Saturday, May 31, 2008

Off to LA

We're headed to LA to attend a friend's wedding...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hope Kee

We went to Hope Kee for dinner tonight. It's a recently opened "Hong Kong" style restaurant in the new Lee Lee Oriental Market in Peoria.

We ordered:
  • Honey Glaze BBQ Pork ($6.95)
  • Yu Shan Eggplant Clay Pot ($7.95; Mince pork with Chinese egg plant in spicy brown sauce)
  • hot tea ($2.25 for a pot)
Prior to our food arriving, they gave us two small side dishes. One w/ marinated radish, cucumber, and carrot and another w/ salted roasted peanuts. The marinated veggies were ok. The peanuts were nice.

The BBQ Pork was very good. It was a pretty large portion. Patty thought it could have been a tiny bit sweeter. I thought it was just right.

The eggplant dish was excellent. The eggplant was cooked just right and the sauce was great - full of garlic and ginger.

The only thing that could have used improvement was the steamed rice. It was a bit too mushy.

We both enjoyed the food. It was a very promising first visit. We'll be back!

Places mentioned:

Hope Kee
7575 W. Cactus Rd.
Peoria, AZ 85381

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Special delivery from the US Postal Service

I got a package in the mail today.

It was postmarked December 28, 2007.

The package was sent from Phoenix - a total distance of about 20 miles...and it took 5 months!

Monday, May 26, 2008


We're so depressed to be home again...haha...

What I hate about Phoenix:

1. You rarely see people walking around.

It's too hot in the summer time and even when it's nice out, besides the outdoor malls, there aren't any cool areas or neighborhoods to walk around (the population here is high but the density is too low). Seattle is full of neat little neighborhoods for people to explore.

When I was in Salt Lake City a few months ago, on the day I was leaving, it was 40 degrees and snowing outside. While I was on my way to the airport (about a four mile drive), I saw more people walking around than I saw after I returned to Phoenix and drove home. My drive home from the airport was around 25 miles and the weather that day was clear and 75 degrees. Beautiful weather, but no people out on the streets. Sad...

2. It's dominated by chain restaurants and "big-box" retailers.

During the entire weekend in the Seattle/Bellevue area, I only saw one chain restaurant (Cheesecake Factory). I didn't see a single Lowe's/Home Depot/Wal-Mart/Old Navy/Target/etc. I know they are in area...they just aren't on every single corner.

It was so refreshing to see local stores, restaurants, and people out on the streets!

I'll post a full trip update soon.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Currently in Bellevue

We're in Bellevue (Washington) for the long weekend. Patty has been here since Wednesday (for work) and I arrived yesterday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another car update

Got a call from the dealer at 5:40pm saying that my car would be done today. It was too late too make it out there before they closed today and I'm leaving for Seattle early tomorrow morning, so I won't be able to pick it up my car until next Tuesday.

The service adviser also mentioned that they installed a new windshield. (what the heck?)
He explained that while they were using a tool during the repair, they accidentally cracked the windshield. The guy sounded so chipper while he was telling me I had a "new windshield...paid for by us". Woo hoo! I'm thrilled. Actually, quite the opposite -a replaced windshield means they had to break the original factory seal, which can lead to all kinds of problems if not done correctly. Oh well...can't do much about it.

CGJ Korean Restaurant

Just got back from lunch at CGJ Korean Restaurant. This was my first time there for lunch.

They are running some incredible summer lunch specials!

I had the Daeji Bulgogi Bento (marinated pork) for $4.95. Here's what it came with:
  • salad
  • soup
  • daeji bulgogi (quite a large portion)
  • 6 small portions of various side dishes (bean sprouts, potato, broccoli, picked radish, kim chee, picked cucumber)
  • rice
  • 3 pieces of California Roll
Amazing! The amount of food was almost enough for two people. All this for $4.95!!! Everything was really tasty. I even have leftovers for dinner tonight...

I'll be back!

Places mentioned:

CGJ Korean Restaurant
4920 W. Thunderbird Rd. Suite #117
Glendale, AZ 85306

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Car update

My car is still at the dealer...

I stopped at the dealer last Thursday to pick up a (complimentary) loaner car. Here what I got:
Audi A4 S-line
No's an '08 A-4 S-line. =)

It seems pretty similar to my car (which is a '05.5). I haven't really driven it hard but I don't notice much of a difference in terms of improved performance. I believe it's the same engine, just tuned differently. The interior has paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and aluminum knobs on the radio.

Up to the day I picked up the loaner, the dealer still had no idea what was wrong with the car (after 4 days). The next day, I got a call from the service advisor saying that it was the TCM (transmission control module) and that it would be another "week or so" (as the part is coming from Germany).

We'll see...

Monday, May 19, 2008

The heat is on

Miserable weather has arrived. It is supposed to hit 110 degrees today.

We finally gave in yesterday and turned on our AC for the first time this season.

Yuck. Time to hide inside...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Lost Boys

I've been a mentor for over 8 years. I was a "Big" in Big Brothers Big Sisters for six years and for the past two years, I have been a mentor in Washington Street Foundation (WSF). Each month, we have an organized event for the group. Many months, we have guest speakers.

As part of this month's WSF event, we had a speaker from the AZ Lost Boys Center. Patty and I recently saw the movie "God Grew Tired of Us" (my recent blog post), which was about the Lost Boys of Sudan, and I was really excited to hear his story.

Some highlights:
  • fled from his home (to escape soldiers) at the age of 6
  • separated from his immediate family - he traveled w/ his cousin
  • survived 3 months with no "real food"
  • spent time in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya
  • forced to become a "boy soldier"
  • during this time, he was shot and wounded in the leg
  • while at a hospital, he was "saved" by a nurse who sent him back to the refugee camp
  • arrived in Phoenix in 2000 (w/ little English skills)
  • finished high school in under four years
  • attended Paradise Valley Community College, where he obtained Associates degree in Medical Technology
  • father was killed; found out in 2006 that his mother and 4 brothers (of 6) were also killed
He had a great story about how he survived during his escape from Sudan. His cousin told him that his mom was ahead of them (so he was inspired to continue) and that he couldn't cry (which might give away their location), or he would tell the other boys (who would make fun of him). Sorry...terrible use of pronouns...but you get the idea. =)

He is now a Medical Technician for a non-profit and volunteers for the AZ Lost Boys Center, where he frequently speaks to groups about his story. He will be returning to Sudan in November (his first time back).

The Namesake

Last weekend we watched the movie, The Namesake. The movie is based on a book of the same name. The main story is about a son's relationship w/ his parents and the issues he has with his name, Gogol.

Both of us loved the movie. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What's wrong with my car?!?

My car has been at the dealer since last Saturday. They started looking at it on Monday afternoon...and haven't been able to figure out what the problem is.

Must be serious...the service adviser even mentioned that they called in the "Audi Service Hotline" to help troubleshoot. =)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lucky to be alive

Yesterday was not a fun day.

We were headed to a friend's house for a barbeque. After about ten minutes of driving, the ESP (Electronic Stability Program) indicator light came on. I asked Patty to check out the manual to see if it was something serious. Due to a lane closure, the traffic on the highway was stop-and-go. We continued driving for another five minutes and then at one of the short stops, the dreaded "Check Engine" light came on and after I pressed on the accelerator, the car wouldn't move.

CRAP! PANIC! We were stopped in the middle lane of I-10 (a major interstate highway).

No...stay calm...

I turned off the engine and tried again. No luck. I first called DPS to let them know that we were stopped in the roadway. Then I called Audi Roadside Assistance.

A DPS officer came after about 10 minutes. He blocked off traffic and pushed me (using his patrol car) to the side of the road.

As we waited for the tow truck to come, two DPS patrol cars stopped by to see if we were ok. Thank you DPS!

The tow truck came after two hours of waiting (it was about 100 degrees outside and we were roasting in the car). The tow truck was held up in traffic as well, getting to us. Luckily, we had brought a bottle of water along for the ride...

Here's a pic of the car being loaded onto the tow truck (note the traffic in the background):

We arrived at the Audi dealer just as they were closing for the night (and right before they had closed the gates to the parking lot). So lucky...

The tow truck driver unloaded the car. I noticed as he was unloading the car that one of the rear tires went over the truck bed edge rail. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time...

I tipped him and he left. Then I put my key in an envelope and dropped off the key in an "overnight key drop slot".

As were we walking by the car again, we noticed a hissing sound...what the heck...?

CRAP! (#2)

Here's a picture of the tire (see the gash near the "M"...):

Here's the completely deflated tire after five minutes of slow "hissing"...
I called the towing company and they called the driver back (we had to wait about forty five minutes).

Lots of details that I left out in between (involving retrieving the key back from the slot, etc.)...anyways - I don't want to rehash my nightmare. I was more than ready for the day to end.

Although we had a terrible experience, I think we were actually very lucky in many ways. If the car would have stopped in the middle of the highway under normal highway conditions (with normal traffic flow), we could have very easily been rear-ended and things would have turned out far worse.

So while it was (and still is) an inconvenience, I am so thankful that we were able to walk away safely!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Disaster in Myanmar

Complete devastation in Myanmar from Cyclone Nargis...
22,000+ people dead
40,000+ missing
1,000,000+ homeless

I did a bit of research and we decided to make donations to the following aid organizations:
In addition to the above, you can find a complete list of aid agencies via the following:
Aid agencies accepting Myanmar cyclone relief donations (from AP/Yahoo! News)

Monday, May 5, 2008

The most expensive home in the world

Mukesh Ambani (Chairman of Reliance Industries and the #5 wealthiest man in the world, according to Forbes) is building a $2 billion dollar house in Mumbai.

27 floors, 400,000+ square feet, 3 rooftop helipads, a staff of 600...for a family of six???


What if he just built a $100 million dollar home and donated the remaining $1.9 billion dollars to charity?

What if he built a $1.9 billion dollar home and donated $100 million to charity?

Forbes commencement speech to Spring '08 T-Bird grads

Forbes Gives Graduates 5 Keys to "Golden Era" (from

Sunday, May 4, 2008

God Grew Tired of Us

We watched God Grew Tired of Us last night. It is a documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan. The first part of the film gives an overview of Lost Boys story and the second part follows three of the boys as they adjust to life in the U.S.

It a great movie - very sad but inspiring. The sad thing is that the violence still continues today (after 25+ years).

A side note - the guest speaker at this month's Washington Street Foundation (a youth mentoring organization) meeting will be a Lost Boy! I'm looking forward to hearing his story...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thunderbird commencement and dinner with Steve Forbes, Craig and Barbara Barrett, and the President of Costa Rica!

Congratulations Spring 2008 Thunderbird graduates!

Today was commencement for the Spring term. As a staff member (and graduate) of the school, I volunteered for two Thunderbird events today.

The first was the commencement ceremony itself. It was held at the new Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa. Even though we only live about ten minutes away from the place, I've never been inside before. The hotel is much larger and nicer than it looks from the outside.

Here are a few pictures:
Thunderbird commencement programvarious flags of the worldThunderbird President Dr. Angel Cabrera and Steve Forbes
The second event, also at the Renaissance Glendale, was a Thunderbird Global Leadership Society dinner. It was an appreciation/fundraising dinner for the school's top donors. There were many high profile attendees, including the following special guests:
The Barretts are huge advocates of Thunderbird. They are also chairing Campaign Thunderbird - the school's $65 million dollar capital campaign. To kickstart the campaign, they have made a $5 million dollar pledge.

I helped with check-in and registration and was able to enjoy the dinner afterwards. The dinner was decent (as good as hotel banquet food can be...). Here was the food served:
antipasto platehalibut and steakchocolate mousse torte
I was having dinner with Steve Forbes, the Barretts, and the former President of Costa Rica (among others)! Even though I didn't technically sit with them, I was in the same room. =) WOW!!! What an amazing opportunity!

I experienced a similar feeling when the Dalai Lama visited the school a while back and I attended his speech. Incidentally, Barbara Barrett was instrumental in coordinating that visit.

Thunderbird truly is an amazing place...

Ah - the benefits of working and volunteering at the #1 school in the world in International Business! =)


PBS aired a 10-part series this week called Carrier. It was about life aboard the USS Nimitz.

The series was fantastic. It was the best thing I've seen on TV in a long time. The final episode, "Full Circle", was incredible. It was full of touching scenes as the crew members rejoin their families after deployment.

I loved the scenes where they are pulling into ports, and the crew is manning the rails (in formation around the perimeter of the deck). What an awesome sight that must be...

If you missed it, you might be able to catch re-broadcasts over the next few days. The entire series is also available on-line (streaming video) and via DVD. Check it out!