UCLA Commencement 2003
Pete, Tracy, and Dennis all graduated from the Math Department at UCLA. Amazing!
I arrived a bit late, missing some of the speeches... met up with Pete's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dollinger, as well as Pete's grandmother, Erik, Jason, Jason's mother, and Nick.
Could barely see the graduates or the stage from where we sat, but the ceremony was short-- the department realized one speaker was unintelligble and canceled the 2nd of his 2 speeches on the fly, which was freakin' cool!-- and everything in the Court of Sciences was surprisingly nice!
Took pictures afterwards- Tracy had a few family members there, while Dennis had an entire fleet of family there-- then off to an informal lunch at Island's with just the guys. Dave, Erik, Jason, Pete, Nick, and I chomped on onion rings, nachos, burgers, and tacos...
Subsequently that evening was the Asian Pacific Islander Graduation (APIG), a long rambling affair where graduates could-- by design-- make a 10 second speech as they walked. Some thought it was great, but it's hard to enforce a 10 second speech limit. The huge crowd was pretty nice and hearing people speak was great, but hearing long rambling, poorly written and barely intelligible pieces of crap really contrasted with the intended bit of self-expression they intended to give their students. "Short and simple" evidently was stillborn here for manys students, stretching the graduation out from a horrible 2 hours to an utterly intolerable 3 hours!!
The ending speaker clearly induldged himself as much or more than the graduates did... the bit at the end about hostility against Asians in the past was twisted with a dramatically anti-US slant for a part of the speech. Again, graduation is for the graduates, NOT to advance political agendas! I recognize that APIG is inherently somewhat political and is a source of pride among Asians and Pacific Islanders who can organize this kind of ceremony... but the rhetoric wasn't appreciated!
Met with Barry, Donna, Jason, Brad, Wil, and a bunch of others there.
From there on out, picked up Erik and Nick, then along with Donna and Barry we joined my family in Monterey Park at Sam Woo BBQ for dinner. Sam Woo BBQ is the informal restaurant while Sam Woo Seafood upstairs is the nicer one, but my dad prefers the food and atmosphere of Sam Woo BBQ. I believe everyone enjoyed it, especially Grandma!
Said goodbye to the family afterwards, as they were leaving for home the next morning.
Barry, Erik, Nick, Donna, and I headed over to Chateau Marmont on Sunset Blvd. for Thomas' first night of his T-mobile camera phone photo contest grand prize, a 6 person, 5 city trip around the continential US, all paid for by t-mobile including the private jet!
The hotel room doubtless was not intended for partying as t-mobile intended, but with all of Thomas' friends in LA, he arranged for us to crash the place, and we happily obliged!
First off, the view was INCREDIBLE from the balcony of his penthouse suite. When we arrived around 10 or 10:30, things were still a little slow, but we weren't complaining too loudly... the view was THAT good!
Met a lot of new people, but also knew a surprising amount of people... aside from Thomas, we knew Amy (Thomas' sister), Robert, Kevin, Jen, Theary, Mike Smith, and a bunch of others; along with the usual suspects who were already there-- Amit and Dave-- which means everyone was pretty comfortable with each other. Very nice and very conductive to good partying... the penthouse suite and t-mobile paying for it all certainly didn't hurt, of course!
Met a few new people, although my memory for names is horrible. I know I missed a lot of names.. in fact I only remember Hannah (sp?), Francis, and Devin... ugh... 3 names out of 10+, I'm pathetic!
I don't think t-mobile got as much exposure from this party as they would have liked. They had a few inflatable toys out and some flags and stuff, but nothing big and obvious.
Anyway. Party was great; we'll probably NEVER afford a place this nice in the future while we're young. Simply awesome. As many said, particulary Dave, Thomas was THE man that night!
Speaking of, it's now Wednesday morning as of this writing. Party was Sunday night... Thomas is well on his trip. Anyone know how it's going? E-mail info or links with info to me (via brian1.net)... or heck comments, concernrs, corrections, complaints, etc.
Parting note: it was a crazy weekend, and it was great. Thomas, to his bad fortune with so many speeding tickets, the t-mobile grand prize was once in a lifetime. Take it and run with it; don't squander it, but don't forget to enjoy it! He's either in Las Vegas NV, Scottsdale AZ, Miami FL, or New York NY right now, and Thomas*, we all hope you're having a great time!
* = Thomas and 5 guests... Amy, Robert, Kevin, Thomas's GF Teresa, and I forget who else... Take LOTS of pictures for us, PLEASE!