The end is near

I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the state government in Texas. While a difference in opinion of policy is one thing I can generally live with, it has been increasingly obvious that Republicans across the United States and particularly in Texas are attacking the right to vote. Then, they use the reduced accountability to enact unpopular policies.

Perhaps in years past, I could give the benefit of the doubt in that we disagreed with election procedure rules, but the latest batch of proposed bills are so obviously anti-voting it is beyond the pale. In a historic year for a multitude of reasons, cities like Houston increased voter turnout by running 24/7 voting locations and offering drive-through voting. In Austin, we’ve used mobile voting centers that went to churches, parks, libraries. All of these demanded the same voting requirements as normal locations and no proof has been presented that these led to significant amount of fraud.

In the past legislative session and the current special session, Texas Republicans are trying to ban all of these efforts in addition to other election changes in the name of “election integrity.” On top of that, AG Paxton outright insinuated that if they had not blocked efforts to make mail-in voting easier, they may have lost Texas in the 2020 Presidential election. While Republicans, including Trump, love to conflate ballots and ballot applications, we were talking about applications in Texas. In order for these to have been used, these voters would have already had to be registered, submit the application to get a mail-in ballot, then fill out the ballot and return it. The clerks merely wanted to pre-emptively send the applications, making it easier, particularly for the poor or elderly to request a ballot. The issue here is not that these votes would have been from illegitimate voters. The right for these citizens to vote was not questioned. While the Texas courts sided with Republicans here on what clerks were allowed to do, this was not an effort to prevent illegitimate votes. It was a legal maneuver to suppress legitimate votes.

Texas voter turnout is, by most metrics, horrible. Despite record number of voters in 2020, it still stands at bottom 15% when compared to other states. About 40% of elligible voters in Texas don’t vote. There’s a plethora of low-hanging fruit we could implement to dramatically increase voter turnout. Instead, Republicans are committed to implementing further voter restrictions that have an outsized negative impact on urban voters. That is anti-democratic, not the America we should be striving for, and outright despicable. When those in power are no longer accountable to voters, the whole system falls apart.

I’ve loved Austin, my home and neighborhood, and many people here that I’ve known for most of my life, but I’ve had enough. I will no longer share my financial success with a state that is outright oppressive to its citizens and rigs the game in order to avoid accountability. Texas has shown it is afraid of the will of the people and so I will no longer entrust it my taxes. Godspeed to those sticking it out and fighting the good fight.

I have weighed various options over the past few months. This past week, I visited Seattle and pulled the trigger on a house. It’s exciting and bittersweet at the same time. I’ll be moving later this year and would welcome visits - I’ll have plenty of space for guests!

A magical and scrumptious Phoenix

Why hello there, interwebs. Long time no see!

First off, I must say that I realized earlier this year that 2018 was the first year since 1999 that I didn’t make a single blog post. I’m honestly a bit sad by that, but it’s too late to fix that without cheating. I’m not really saying I’m above that, but I’ve resisted the temptation thus far. :) If a post in 2018 somehow magically appears, you can take this as ratting myself out that I cheated.

On to happier news, I just got back from a trip to Phoenix where we pigged out and played a lot of Magic! I didn’t take many photos, but I thought this one aptly captured the essence of our trip:

We went back to Binkley’s and Pizzeria Bianco and they were both still fabulous. We played a bunch of Magic team events and the last team trio we did, I had the most nuts mono-red deck I’ve ever played in a sealed event:

Nuts mono-red team trio

The rest of our pool wasn’t too shabby either - Mark had a pretty ridiculous UW artifact/enchantment deck as well. Unfortunately, we had to take an intentional draw in the last round to make our flight back, but think we had a really good chance to 3-0 that side event.

Thanks to Andrew, James, Josh, and Mark for the company and some fun times!

You may or may not see me back here soon, we’ll see how I feel… but at least I’ve got one entry in 2019 to kick this stuff back up. Here’s hoping 2020 will be so fantastic it’ll renew my blogging spirit. Toodles!

Christmas in India

Last Christmas, Viraj decided to get married on the other side of the world, so a few of us gave up time with our families to go to his stupid wedding.

Tonight, I finally went through my video from the trip and so now you too can see our Christmas in India…

President Fuckface

My intention is to not clutter up my blog with mention of President Fuckface news, but it seems disingenuous to completely ignore. This is a post I made on Facebook a few days before inauguration. I think it captures a lot of my thoughts on the topic without being just bursts of anger, so I’d like to keep it around here, if only to look back on someday (hopefully).

Growing up, I’ve always felt positively about the country I’ve lived in. There’s always corruption in the world, including here at home, but we were steadily moving in the right direction despite the stumbles along the way. In history class, we learned about slavery, the Nazis, world wars, dictators and presidents of the past. We’re told “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

I consider myself incredibly blessed to have the life I’ve had in the US. While I’ve faced mild racial mockery, mostly as a child, I’ve never felt being Asian has significantly limited me, and certainly not impacted my safety. I know that’s certainly not the case for everyone. You can blame the media, Trump putting on a show, or whatever, but this past election cycle shook something in me that I’ve never really had to deal with before.

I see the messages Trump sends. Either willingly, ignorantly, or whatever - it doesn’t matter. I see the creation of divisions between our neighbors and fellow Americans. I recall that as American kids, we take a pledge holding our hearts and state “with liberty and justice for all,” but not really too long ago, America fell into deep fear and rallied up thousands of Japanese based solely on their ethnicity and imprisoned them. I see Trump making broad statements on Muslims, on Hispanics, on women. I see him instigating China, a nation I have no association with other than my lineage, and for the first time in my life I’ve asked myself whether I’m still safe here.

I’m not trying to be alarmist. If I truely thought I was in significant danger here, I would not be typing this in my home in Austin. However, I felt the needle move in the wrong direction, even if minutely. The trust I had in us not repeating mistakes in the past I never thought were possible is now not quite as solid.

My hope is we as people continue to push forward and progress. However, I also see many warning signs with the incoming administration and they are difficult for me to ignore despite my temptation to be blissfully ignorant. Hopefully they are just warning signs, but if they are not, I will strive to be on the right side of history.

As such, I will be traveling to DC on Thursday to take part in inauguration protests. I plan on taking a lot of photos. I expect the day to at least be historic and I consider it no harm done in showing our government there are those who will resist should we turn our backs on the ideals we teach our children.

Happy MLK Day, everyone. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

The photos I took are in a FB album that starts here:

Unfortunately, I planned my trip before I knew about the Women’s March, so I was on a plane heading back to Austin during all of those. Would have loved to capture pics in either DC or Austin of that.

Overall, it was actually a pretty interesting experience and I’m glad I went. It made me realize that it’d be really cool to be present when we elect our first female President, especially if I felt positively about her.

30 and stuff

Well October just kind of flew by and we’re nearing the end of November and my blog is severely neglected. Maybe next year I’ll try to do my once a week blog post thing again. I kept up with that fairly well back in, uh… 2011?

I’ve successfully moved into the new house and sold the old one. Yays! Antoinette was on the market for less than 24 hours and I got multiple bids and took one that was significantly over the asking price. It was sweet. So far I’m enjoying Mueller pretty well too. There’s a decent amount of construction going on around me, but once that’s done I expect it to be a lot better. It’s really awesome having an HEB super nearby. Also in a year or so, the town center area will be getting populated and that’s just two blocks-ish away.

Tomorrow, the family flies out to San Francisco to be with Olivia for Thanksgiving. It’ll be the first Wong Thanksgiving in SF since a very long time ago! TIME TO PUT YUMMIES IN MY TUMMY.

I will now leave you with a photo of Andrew and I from when I visited Dallas last month or something. People were taking pictures in front of this thing, so we joined the bandwagon. /shrug

I don't know man, people were taking pictures in front of this thing, so we joined the bandwagon.


Dang, it’s August already. There’s a lot of moving going on (or about to be). Unless delayed again, it’s looking like to move to Mueller at the end of September and Olivia and Garrick are going to San Francisco. I don’t mind another reason to go back to visit that city. =) We checked out the new Mueller HEB’s cafe their opening weekend and it was decent enough. I could see myself talking a walk there with Mozilla frequently, especially once the weather isn’t so scorching. Viraj and I have some tentative plans to get wasted there cause it’d be hilarious.

Ryan’s decided to take a gig at Mozilla, which is pretty sweet for him, but it’s unfortunate that my time working with him again will only be 1.5 months. =p Right before I started at MR, I took a trip to San Francisco to do some hanging out with recent ex-coworkers and just chill. In a rare occurrence, I decided not to take my DSLR and man did it make a difference walking around. I felt so much lighter! I don’t think this means I won’t bring it with me on future trips, but I’ve pics of SF enough and plan on coming back many times in the future, so I figured I’d be lazy. Here are some randoms from my iPhone though:

Coffee time:
Coffee time!

My parents used to own an ice cream shop around this area and I have multiple baby pics here. Always fun to return, and this time there was actually water running:
Why hello there, familiar face.

More childhood nostalgia:
Memory lane @livizilla

Love this stuff:
Ahh memories

Oriana recently got the dogs some cow hoof to chew on at Andrew’s suggestion and this resulted in the first time I’ve had to break up a Mozilla and Badger fight. I’m pretty sure Badger started it, but maybe I’m biased. =) They’re normally pretty good though:

This past Friday I went to Town Lake (yes, I’ll still call it that) with the MR crew for their “fantastic friday” and took Mozilla along with me. He spent a decent amount of time looking at some large turtles:
Mozilla checking out a big turtle


BV flew me out to San Fran this past week to spend some time with my BV West brethren. I didn’t do anything too crazy, but there was a mall and lots of food options around where I was (4th, between Mission and Market). Made me realize how much I like big cities and being able to walk/mass-transit my way everywhere. I walked over to the mall across the street and saw Cloud Atlas (not very good), and bought some clothes since I packed particularly light.

I have a special relationship with SF since I was born there and visited so often. I guess having that deeper history makes me wonder what my life would be like had I decided to go to UC Berkeley instead of UT Austin (which was my middle school plan). I can think of a whole crazy butterfly effect on my current life since I likely would have stayed in the bay area after graduation. What company would I have been working at? One of the hot startups of the past decade? Would I be married? Homeless? =p Where would my Austin friends be without me? How has my existence impacted their lives? Imagining an entirely different timeline post-2001 is kind of crazy. Would I be a significantly different person?

I have the itch to leave Austin sometimes, and though avoiding poop on the street on my daily commute is a mighty tempting proposition, I’ve yet to make the leap of taking off to one of the big cities I find attractive (SF/NYC). I suppose I still have too much in Austin to keep me around and vacationing suffices for now… ;)

Ultimately, I’m blessed with the life I have and certainly don’t regret going to UT, but it’s fun to think of alternate realities sometimes, eh?

West Coast Road Trip 2

…so after the aquarium, we went to Kokkari Estiatorio for first dinner. The appetizers and the dessert I got were pretty awesome. I’m pretty tempted to say the dessert I got (the galaktoboureko, which I pronounced “galactic burrito”), was the best I had the entire trip. The main dishes were good, but out-classed by what came before/after. Overall, highly recommended.

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Second dinner was at Commonwealth, which I feel was good, but we were already somewhat full from Kokkari, so probably couldn’t fully appreciate it.

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In the morning, we discovered the place we had planned to eat at, Red Door Cafe, was closed, so we went to Brenda’s French Soul Food. Their breakfast was alright. I liked the beignets, but the rest were okay. I hear their lunch/dinner is pretty good though.

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Off to Los Angeles we go, where we meet up with Beika to eat at Animal. Very recommended. We devoured many creatures.

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For a late night snack, we went to a ramen place, which was pretty good. It’s Sam Approved.

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The next morning, we did first lunch at a Korean place, Seongbukdong. Recommended. It was very solid.

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Next up for second lunch, a visit to Umami Burger. I enjoyed the Manly Burger pretty well!

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Finally, for third lunch, because we’re crazy, we get sushi at Sushi-Gen. It was a good deal, but nothing crazy.

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For dinner, we go to Angelini Osteria, which I enjoyed pretty well. I would go back. The desserts were tasty. Allegedly, Nancy and Grace saw Justin Timberlake here, but Nancy took an extremely poor photo of the sighting, so it’s impossible to verify their claims.

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Plus, TC really hit it up with Grace:

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More dessert at Diddy Riese Cookies. It was so-so.

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The next day, we went to Mole of the Gods. They were closed when we first rolled up and we were about to leave when they opened their doors. We were lucky of our timing! They were very good.

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Then, we take off to Phoenix where our first stop is the renowned Pizzeria Bianco. Highly recommended, especially the Rosa (we got two and added prosciutto to one).

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For dinner, we headed off to Binkley’s, which surprisingly was the best meal of the trip. It was freaking amazing and extremely competitively priced. I highly urge anyone in Phoenix that is prepared for a very long, awesome meal, to go to this place. The food wasn’t quite as unique and various as Alinea, but at a fraction of the cost and spectacular on pure “OMG-that-tasted-awesome.” Mark says that the chef was ex-French Laundry, but if our experience was any indication, he’s completely surpassed them. I’m serious. This place is so awesome, we’re going to watch for cheap Phoenix tickets so we can return on some random weekend. Plus, hotels in Phoenix are cheap!

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The next morning, we go to Vegas! On the way, a quick photo-op at the Hoover Dam:

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After getting to Vegas, we eat lunch at Comme Ça. It was not bad.

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For dinner, we went off the strip to Kabuto. Would definitely go again. I felt bad I couldn’t eat that much because we had a late lunch.

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Brunch the next day was at Bouchon. I liked it a lot.

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CRAP! I just realized I didn’t get a group shot in front of Bouchon. DARN IT!

Later, we met up with Olivia, where I gave in to being uncomfortable and had a shot. Woo?

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For dinner, we went to Cut. My steak was disappointing, unfortunately, as it wasn’t as marbled as I expected, but I tried some of the crazy stuff Andrew/TC/Mark got and it was pretty intense.

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That’s it! Mark and I finaled back in Austin with Greg at Uchi. I took it easy on myself and didn’t take any pictures there, so that’s it! Tata!

West Coast Road Trip 1

I probably won’t blog about the whole thing right now, but I’ll cover a few highlights and revisit. It took Sam and I roughly 14 hours to get to Seattle due to flights getting delayed/canceled, etc. The one nice thing about that is that I got upgraded to first class flying to Seattle from Houston. I’ve got a ton of pics here, but I’ll directly include a few…

One of our first stops as a complete group was to Nielsen’s Authentic Danish Pastries. The danish I got was, in fact, very tasty. Recommended.

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Prior to Sam, TC and I’s arrival, the group went to Serious Pie, but decided to go back again for first lunch. I had been there previously on a business trip and it did not disappoint the second time around. Recommended.

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We walked around Pike Place Market, met up with Victoria, and then walked a mile and some to Pike Street Fish Fry and had some tasty “fish and chips” for second lunch. Recommended.

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Off to Portland we go, and after checking in to our hotel, we hit up Aviary. It was really good. Highly recommended.

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For a late night snack, we hit up Biwa. For some reason we thought they closed really late, but we got there right as they were closing up but they sat us anyways. Though the food was good, can’t say it stood out any IMO. If I lived in the area, I could see myself going back, but I probably wouldn’t make a point of visiting again.

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In the morning, we waited a long time to eat at Tasty N Sons. It was worth the wait. Very recommended.

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For lunch, we hit up Pok Pok, which was great. Highly recommended. Get the chicken wings. They were amazing. Afterwards, we got more dessert at Scoop.

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After that, we make the long drive to San Francisco…

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…and make a quick stop at Voodoo. It was alright.

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We arrive in SF really early in the morning, but wake up in order to get some Chinese baked goods at Napoleon Super Bakery, accompanied by Tiff, Alex, and Kelsey who were wonderful guides. The dan tats (all I cared about) were good!

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Our planned lunch, Swan Oyster Depot, was unfortunately closed for Labor Day, so we hit up Shalimar instead where I got some brains to eat. It was tasty.

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A few of us then went to get ice cream at Smitten which also was tasty.

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Off to French Laundry we go, all dressed up!

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Unfortunately, I can’t say I’d recommend French Laundry. While I don’t regret going, I wouldn’t go again. The food was good, but not good enough to justify the price (I’d much prefer Alinea), and the service was so formal, it was awkward. I guess some people may like that type of service, but I found it a bit stifling. We had a good time regardless though, and there were definitely a few dishes that were pretty tasty, I just can’t say I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

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The next day, we go kind of crazy and book two lunches and two dinners. For first lunch, we go back to Swan Oyster Depot. I’m super glad we did. This place was awesome, especially the smoked salmon. Highly recommended.

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For second lunch, we went to a Burmese place, Burma Superstar. It was really good. Highly recommended. Nancy really liked the tofu.

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After that, we hit up the Golden Gate Bridge and the Steinhart Aquarium.

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I’ll stop here for now. I’ll continue with first dinner tomorrow!


Chad, Nancy, Mark, Julie, Dean and I went to Kauai last week. TC was supposed to come, but he got all lame and bailed out. Sam had “school” or something and Viraj was Viraj.

Here are some pics!

I arrived early and stayed at a hotel for a night. In the morning as I waited for the rest to show up, here is where I chilled:
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This is the upper floor of the house we rented:
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We went on a crazy four mile hike (one way). On the way, Mark and Chad posed. Nancy’s prompt to Chad was “do something awesome like Mark.”
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These girls had this awesome dog on the hike that followed us for a while:
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This was the waterfall at the end (or middle… depending on how you think about it…)!
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Mark and I swam in this… it was very cold.
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This was the beach next to our house:
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At a luau:
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Visiting Pearl Harbor:
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We kayaked then hiked to another waterfall:
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Chad chilled back at the kayaks because he wore slippers:
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Kayaking back:
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Nancy and Julie commandeer my camera and I find this in the morning:
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(Almost) passed out:
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We drove out to this secluded beach and played ultimate in the rain:
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Double bombed:
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We visited Waimea Canyon (pictures don’t do this justice):
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Chad and I wore our horrible Singapore shirts to dinner:
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More on flickr!