Tuesday, April 16, 2013
1. Hana House Stanford (http://hannahousetours.stanford.edu/)
2. Xanadu Gallery (http://www.xanadugallery.us/)
*3. Marin Civic Center (http://www.marincounty.org/depts/cu/history)
4. Military Vehicle Technology Foundation tour (http://www.mvtf.org/)
*5. Nike Missile Site (http://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm)
In door sports
*6. Trampoline (http://sjc.jumpskyhigh.com/)
7. Aerial Yoga (http://www.theyogastudio.biz/)
8. Archery (various, http://www.santacruzarchers.com/drupal/)
9. Rock climbing gym (various, http://www.citybeach.com/rockgym/)
10. Scuba diving (various, http://www.diverdans.com/classes/discoverscuba.aspx)
Out door sports
11. Out door rock climbing (various, http://www.outdooradventureclub.com/trips/rock-climbing/beginner-climbing-castle-rock.html)
12. Downhill skiing (various, )
13. Ice climbing (various, )
*14. Cross country skiing
*15. Snow shoeing
12. Kayaking (various, http://www.calkayak.com/trip_sea.cfm)
13. Dragon boat (various, http://www.bayareadragons.org/)
14. Outrigger canoeing (various, http://pupuohawaii.org/)
15. *Stand up paddling (various, http://www.kayakconnection.com/standup-paddling_page.php?id=7&keywords=Tours)
16. White water rafting (various, )
16. Filoli Garden (http://www.filoli.org/)
17. Hakone Garden (http://www.hakone.com/main.html)
18. Elephant Seal at Ano Nuevo (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1115)
19. Bald Eagle at Lake San Antonio (http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/parks/eagle_watch_tours.htm)
20. Kayak whale watching (various, http://www.kayaksantacruz.com/index.php/tours/7-guided-tours/7-kayak-whale-watch-tour)
21. Stern Grove Festival (http://www.sterngrove.org/)
22. Opera in the Park (http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/Opera-in-the-Park.aspx)
23. Elk Horn Slough (http://www.kayaksantacruz.com/index.php/tours)
24. Santa Cruz Harbor (http://www.kayaksantacruz.com/index.php/tours)
25. Oakland Harbor (http://www.calkayak.com/infopop.cfm?classID=165)
26. San Francisco (http://www.citykayak.com/trips.htm)
*I have not done this...
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
We had a 4 hour lay over in Portland, so I took my parents to visit Powell City of Books.
Here is my Dad's article as published in Zaobao.com on the visit...
7月初陪同太太与小儿子，到北美阿拉斯加一游，乘机前往安克雷奇 （Anchorage）登上游轮的途中，在俄勒岗州的波特兰市机场转机，必需在机场停留四个小时，等待下一班机。正在烦恼这几个小时将如何打发，儿子提及 这市中心里有一间号称全美规模最大的连锁书店鲍威尔书店（Powell’s Books）。长期浸濡于书业界的背景，关心和参观书店，已成为我的兴趣，便动起了前往参观的念头，下机后就立即向机场询问处查问该店如何前往，时间是否 允许。
由机场乘搭电动火车到市中心全程约一小时，下车后走过两条街，就看到一座古旧、土红色、由四条街道包围着的巨大四层楼建筑物。进 到里边才发现，这店分前后座两部分，由于地势的缘故，必需走上六、七级的楼梯，才能由前座登上后座。后座面积较前座大出约三分一左右。从书店提供的地面图 看来，前座只有地面层是零售处，后座有三层作为零售，第四层则是办公室。可能是书太多，容纳不下，在书店马路对面的另一边，还有一间面积约为前座七成的零 售处，专卖科技与工程的书籍。仅后座一层的面积粗略估计，约接近北京西单的“北京书城”的一层。因此全店的总面积即便没有超过西单的“北京书城”，估计也 相差不远。由于必须赶在登机前，花上一小时通过机场安检，只能匆匆忙忙每一层都走马观花地随意看看。即便是如此，也要花上超过半小时才走完全店，却无法再 去看科技与工程图书部门了。
我们抵达的那一天是周一下午三点左右，是阳光普照的夏天，店里几乎每一层都有许多不同年龄层的读者，在翻阅 和选购图书，儿童图书部门更是人声吵杂。附设在书店地面层，小型的约只有十余张小椅的咖啡座，也是座无虚席，排队买饮料和冰淇淋的人龙，一直排到店门外。 图书部门三台收银机前等候付款的队伍虽不算长，却也源源不绝，令人感到这家书店生气勃勃。
这家书店有几个特色，都是我至今在世界各地参 观过数十家的书局里不曾见过的。第一，它除了卖新书之外，也兼卖和收购二手书。更令我好奇的是，同一本书，新书与二手书紧紧相邻，并排而列。许多二手书外 表看来都颇新，若非贴上“旧书”（used）的标签，一时都辨认不出新旧。櫃台上的职员告诉我，新书按标价卖，二手书一般都减半，除此之外还有贴上 “sale”标签的促销图书，则按标价打个折扣。
第二，它的图书陈列架，都是由地面起一直延伸到天花板，一排排的书架，把门市零售处， 分隔成一条条的小通道，通道的两旁则是陈列架。我仔细地算了一下，每个书架分为十层，下面七层的高度，是以洋人的一般身高伸手可及为限，上面的三层没有 门，只在下方贴着，“请顾客勿动，这是本店库存”的说明，可以一目了然看到有些什么库存。
第三，它的后座第三层内，设有一个规模不小， 有专人看管的独立房间，内里摆设许多稀缺的图书或孤本，或是有作者亲笔签名，或名人在书上加注手迹的书本与画册等，可算得上是珍稀古董图书的交易处。第 四，它没有卖音像产品，没有卖教科书与教辅读本，只有微不足道的少量文具用品，即便是咖啡座也很小，触目所及除了书之外还是书，可说是名符其实的传统书 店。
我在互联网上查看了一下该书店的网站，才知道全店的零售面积为6万8000平方英尺（6300平米）；平均每天从店里购书的有近 3000人；另有约3000人在店里浏览或喝咖啡；书店每天购入3000本二手书；店里陈列的图书超过100万册，按122个大类和3500个部门，分门 别类陈设；每天约有8万人通过网上或亲临书店来寻找或浏览它的书种；《华盛顿邮报》评它为全世界最好的书店。
才到美国时，听小儿子说美 国排名老二的博德斯（Borders）连锁书店，近年来持续亏损，尽管它已关闭了十余家门市店面以减少费用，但观察家对它的长期继续生存，大多不表乐观。 此前我也曾在网上读到一篇外国报道，对美国独立的传统实体书店经营现况与前景，作全面分析与报导。结论是：由于从互联网上免费下载阅读资讯习惯的普及，加 上网上选购书的方式省时省力，更受到电子书市场的日益发展与扩大等等多重打击和挤压下，传统的实体书店的生存空间，受到了极大的压缩，近年来陆续关闭了不 少。
余下的为了寻求生存之道，都纷纷作出改变与调整经营模式。最常见的是附设咖啡座，让读者可以一边品尝咖啡，吃些小点，一面舒适地选 购与浏览图书。其他的则把业务内容的重点向教科书及教辅读本，或是工艺美术品，或是文具用品等转移。看来，独立的传统实体书店经营的困境，并非是新、马华 文书店才面临的独特情况。科技的进步，影响到人们和整体社会的生活习惯和运作方式。据说中国的书业，也开始感受这变化的压力。这家书店一方面顺应潮流，通 过增设了完善的网上购书服务，另一方面加强了自身固有的特色，还能在逆境里，保持欣欣向荣的经营，不得不令人刮目相待。
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
From my hotel in lower Queen Anne, I cut across Seattle Center to reach K's place in Belltown. From her place, we went to Macrina Bakery and Cafe. This bakery was mentioned in Hemisphere's Magazine 3 Perfect Days in Seattle and was extremely popular. Unfortunately, my late start to the day meant we had to wait for table. Since the cafe was rather small, I had to stand next to display cases full of decadent baked good while waiting. I got hungry in a hurry :)
After a 20 minute wait, we were seated. K and I both ordered the salmon scramble, which was a smoked salmon with scramble eggs and chive creme fraiche over bread. For drinks, both of us opted for Mimosa. I had the pomegranate and she had the grapefruit.
After a satisfying brunch, we walked to the waterfront by Pike's Place Market. The sun was shining brightly on this winter morning and the sky was especially blue. Over the azul colored Puget Sound water on the horizon were the snow peaked mountains of Olympic National Park. It was amazingly beautiful. My point and shoot camera could not do the scenery justice.
Pike's Place Market is basically an open air market full of tourist traps, the most famous being the fish toss at Pike's Place Fish Market. We found out that if a customer bought a fish, they would toss it, even to the customer! K and I had not intention of doing any cooking, so we passed on this opportunity.
Around the corner from Pike's Place Market is the first Starbucks. In Seattle, Starbucks are located a few steps from each other, but this one was extremely crowded. There was no clear sign to indicate this was store number one, but the Starbucks logo on the window was different.
From Pike's Place Market, we walked to Pioneer Square to take the Seattle Underground tour. Seattle was originally built on the flood plains. After a big fire, the city rebuilt, by raising roads to second floor height. The original first floor became "underground". Since this plan was communicated to building owners, underground doors and windows were not decorated. Hence, there wasn't much eye candy to see. But the tour itself was interesting and full of historic facts.
After the tour, we walked around Pioneer Square area a little more. This area is located near the stadiums and there are several sports bar. It also felt like a tourist trap and there wasn't much to see.
After browsing for a while, we walked along 4th Ave to Westlake Center, downtown Seattle's retail core. At this time, both K and I were a little tired. We decided to take the monorail back to Seattle Center and rest before evening activities.
At 7:30pm, K and I met up and walked to Pintxo. K and a bunch of her friends: S, J, Vik and Jessica were meeting for drinks and tapas. I ordered a hot toddy and a bunch of finger food. The goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon was delicious! I also enjoy the sweet Tequila Lime shrimp and seared Catalan sausage with red pepper sauce.
After dinner, we went to Twist for more drinks. I had a Millionaire Mojito and enjoyed it very much. Rana joined us at Twist and we chatted a little more.
By the time we were done with drinks, it was almost midnight. Rana wanted to go dancing, so K and I went with her to Frontier. K's friend Colin joined us at the club. In the beginning, we really like the music and but as the night move on, the DJ started spinning slower music. We were increasingly bored and decided to call it a night.
Friday, February 18, 2011
"We are out having a drink!" She said, "Care to join us?"
I had a good rest on the flight over and was feeling pretty fresh. "Why not?" I figured.
When the light rail reaches West Lake Center, K directed me to White Horse Trading Company: a small bar located a block away from Pike's Place market.
When I entered the bar, I immediately like the space. The bar was a older building, but was very well maintained. The space itself were small but felt intimate and warm. There were bookshelves along one wall and along the other. The whole room felt like the library of an old English gentlemen.
I had a mead and met a few of K's friends.
It was almost 11pm when I arrived at the bar, so after my drink we decided to call it a night. K's friend Colin drove and happened to live near my hotel, so he was able to drop me off.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I had planned for a proper 10 course dinner as per tradition, but after talking to my Mom, she told me a five course dinner would suffice.
So, here's my five course reunion dinner menu:
1. Steamed White Pomfret
2. Sauteed Spinach with Shittake mushroom
3. Steamed rice cake with Chinese sausage
4. Braised pork
5. Pork rib soup with Napa cabbage and carrots.
Fish is a must on Chinese year, since the word sounds like "abundance" in Mandarin. Similarly, rice cake is required, since it symbolized "Yearly increment" :) My Mom wanted to include mushroom in the menu, since it sympbolized "growth".
Frankly the quality of the produce, fish and meat at the Chinese Market were not very good due to high sales volumne during Chinese New Year. As a result, the dishes did not taste very good.
Without further delay, here's a picture of the dinner spread...