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Thursday, December 28, 2006 

Big Al's Top Ten of 2006 Part I

So as 2006 comes to a close, I need to reflect back and look over 2006. This was one of the craziest years of my life. It's going to be hard to top. I can certainly say that I had a blast and I'm happy that you've been apart of it.

Over the next 2 days, while you guys are at work, I'm going to list the Top 10 of 2006. I know that somebody will come up to me next week or next month and say "What about this?" or "You didn't mention that". (Sorry to Emily of Taiwan & Gracelyn of the Jacob's family who I forgot to mention in my video blog). I will try my best to summarize the past 365 days into 10 lines. So without further adu, here's #10-6:

10. The opening of BigAlsHouse.com Version 2.0 (March 3, 2006)
For those that are unaware, BigAlsHouse.com was originally purchased to market my SCU senior year party - Return of the Broncos in September 2000. It was a success and may have been one of the earliest cases of viral marketing (but I hadn't realized it at that point). I didn't mention my party's specifics I just told random people to visit my website where they could find out the when/where and then I eventually had about 300+ people at my party. After the domain expired I didn't renew it and somebody else bought it. I then was able to get it back again on March 1, 2006. I transfered my blog from MySpace and as of now I have 175+ blog posts and 3800+ hits on my homepage.

9. Going to the AVN's in Las Vegas (January 2006)
So Frenchy has been asking me to go to the AVN's for many years now. I always told him that I would go if he booked his ticket. This was the year that he finally went. Crazy eh? So I lived up to my word and bought myself a ticket. Luckily H-bomb and VJ came along to assist in the lodging expenses. All didn't start out well, I did lose my PSP and Frenchy lost his wallet, but we had a blast in the process.

The convention was super crazy! It surpassed all of my expectations. I thought this was going to be dude-fest, but there probably was as many female visitors as there were male visitors. I was able to see Jenna, Tera, Peter & Ron (to name a few).

There were a few crazy things that happened there. The first was seeing Hammer there and getting to take a picture with him. Can't Touch This!

The second and most craziest thing was that I was asked to star in a movie. You can ask Frenchy to testify about this, and he'll confirm the story. I was walking in the convention center and Mika Tan (www.mikatan.com) came up to me and asked me to star with her. She introduced me to her manager and he wanted me to star in a film too. Despite Frenchy's insistance that I fulfill his dream, I humbly declined. However, they did give me their contact number and email address just in case I changed my mind.

8. Going to the Winter Olympic Games (February 2006)
Going on an International Trip is always fun. However, getting to go out there during the Olympic Games was even crazier. I couldn't believe that I had the opportunity to go out to Paris during the weeks of the Olympic Games. This was the trip that almost didn't happen. We were working on an issue with Total (a European based oil company). The problem almost solved itself, but we still needed to put a public face in front of them. I was luckily the one chosen. I packed my bags and headed off to Paris, France. My onsite work took about a week. After that was done I quickly booked a trip to Torino via EasyJet Airlines and went on Craigslist to find a cheap place to stay. From there I met some of the coolest people (Rita, Pike, Lisa & Giacomo). I had no itinerary and I managed to get into the Women's Figure Skating Finals, Short Track Speed Skating and USA vs. Russia Hockey. I met members of the Toronto Maple Leafs coaching staff, John Konkac of the 1984 Olympics Basketball Team, I got to put on a bronze medal of the USA Women's Hockey Team and I also chatted with Sasha Cohen's Grandma. With this trip, I was able to cross another thing off of my life's to do list.

7. Summer Vacation in Thailand (May-June 2006)
During my summer of indecision, I decided to take a 3 week journey to Thailand, Hong Kong & Cambodia. I was able to reunite with my Torino travelling buddy Rita. I budgeted about $2000-3000 for this trip. Given that, I was treated like a king. It was actually pretty hard to spend that much given that my meals were $2-3/meal. Taxi rides were about $2. Drinks were about 50 cents and all souvenirs were only a few dollars. I was able to see Elephant & Tiger shows, see the temples of Angkor Wat and find a new hobby in diving. I also ran into some problems with the law. I decided to rent a scooter while I was in Phuket, but being as dumb as I am I decided to not wear a helmet. I was cited (see picture of ticket on the right) in downtown Phuket and thinking that I was going to go to jail I tried to bribe the officer about $20 USD. He didn't take it and he took my CA driver's license and told me to go to the police station to pay my fine. Luckily the fine was only $3 USD, but it scared the crap out of me. I definitely recommend a trip out here since it's so cheap.

6. Expanding my Social Circle (throughout 2006)
I have always been an advocate that your friends are your biggest asset. In doing so, I have increased my social circle by a few. I'm not the type to have thousands of people on my MySpace or Friendster list. I believe that quality is better than quantity. In 2006 I met some quality people that have influenced my life. I met Neetha around March 2006 as UCLA was trying to get through the NCAA Tournament. I met her in Palo Alto during the UCLA vs. Gonzaga game. She moved up here as she accepted a new position with Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto. Throughout the year we went to Giant's Games, went out bar hopping and other things of nonsense.
I met Natalie (picture with Woodle & Natalie on the right) on the CalTrain. It was crazy how I met her because we both were on the MuniTram and the driver didn't seem to care if we made our 4:33pm CalTrain. The tram just happened to stop about 100 feet from the CalTrain station and it did not want to open its doors. It just stayed there - basically stressing us out that we would miss our train. I remember Natalie came up towards the front of the tram where I was and she started to panic. I just joked around trying to remain as calm as possible, but deep down inside I was a little pissed off that I would miss the train. Over the next few months we would ride home on the train together and reflect on the crazy things that happened in our lives.
A few other people that I met along the way were Sophia who likes to go Salsa dancing. Helen & Jessica from my old SF job were cool lunch buddies.
I lost one of my drinking buddies to school. Thuy (see picture on the left) went up to NYC to pursue her dream of art school. Kirk & Emily decided to pursue their dream of teaching in Taiwan. However, Mikie returned from NYC, so I guess it balances it out.
I'm not gay, so I also met guys. All the guys from Jiu Jitsu & football are there every few days to keep me in shape.
I also met some cool chick named Joleen - I'll talk about her later.

Tune in on Friday before you leave for the weekend to get #5-1 and the honorable mentions.