Memorial Day Hiking

Sometimes on the weekends when Lauren is at work and I get up to a sunny day and I don’t have anything to do with my exams behind me, I feel like going out adventuring and exploring nature with my camera.  But I invariably stay in bed and putz around the house for most of the day and run errands or buy groceries or update my Bachelorette bracket (my money’s on Luke, but James T. and Wells are my personal favorites) because I suppose going out on adventures takes effort and I’ve been feeling lackadaisical.  I also have a final written assignment to work on for my last actuarial certification and although it’s not due really soon, I’ve been putting it off.  I wanted to work on it over the weekend but one of our small group members was back temporarily from being overseas and a few of us got together over Memorial Day weekend and hiked around LA.  On Sunday we went back to El Scorpion, a hike just down the road from us.  Every time we go Lauren and I go down different trails and that day was no different and we ended up on some pretty field on a hilltop.

Random El Scorpion field, iPhone panorama mode, patient friends

The trail kept continuing and a part of me wanted to see where it led, but it was getting dark so we just turned around and ate a late dinner.  The next day a few of us decided to go on yet another hike.  We hiked seven or so miles, ate enough snacks to make up for the lost calories, and I was even able to take some photos and got them to strike a few pretend-you-guys-like-each-other-and-I-just-happened-to-catch-you-guys-having-a-great-time poses.

These guys are really great at pretending they like each other, right?


The view from Eagle Rock. The photo doesn’t quite capture the chill from the wind up there. Or the deliciousness of the snacks we ate there.

So that was my Memorial Day weekend.  And I was even able to make it back in time to cook stir-fry and watch The Bachelorette (Chad is soooo evil).

Not Studying

I had two plans for this weekend.  Study to retake my last exam or DO A WHOLE LOT OF NOT STUDYING BECAUSE I FINALLY PASSED MY LAST ACTUARIAL EXAM!  I’m doing the second!

New Year’s Hike

Lauren and I have been hiking every New Year’s for the past one year so we decided to keep up the long standing tradition and head out to Paradise Falls in Thousand Oaks.  Unlike what the name suggests, the falls really smells!  But the whole 6-or-so mile Box Canyon Loop had a lot of varied terrain which Lauren liked, and after huffing and puffing it to Lizard Peak we were able to gain composure enough to try to make the hike seem effortless in front of the camera.

Still taking engagement photos…


Also according to our hiking customs we didn’t wear hiking clothes or shoes just in case we wanted to try to be extra photogenic.  On our 3rd date we actually went up LA’s Runyon Canyon all dressed up since we were originally planning on going to see a movie, which we were running late for after dinner.  Actually, now that I think of it, I didn’t tell her that I had pre-purchased tickets to that movie.  Oh well.

Company Team Photo

If I had my way I might go around and take random photos of people, which is probably really weird so I have to patiently wait until coworkers like these ask me to take a team photo of them.

CA Actuarial Medicaid team

The past few months

Ever since I finished my last exam I’ve been meaning to blog. My last test was right before Halloween and was correspondingly scary. One guy who took it with me attempted a problem, crumpled up his written answer, tried again, and ended up submitting his crumpled sheet of paper.  The whole thing was tough and much different than our practice exams but I do think I gave the whole thing my best shot and I think I have a shot at passing. Anyway, the results don’t get released until mid January so I have a little while to enjoy not studying. If I do pass it would have been my last actuarial exam! I really really really want to pass.

Since the exam, Lauren and I have been watching Star Wars movies we got from the library (she hadn’t seen any of them), using our sous vide machine (it’s nice to just plop in the meat and forget about it for awhile), hosting a couple game nights with coworkers (where I learned how to use the sous vide machine), and doing everything but studying. It’s really nice. Marriage has been … well, I feel very pampered. Not in all the things she does for me. It’s just feels really nice to spend all this time with someone that really wants to be with you.

For Thanksgiving, we went up to the Bay Area and spent time with Lauren’s family and got to see some of our friends.



Before we went up I went around the house to take some photos of the place.  Here’s one of the kitchen, where we spend most of our time.


I should probably try using my wide angle lens more often.

Over this past weekend, Lauren and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary. We went to Naples, which is a city in Italy!  OK, we actually went to Naples Island in Long Beach, California, close to where we got married. I was still a little sick but we managed to walk around the area for the Christmas light boat show. The houses were all opened up for parties and family get-togethers that you could see right into them. They all looked like super nice, like something you’d see in a Pottery Barn catalog. We spent the night down there, visited the place where we got married, went to a neighborhood farmer’s market which was at a school, and ducked into the school’s basketball game (the purple team got crushed). I guess we were thinking what it’d be like to have kids in school and all. We went to this resort afterwards to hang around the area, play Carcassonne, and have dinner before coming back home. I think Lauren really wanted to take a trip somewhere over the holidays but our one night, half-anniversary excursion may have been it for this year.

Last Sunday, I was also on the radio!  You can listen to the broadcast here.  Lauren and I have been regularly trying to submit answers for NPR’s weekly puzzle and mine was selected! I got to play the Sunday puzzle with the hosts. It tried to prepare and wrote down all my responses word for word to the questions they normally ask guests (“How did you solve the puzzle?” “How long have you been playing the puzzle?”) so I wouldn’t stumble on my answers.  It ended out turning out ok but I was really nervous.  Maybe I thought it was like an exam all over again…

Uncle Paul and Auntie Lin

I see some of my extended family once every decade or so (give or take a decade), so it was surprising to get an email from my Uncle Paul and Auntie Lin to meet up for dinner this weekend, as they were in town.  They found me through the interwebs!  We ate at Thai town and we caught up on family stuff.  They gave me a couple photos, and one was an old one of my dad and family:

My dad is the man in black in the center
My extended family, with my dad in the center in a black suit. I’d imagine he’s 20 or so…

Lauren says she can see the resemblance but it sort of reminds me how my brother used to look. They also gave me one of their family:

Extended family
Coincidentally playing a game Lauren and I bought a couple months ago: Splendor!

After getting home, on close inspection, I realized they’re playing the exact game Lauren and I just purchased a couple months ago. Splendor! Maybe it’s in our genes… I wonder if one of them managed to get a monopoly on the red tokens just like I did.

A new camera

I’ve been contemplating the notion of what my life would be like if I got a new camera.  Maybe the photos I took at my coworker’s baby shower in the darkened restaurant wouldn’t be so grainy with a larger sensor.  Maybe I could transfer them over wifi to my phone and post them immediately!  Maybe I woudn’t have to attach an intervelometer everytime I wanted to take multiple shots on its own.  Maybe I could touch the screen where I want the camera to focus!  Maybe my low light shots would be sharper with in body stabilization!  With so many things to contemplate, I had to make a spreadsheet.  And scour the web for sample photos, and watch video after video on various cameras and jot down DxOMark ratings for various cameras.  The XT1s, the a7series, the OMDs, the new GX8…  on paper they all look really cool!  But I don’t know, they are all kinda pricey.  And I’d have to get new lenses for some of them.  And I’d have trouble justifying spending money that’s essentially Lauren’s.  And maybe they’d lose their charm after awhile.  And maybe I just need to get better at taking photos.  And do I really need more photos of Lauren and me?  And shouldn’t I get back to studying?  I guess it’s going to be awhile before I get a new camera…





I turned 38 recently.  Lauren took me to this place where you were locked in this room for 45 minutes and had to get out by solving puzzles with the other people in your group.  I was pretty clueless most of the time but was able to figure out what the words over the door meant and we were able barely escape with a minute and a half to spare!  There was this kooky guy in our group that made the whole experience really fun since he was, well, kinda kooky.  He was so kooky that I thought he was hired by the place to enhance the experience, but it turns out in the end he was an actual kooky guy.

Afterwards Lauren took me to this really nice restaurant near Malibu in the mountains.  It was an outdoor restaurant, a country kitchen type of place with all these kids running around in the middle of their meals as they had all these lawn games everywhere.  It was really nice place to spend a relaxing Sunday evening and we ended up playing shuffleboard, carving a chicken (one of their entrees was a whole chicken), and taking some more photos.



I’m one years old!

One of these days I’m going to branch out and start taking photos of something other than the same two people.  But until then…

Wedding Photos

We got a whopping 800+ photos from our wedding!  I figured 10% is a pretty good proportion to leave on the web for possible posterity.  I must have listened to Ed Sheeran’s song, Photograph, a half kazillion times while sorting through these photos.  It was on repeat.  I’m addicted to that song…

It’s not a carburetor

I know I know I know I know I know!  I got it!  I figured out this week’s NPR Sunday Puzzle!

Name part of a car.  Drop the fifth letter.  Now reverse the order of the last three letters and the result reading from left to right will name a major American city.  What is it?

I guess the chance to be on the radio is pretty slim but I’m still excited to have finally figured out one of them!  Maybe it’s better if I don’t get picked and embarass myself not knowing any of Sunday puzzle answers .  It would be like 11th grade social studies all over again.