for Miami, or for Palm Beach/Boynton Beach (where we’re staying), we’d love to hear them!

Weekend Fun: Quantum of Solace, The Santa Monica Pier and the McGill Jazz Orchestra

Note: This post somehow disappeared from my blog, so I’m reposting it. Seriously, it’s a total mystery to me what happened that would erase the whole post from last night to today. Apologies if you’ve seen this twice now.

We’re still getting the apartment set up, but it’s been sort of slow going because we’ve been having too much fun. Friday we went to a late screening of Quantum of Solace after getting Martinis with some friends. I’m not normally a big Bond fan, but I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It’s action sequences were pretty amazing and covered close to every mode of transportation, from cars to boats to planes to feet to hanging from the ceiling by ropes.

There was also a point in the movie, when Bond is at a party in Bolivia, that one of the voices sounded exceeding familiar. I leaned over to Evan and said, “That sounds exactly like Guillermo (Del Toro),” and he said, “Oh, it is him! I almost missed it!” Apparently Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron both have voice cameos in Bond. I was pretty proud to have picked that up, even without knowing.

Santa Monica

Saturday we got up late and went down to Santa Monica to meet up with my friend Terri, her two little kids, John and Lexi, and some of her friends. We walked along the beach, ate some french fries and then walked down the pier to take the kids on some rides. Johnny absolutely loved them and just kept waving at us and smiling and enthusiastically driving his mini bumper car, airplane or jeep.

Johnny on the bumper cars

Earlier in the day we were surprised how clear it was despite all the nearby fires, but by late afternoon, we started seeing a lot of ash in the air and the sun was an eerie pink-red as it was setting, creating a very fiery reflection on the water.

Saturday evening, my parents came over to the apartment for happy hour — bruschetta, cheese and crackers, and wine — then we all went out to Bel Air to see the McGill Jazz Orchestra play at an alumni event (both my parents are McGill alumni). We drove on a very windy mountain road to a beautiful home and drank more wine and ate hors d’ouevres outisde in the warm night. When it was time for the jazz to start, my parents snagged front-row seats, and we sat just feet away from the high-energy band.

There were plenty of impressive solos from piano, guitar, trumpet, saxophone and trombone players, a guest performance from an alumnus, and an incredible sight reading session where the band was handed new music — it was even new to the conductor — and started playing and even improvising solos on the spot. There was even an tuba solo! My dad started a standing ovation at the end of that song and the rest of the audience joined in, then he started yelling for an encore. The band obliged and ended with “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky, which nearly deafened us since two of the trumpet players stood in the front row.

We met some of the students in the band after the concert and it turns out they had also been having fun in Santa Monica earlier in the day.

Monster Madness: The Hellboy II DVD Release Party

The top of a “burning trash can” table

Last night, Evan and I went to the Hellboy II The Golden Army DVD release party (boy, that’s a mouthful). It was quite an event, and it looks like quite the Blu-ray DVD, with tons of special features, a 2 and a half hour documentary on the making of the movie, a director’s notebook, lots of commentary, a comic book creator and a “goggle view” that lets you see the movie in various stages of visual effects. We can’t wait to get our hands on one and check it out with our new Blu-ray player, which is still in the box.

The party was a major production, which transformed the club Element into a scene from Hellboy, complete with monsters, burning trash cans, and actors from the movie.

Evan and me with a monster

Evan and I had fun taking photos with the monsters who did an incredible job in their elaborate costumes. We’re pretty sure they couldn’t see a thing, and saw quite a few of them being led around the room slowly by hand. Some of their costumes were huge, too, and Wink’s mouth and hads were radio-controlled making him unbelievably life-like.

Evan and me with the enormous Wink

Guillermo Del Toro also gave a presentation about the Blu-ray’s special features, making sure to rib on the cast and costumes in his typical fashion. He’s also hosting the first-ever in-Blu-ray live chat on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 6 p.m. PST, which anyone can join by signing up at and submitting questions via the “Directors Chat” tab in “My Account.”

Guillermo Del Toro introducing the Hellboy II DVD

There was also a rather funny panel discussion with Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones, Mike Mignola, a Dark Horse exec and Guillermo. We learned that Guillermo liked to call Jeffrey Tambor “Jeremy” and Guillermo said that Selma and Doug “learned everything they know about handling a weapon from Charlie’s Angels.” The actors confirmed that and Selma added that when using her fake gun, she would say “Bang bang,” when it was supposed to go off, and she had to be reminded to keep quiet during her close-ups. Doug talked about the elaborate costumes he got to wear during the shoot since he played three characters, and they all talked about their favorite monsters — most were partial to the incredible Angel of Death.

Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones, Mike Mignola, Dark Horse exec whose name I can’t remember, Guillermo Del Toro

After the party, we went to an Italian restaurant next door to the club with the DVD producer, Javier, and his girlfriend Orso (the ones we baked the cake for), a concept artist, Francisco, and a few other people. We didn’t get DVDs, but we did get Golden Army toys and a big hug from Guillermo.

See the rest of our photos in Evan’s Facebook album.

First Look: Hellboy II The Golden Army DVD Release Party Swag

Tonight Evan and I went to the Hellboy II DVD release party. It was great — they turned the Hollywood club Element into a scene reminiscent of the Troll Market in the movie, complete with plenty of monsters, like Wink and the Butcher Guards, and tables that looked like burning trash cans covered with Hellboy II-branded plexiglass. Guillermo Del Toro made a presentation to show off some of the new Blu-ray DVD’s features, like the goggle view, which allows you to see the movie as it was shot and in two stages of temporary visual effects, and he also showed some behind-the-scenes footage from the set. Then there was a panel, with Guillermo, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair, Doug Jones and a Dark Horse exec, which had some funny moments, mostly from Doug and Jeffrey.

More to come about the event tomorrow, but for now, check out our swag. Unfortunately we didn’t get our own Blu-rays, but we did get Golden Army toys.

A Busy Week: Elections, Moving, Murray, Turtle and Lobster

Sorry it’s been silent for a bit. Last week Evan and I went on a frantic apartment search, spending nearly every day scouring Craigslist and Westside Rentals, and driving around neighborhoods we liked. We saw nice places that were out of our price range, terrible places within it, and places that just didn’t quite seem worth what was being asked.

After all the calls and meetings, shortly after 5 on Friday we were driving around in an area near a place we’d just seen and didn’t like and we saw a sign for an open house. The building looked nice, so we went in, saw the place — a nice-sized two bedroom, two bathroom, that had cookies and water and flowers out for the open house. The manager was friendly, too. Best yet, it was in our price range and had the lease terms we wanted. By the time we walked out to the car, we decided we would take it, submitted our applications and got the tray of cookies to go. An hour or so later, they told us the place was ours.

We had the homecoming football game on Saturday — a total blowout where USC beat Washington 56-0. I flew up to San Francisco for a meeting on Sunday. Then Monday we started moving. We unpacked Evan’s storage unit into a truck, and while we were heading down to my parents’ place, we found out their dog had died.

A photo of Murray as a puppy

Murray was 12 years old, and he wasn’t doing too well. He had recently gone totally blind and he was very confused and disoriented. My parents had put up the pool fence since earlier in the year he’d fallen in, and though we’d never seen him get past it, he must have wandered past it in the bushes where it’s not completely closed. My mom found him at the bottom of the pool when she came home from work. She dove in a pulled him out, but it was already too late. Though we didn’t think he had a lot of time left because of his deteriorating health, we never expected his life to end like that.

He was a wonderful dog since we got him as a puppy. He was so cute and fluffly and tiny when he was little, people used to ask if he was a stuffed animal. He was independent and stubborn at times, and he would bark during dinner and when you were on the phone, but what he always wanted at the end of the day was to curl up next to someone to go to sleep. He also slept in later than anyone else in the family, hopping from bed to bed to be with whoever was still sleeping, and then sleeping some more.

He only knew how to do a few tricks, and then only when you had a treat dangling above his head, but to see him sit, lie down, and roll over was always great. Especially when he’d sometimes get so excited about the treat that he’d try to roll over without lying down first. He loved having his ears scratched, he loved sunbathing on the lawn chairs in the back yard, and he loved going in the car. He loved my mom more than anyone else, and she always did all she could to take care of him. The house is really lonely without him, and the whole family is really going to miss the Mur-boy, Mur-man and the “stupid pachyderm,” as my dad liked to call him (unfortunately, this led to some confusion as to what a pachyderm is for my little sister).

Needless to say, Murray’s untimely death put a hold on our moving, so we spent the night hanging out with my parents and got back to moving on Tuesday. First I needed to vote, though, so I went to my polling place at 6:45 a.m. and was the 10th person in line. It was the first time I’d voted at the polls instead of by mail-in ballot, and I was excited to be there. Also, I’d been purged from the roster before 2004, so I was duly excited to be back on the list and able to vote.

Such a satisfying little sticker

Of course, it wasn’t that easy. They still had me listed as vote-by-mail, though that was news to me since I never received a ballot. Because of the mix-up, I was only allowed to cast a provisional ballot. I was upset that they were still jerking me around after all these years, but at least I did cast some sort of ballot, and I did get my sticker.

Once that was done, we were ready to get moving. Our friend Jared helped us unload the truck, and we started unpacking and rediscovering all the items we had that had been in boxes for more than a year. We really missed having only a suitcase or a backpack to unpack like in London.

We took a break from moving to go to an election party at our friends’ place in Glendale to see Barack Obama’s historic victory and incredible acceptance speech. As the electoral votes starting pouring in, we were worried we’d still be on our way to the party when they made the call. We did make it, but we weren’t there very long when at 8 p.m. CNN called the race. We celebrated with champagne, and our friend Annie cooked an incredible dinner. However, I’m very disappointed with California that Proposition 8 passed. Maybe if they count all those absentee and provisional ballots like mine…

We spent the whole day Wednesday cleaning and organizing and sneezing because of all the dust. We still have a ways to go, but the basics are set and there are only a few more unpacked boxes.

Today, we couldn’t spend much time unpacking because we had to do some work, and tonight we went out to a friend’s birthday party a The Happy Ending, a dive bar in Hollywood. We saw Turtle from Entourage–he looked and dressed exactly as he does on the show–and we also gawked at ther claw machine that lets diners pay $2 to try and catch their own lobster. If they catch it, the restaurant will cook it. It was a bit disturbing, though I suppose as a vegetarian, I’m a bit biased. We asked the valet about it and he said that people have caught them before, but some spend a ton of money trying to do it.